Welcome and this Monday my flower is the gorgeous tulip.
I know some of you still have lots of snow but here my garden is giving me glimpses of the second wave of Spring blooms and the tulips are appearing. There are no flowers open yet but the plants are showing through the soil another week and I will know what colour the blooms will be. I didn’t plant these and as this is a new garden to me it is exciting.
The tulip is one of my favourite blooms and has an interesting history. The first tulip bulbs were imported into Europe from Persia and Turkey. Apparantly they were given the name Tulip as they looked rather turban like, and they were a fabulous hit with gardeners. In the 17th century the popularity of tulips rose to astonishing heights. Dutch blub breeders could command huge prices for their designer bulbs and this sparked what was known as ‘Tulip Mania’. The end result was a market crash and the loss of fortunes.
Along with the tulips actual history is a sad legend associtaed with the plant. It is told that at one time that a prince named Farhad was love struck by a maiden named Shirin. When Farhad learned Shirin had been killed, he was so overcome with grief that he killed himself – riding his horse over the edge of a cliff. A scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood, giving the red tulip the meaning “perfect love.”
It is also said Tulips are the cradles in which the fairy folk lull their
offspring to rest. Legends warn all manner of woes shall come to those who disturb the fairy infants’ repose, as this little tale demonstrates so well.
Once long ago, near the middle of Dartmoor, on the fringe of one of the small villages, stood a pretty little thatched cottage in which lived an old woman all by herself. The old woman was never lonely as she was frequently visited by children from the village and also because she was friendly to the animals and birds and often shared her food with them. Many birds owed their survival during the winter to the old lady and the food and water she always put out for them.
As well as the children and the animals, the old woman also had her beautiful garden which she loved and tended carefully and which was full of the most beautiful flowers. One night, just as the old woman was dropping off to sleep. She thought she heard the sound of music and looked out of the window. There, to her amazement, she saw a number of pixies dancing on the lawn, completely unafraid. The old woman also noticed that her tulips seemed to be swaying in time to that music and, on looking closer, realised that, lying in the cup of each tulip was a tiny pixie baby, fast asleep being rocked in its colourful cradle. She was absolutely delighted to think that the pixies were honouring her garden and vowed always to have a bed of tulip available for the pixies.
After many happy years the old lady eventually died peacefully in her sleep and the cottage was taken over by one of the villagers. The new occupant, an old man, thought that flowers were a waste of space and dug up the lawn and the flower garden, planting vegetables instead, and because he thought the birds might eat his crop, chase them away and put a fence around the garden. The pixies were annoyed at losing their dancing space and their cradles and vowed that nothing would ever grow in the garden ever again. Sure enough the vegetables failed every year and the garden became just a bare piece of earth but the pixies did not forget their friend the old woman. Soon after, a mass of beautiful flowers appeared growing on the old woman’s grave and have bloomed there ever since, a mark of affection from her friends the pixies.
In addition to these stories Tulips are also included in the language of flowers with various shades having meaning. Here are some I have found.
Red tulips mean “believe me,” and they are a declaration of true love, variegated tulips mean “you have beautiful eyes.” Cream tulips mean “I will love you forever.”
Yellow tulips symbolise cheerful thoughts, white convey forgiveness and purple represent royalty.
All interesting but the best thing about the tulips in my garden is that they tell me the year is marching on and soon the days will be warmer and sunnier than I have seen for a while.
Thanks for reading.