In 1593 Tulips were brought from Turkey to the Netherlands. They quickly became sought after and the price increased steadily.Early tulips were mostly solid coloured. After some time, a mosaic virus began affecting the flowers appearance creating variegation and streaks of colour. These attractive new varieties added fuel to the market fire.
Between 1634 and 1637 enthusiasm over tulips reached an all-time high. In fact, it triggered a speculative frenzy known as tulip mania. Single bulbs could change hands up to 10 times per day in speculative trading. The demand for tulips was so extreme that the price for a single bulb could reach many times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.
In fact, at one point in history, tulips were treated as a form of currency. Kind of makes me wonder how a merchant would give change after a purchase? Perhaps a few snowdrops and a couple of crocus bulbs?
As with all business cycles, Tulip Mania ended badly for investors. However, the venerable tulip has managed to survive and even thrive. New varieties are released into the market each and every year in order to excite and delight gardeners. The seemingly endless parade of colours, styles and varieties are sure to inspire even the toughest non-gardener to give in and plant a couple of packs.
This fall, 2013, 12 new varieties of tulips caught our eye. These were:
- Fire Wings Lily Flowering Tulip – 20in
- Parrot Prince Tulip – 20in
- Night Rider Viridiflora Tulip – 20in
- Cartouche Double Peony Tulip – 18in
- Super Parrot Tulip – 16in
- La Belle Epoque Double Peony Tulip – 12in
- Irene Parrot Tulip – 12in
- Flaming Flag – 20in
- Joint Division – Fringed Tulip – 20in
- Ruby Prince Single Early Tulip– 14in
- Purple Dream Tulip – 20in
Tulips In The Landscape
Tulips generally sprout in mid to late spring, after the daffodils. Like other bulbs, tulips are best massed in the landscape or container. In my humble opinion, the worst thing you can do buy just one pack. Buy three or five, or more of each variety. The resulting display of colour and style will be well worth it.
Plant tulips in the fall, before hard frosts signal the beginning of winter. Dig a hole approximately two plus times their depth. Place the tulip in the hole and add bonemeal or bulb food . Make sure the pointy-side of the bulb is facing up otherwise the bulb will get confused and may take a long time to reach the surface. Cover the bulb up with soil. Pat down the soil and water them in to remove air pockets and ensure good soil-bulb contact. Space planting holes 4-6 inches apart. It is always a good idea to place a marker in your garden identifying the planted area. Tulips grow best in sunny, or lightly shaded areas that are not excessively wet or soggy.
Tulips are perennials, meaning they will come back year after year. Unfortunately, tulips generally degrade over time. While it is not always the case, we find that tulips look great in the first year, average in the second and mediocre by the third. We recommend getting into a planting cycle wherein you are adding new tulip bulbs to your garden each year.
Tulip bulbs are generally available from September until mid-November. The best selection is in early September.
If you have any questions about tulips, drop by Art's Nursery or give us a call at 604.882.1201