Other than the rose, the tulip has to be the most recognizable flower in the world. They originated in the Near East, but about 500 years ago the Dutch brought them west and kicked off a period that is referred to as Tulipmania.
The famous Tulipmania was a period in the 1600s when tulip bulbs were sold in Holland for astronomically high prices. Single bulbs for popular varieties like ‘Viceroy’ going for as much as 4,200 florins. Much like our tech and housing bubbles, everything came to an end around 1637. I’m not sure if it’s comforting or concerning that we’re still falling into the same traps.
Red tulips initially grabbed people’s attention because it was such an unusual color for the spring garden at the time. However, it was the variegated hybrids that fetched big prices. Red or purple flames against a white background were particularly favored. What we know now is the fancy coloring was due to mosaic virus and most of the Tulipmania varieties are no longer available. These days a similar look is achieved through hybridizing.
If you want to emulate the look of a Tulipmania garden, try these tulip varieties.
- ‘Arabian Mystery’
- ‘El Cid’
- Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’
- ‘Blushing Beauty’