Tulips have long been a favorite of many cultures. They were very popular during the Ottoman Empire, but they exploded during Tulipomania in Europe in the 17th century. Holland went particularly crazy for tulips and they were considered extremely valuable. So valuable in fact that people traded the value of their homes or businesses for a single bulb! Tulip-lovers purchased, traded and stole tulips to the extent that it basically caused the entire country to go bankrupt! Michael Pollan writes about our relationship with the Tulip in his book, The Botany of Desire (which I highly recommend and happens to be where I got most of my historical tulip knowledge!). In 2001, Dave and I travelled in Europe and were lucky enough to end our trip with about a week in Holland in early May–perfect tulip viewing time! It is evident that the fascination with tulips still exists and for me it is ignited each time I see a beautiful tulip variety.
Tulips are a great selection for weddings and are easily available in the winter and spring. They are unique as fresh cut flowers because they actually grow in water (you can notice them grow by inches in a few days in a vase!) and are phototropic, which means that they are drawn towards light. If you place a vase of tulips in a window you will find that all the flowers turn toward the window as if they are reaching for the sun. It’s pretty cool. I took this tulip photo this morning.