Its Tulip Time! These flowers are the crescendo of the Spring Symphony of bulbs that begins with its first notes, the snow crocus of early March and ending in its opus, the regal stance of a Globemaster Allium in mid June. Its burgeoning blossoms providing an almost architectural backdrop to the early Summer border, they look particularly well when planted in between rows of hosta. The family of Spring flowering bulbs are a colorful cast of characters that are sure to put on a show for everyone being fairly easy to plant, grow and admire. Tulips are by far one of the most sought after flowers of the Spring garden and at one time caused such a frenzy in Europe that in Holland especially it was not uncommon for a man to pay half his life savings for a single bulb during the Tulip mania of the 16th century as tulips became to be viewed as sign of prosperity and sophistication. http://www.thetulipomania.com/
Beautiful as they are, they are fragile and not long lasting, perhaps that is part of the attraction, as a society don’t we always seem to crave most that which is most fleeting like fame and youth. Most of us are not aware of this one bulb’s extraordinary history. They originated on the steppes of Central Asia and were traded along the famous Silk routes of the Orient, finding their way into the gardens of Turkey, then the Ottoman Empire. The word tulip is derived from a Turkish word meaning turban. The ones found in the East were still quite close to their wild cousins.
Wild tulips are particularly hardy and are excellent for naturalizing. Though most are smaller than their hybridized cousins they make a big splash dappled in groups in a rock garden where their more formal in appearance cousins would look out of place. My favorite is Garda, its striped yellow and white petals reaching out in all directions to catch the rays of Spring sunlight certainly cause a stir among neighbors who can’t quite figure out what these little gems are. Consider growing the Wild species Tulips in your garden for a more varied and less formal look.The above are Wild Tulips in their native habitat, the bottom is a Wild Tulip that decided to make its presence known this year after I planted it 2 years ago