Picture via Flickr
At the Keukenhof in the Netherlands
Tulips are remarkable flowers which seem to have the power to capture hearts (and break them). Although the Dutch Tulipomania is the most famous, Tulips have experienced other periods of "power" in other countries. The first mania occurred way back in 1500's in Turkey - which was the time of the Ottoman Empire and of Sultan Suleiman I (1494-1566). Tulips became highly cultivated blooms, developed for the pleasure of the Sultan and his entourage. During the Turkish reign of Ahmed III (1703-30) it is believed that the Tulip reigned supreme as a symbol of wealth and prestige and the period later became known as 'Age of the Tulips'.
It was during the early 1700's that the Turks began what was probably the first of the Tulip Festivals which was held at night during a full moon. Hundreds of exquisite vases were filled with the most breath-taking Tulips, crystal lanterns were used to cast an enchanting light over the gardens whilst aviaries were filled with canaries and nightingales that sang for the guests. Romantically, all guests were required to wear colours which harmonised with the flowers!
(for the rest of the story go to tesselaar.net.au)
Not one of Flora's brilliant race
A form more perfect can display;
Art could not feign more simple grace
Nor Nature take a line away.
- James Montgomery
On Planting a Tulip-Root-