We have been enjoying the nice weather lately and have been taking photos of tulips. The many colors and forms and heights of tulips are just amazing. At our local Botanic Garden, Dow Gardens, they have planted a huge display of every color and type to greet the visitors at the entrance.

At an average cost of $.25 to $.50 per bulb, a solid bed of blooms could easily cost $10,000 or more.

Here, in a high profile entrance, the tulips will be grown as a seasonal display and pulled out after blooming to make way for annual flowers.

Tulips are, botanically, a perennial and they do survive the winters and reflower the next year.

Tulips are prone to pests such as voles or other creatures who eat the bulb.

Tulips are a member of the Lily Family. They are a perennial bulb that is tolerant to very cold weather. In fact, they require a period of chilling in the winter where they lie dormant and mature their flower buds in preparation for blooming in the spring. That is why you cannot grow tulips properly in tropical climates. Like many bulbs, the Tulip has several distinct periods of growth. The spring flowers are just the end of the cycle that we enjoy. Along with the flowers blooming, the big leaves grow out each spring and recharge the bulb so it can go dormant in the summer. Dry summer weather deep underground, the bulbs store their energy and wait for autumn rains to push them into growth in the root area. The roots get going in September or October and anchor the bulb down under ground. It is important that the roots come out and latch onto the soil before the ground gets so cold that they cannot grow anymore. If you plant tulips very late, and cold weather settles into the ground before the roots are established, and your tulips will not grow well the next spring.

Tulips are famous for the so-called “Stock Market Tulip Mania” that spread through the Netherlands in the early 1600s. Speculators purchased bulbs and traded them hoping to double and triple their investment. The time period is often used as an illustration of stock market “bubbles” where enthusiastic speculators bid up the price of something hoping to sell it off to a greater fool before reality sets in and the item loses most of its value. Many fortunes were made and lost between 1634 and 1637 on tulips.

Today we enjoy bulbs for their beauty and a true signal that spring has finally arrived.


1 Comment

  1. Rick Anderson said,

    June 22, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Most excellent flowers, color and photos!

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