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A Short History of the Tulip

Before we start of on our journey through live and care of the fascinating tulip flower. Make sure to have your bulbs in before the first frost

The crocus, anemone, narcissus and daffodil are all welcome harbingers of spring. However, growing tulips capture the essence of spring with bright colorful blooms that renew the earth with promise of summer color.

The best part of growing tulips is watching them dance in the first breaths of spring. The second best part of growing tulips is tulip care. The reason is because once established, a tulip bed needs very little care at all!

Tulips originated in Central Asia where they grew in the wild. The word tulip means turban and comes from a Turkish word, turbend. Tulips and Tulip Bulbs

Tulips were cultivated in Turkey as early as 1,000 AD. Today tulips are frequently associated with the Netherlands.

In August of 1593, Carolus Clusius received a gift of tulip bulbs from his friend, Ogier Ghiselain de Busbecq, the ambassador of Constantinople. He planted the bulbs and the spring of 1594 gave birth to the first tulips of Holland.

Clusius’s planting is still considered the birth of the Netherlands flower bulb business, which continues today, over 400 years later.

The colorful flowers soon became major trading commodities. Different color strains and mutations were status symbols and in such high demand in the 1600’s that tulips were often sold by estimated weight, even before they were lifted from the ground.

Trading in tulip futures was dubbed as “tulpenwindhandel” (tulip wind trade). Soon this speculative trading got out of hand and the Dutch government introduced trade restrictions to quash it.