Bring colour to spring with tulips
Spring is a time of rebirth and colour; what better way to usher in the new season than with Tulips.
22 January 2018
We are quickly approaching the beginning of the spring season and for many that denotes a fresh start, new-beginnings, and re-birth.
Bright colours are on the agenda for spring and if garden centres want to capitalise on gardeners’ eagerness to display bright flowers in their homes and gardens then stocking the correct range of flowers is crucial to strong early-year sales.
Van der Plas believes that one flower in particular is a key player for Spring – tulips.
Tulips, you’d think you can hardly get anything more Dutch, but the tulip is actually pure Iranian, Afghan, and Kazakh. Nomads brought the colourful flowers to Turkey, where manly sultans started wearing a tulip on their turban. That’s how the flower got its name: ‘tulipan’ meaning ‘turban’.
Colours and shapes
The ever-cheerful tulip comes in white, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, green, or with multi-coloured petals. The shapes of the tulip are also a feast for the eye. You can find them with a single or double row of petals; there are also eye-catching fringed and parrot tulips with serrated petals, and there’s the playful lily-flowered tulip. Peony tulips look like peonies, and French tulips are exceptionally tall and have very large flowers.
If you gave someone a tulip in the sixteenth century, you were giving them a fortune. At that time the flower was incredibly popular and a speculative trade in tulip bulbs developed.
You could buy a whole canal-side house in Amsterdam for the price of one tulip bulb in those days. A nice bunch of tulips now costs just a couple of pounds, but the symbolism has gained in value.
If you give someone tulips, you’re also giving them a message. Hence red tulips mean passionate love, and with black tulips you’re saying: ‘I love you so much I will sacrifice everything for you.’ So don’t give those to just anybody.
Tulips can be found growing wild from north Africa and southern Europe across to north-west China. The greatest diversity can be found in three mountain ranges in central Asia: the Pamirs, the Tian Shan and the Hindu Kush. With cold winters, long springs with cold nights and a dry summer, the climate here is ideal for tulips. Tulips need a cold night and a cold winter in order to be able to grow, which is why they can’t be cultivated in a warm climate.