Tulips:Everything YouNeed to Know
Spring has sprung and that means it’s time for tulips! These instantly recognisable spring blooms have been a firm favourite across the world for centuries and they just never seem to go out of fashion. We’re not surprised, as tulips offer us that fabulous pop of colour we all need after the winter months. With a dazzling array of colours, styles and flower shapes you will be spoilt for choice.
Taking its cues from the perfect shape of this bloom, this flower means ‘perfect love’. This makes them the perfect bouquet to give to pretty much anyone. Whether you want to thank your mum for always being there, a bouquet for that adoring husband or even a bunch for the best friend in your life, tulips are the perfect choice.
So read on and let us tell you everything you need to know about this iconic flower!
HISTORY OF TULIPS
Although we may think of the tulip as a flower of the Netherlands, did you know that this fantastic bloom was first discovered growing as a wildflower in the Himalayas in around 1055?
Over the next few hundred years, these flowers became a prized possession within the Ottoman Empire; a great dynasty that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa during the 15th and 16th centuries. Amongst the elite and high society Ottomans, the tulip flower became the ultimate symbol of power and wealth. It was said that Sultans would wear this flower in their turbans, so is thought this bloom got its name from the Peruvian word for turban (probably owing to the similarity between the shape of the headwear and the flower head). It wasn’t until the 16th century that tulips came to the attention of the West when visiting diplomats to the Ottoman court would be gifted these flowers to take back home.
But how did they end up across the sea? Biologist Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of the tulip bulbs across Europe. The flowers were rare and as a result they were also very expensive - at one point a single tulip bulb reached the same price as an Amsterdam canal house! Demand was huge and very quickly a tulip craze took hold, especially across the Netherlands. The mania behind these flowers could not continue and after only three short years demand dropped and so did the prices.
Despite its turbulent history, the Netherlands still loves this flower and today they are the largest producer of tulip bulbs in the world. Unsurprisingly this bloom is also their national flower and they even celebrate a National Tulip Day which is held on the third Saturday in January and Amsterdam’s Dam Square is flooded with over 200,000 tulips – a sight we definitely want to see!
So, what does it mean to give a tulip? As some of the first flowers that appear in spring, tulips are said to be a symbol of rebirth. A bouquet of tulips would be the perfect gift for someone who is starting an exciting adventure in life, whether that’s starting a new job, moving home or going on a big journey.
But the red tulip has also been said to hold a specific meaning. It has been suggested to represent romance with links to a story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. The legend goes that Farhad, a lowly stone cutter, and the princess Shirin fall madly in love. Her father, not happy with the romance, demands that Farhad prove his worth by digging a giant canal. After working tirelessly for years, he completed the work but the King, not wanting his daughter to marry a commoner, sent a courtier to tell Farhad that the princess had died. On hearing the news Farhad killed himself. When Shirin heard the news, she ran to her love and seeing his body also killed herself and red tulips are said to have formed where their blood hit the ground. Folklore or not, we can get behind the love story of the tulip flower.
TYPES OF TULIPS
Whether you’re looking for pink, purple or even red flowers, one of the beautiful things when buying tulips is an array of colours to pick from. There are over 3000 different varieties and petal styles range from the traditional, neat oval blooms all the way through to double, fringed, scalloped or even open flower heads.
HOW TO CARE FOR TULIPS
The wonderful thing about tulips is that they are so easy to arrange in a vase. A large bouquet of these blooms bunched together can look amazing all by themselves.
However, there are two incredibly important thing to remember. Tulips like to keep moving and will twist so that they face the nearest light source. You should also be aware that once you’ve cut your blooms and placed them in the vase the tulips will continue to grow – a lot!!
To display your bouquet of Tulips, find a container that will allow the blooms to sit snugly and support the stems without being too tight a fit. Tulips are incredibly thirsty flowers once in the vase so make sure there is enough room for plenty of water.
Before putting in the vase, cut the stem of your tulip at an angle, taking about 3cm off the bottom and remove any leaves that will sit below the water line. Then quickly put them into some water to stop them drooping. Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight or near radiators and remember to add some fresh water every few days.
Now you know all about these fabulous flowers, why not send a tulip bouquet today and add some spring sunshine to someone’s day.