29 April 2013


The tulips planted last year did come up after all, and last week looked like this, ready to open. I keep checking every day, but they still look exactly like this ... and I'm impatient for them to open and to see what colour they'll be ... surely not green? (can't remember what colour I bought...).

Concomitantly I'm reading Anna Pavord's account of the tulip in history, or rather, dipping into it here and there. Fascinating to see how crazes come and go - after the tulipmania of the 17th century, hyacinths were the next big thing, with over 500 varieties listed in a nurseryman's catalogue in 1739. By then tulips were costing a mere 8 guilders per bulb for the top varieties, and you could get 100 offsets (which take a year or more to flower) for 4 guilders. (Grown from seed, tulips take 5-8 years to flower.) The last big sale of tulip bulbs was in 1885 - but by then, no-one wanted them, and they didn't reach their reserve price.

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