'What can you say - one of the stunning Parrot Tulips available today.' J J Marshall
The Tulip is native to Turkey and Persia and takes its name from the eastern head-dress the tolipan, or turban. It was the botanist Clusius (1526-1609) who introduced the bulbs to the Netherlands where you can still see the largest permanent display in flower. The bulbs were initially expensive because of their scarcity, and more so when disease caused the colours to break into stripes and feathering, thereby creating a frenzy of ownership that peaked as Tulipomania. Soon entire houses and ships full of cargo were being exchanged for just a few bulbs, forcing the Dutch government to intervene and limit the price of any one bulb to £400. Bearing in mind this was 1637, this was still a huge amount of money. As a result, the market collapsed and people faced financial ruin. In paintings of the seventeenth century, Tulips are often depicted alongside skulls.
Tulips come in all shapes, sizes and colours: as flat flowers, cupped flowers or lily-like flowers; with petals that are pointed, rounded or twisted and fringed. They can be single-headed or doubled-headed; single coloured, multi-coloured or broken coloured; early or late.
Tulips need to be planted in a sunny position in free-draining alkaline soil and are best planted in October-November for spring flowering.