Sunday, October 18, 2009

When Tulip Fields Transform into Modern Art

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Tulip mosaic
Image via onpaperwings

Red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, white, pink – we’re not talking about rainbows here but tulip colours that look like they’ve sprung from a painter’s palette. No wonder then that rows and rows of tulips and tulip fields look like impressionist paintings up close or like modern or abstract art from above. Beautiful for sure and a great way to celebrate summer.

Red tulip rows with poplars in the background, most likely in Japan:
Tulip rows in Japan
Image: Nao

Did you know that the orderly tulip (Tulipa) as we know it has its origins in the rugged mountain ranges close to Islamabad in today’s Pakistan? From there, tulips reached China, Mongolia and then Europe but before the Dutch took over as tulip connoisseurs, this title belonged to the Turkish. They had a reputation as tulip cultivators as early as 1000 AD and were known for their skill throughout Persia and Asia.

Today, tulips are grown all over the world; here tulip fields at Table Cape, Tasmania:
Tulip fields in Tasmania
Image: Martin Howard

The head gardener of the University of Leiden in Holland and botanist Carolus Clusius tried cultivating this wild flower in the early 17th century. He is credited today with starting the Dutch tulip tradition.

Tulip bulbs are truly tough cookies; they actually need a chilly winter before being planted, so gardeners advise placing them in the refrigerator around four weeks before planting. They should then be placed deep into the soil in a cool spot so that they don’t warm too quickly. Also, the deeper a tulip bulb is planted, the tougher the plant will be.

Like a carpet of tulips – tulip gardens at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in northwestern Washington:
Skagit Valley
Image: Ramanathan Kathiresan

Oh, and did we mention that tulips are truly social animals, er, plants? Looking at the pictures of rows and rows of beautiful tulips in all kinds of colours, they’ve literally come a long way from lonely mountain plant to abundant and hardy city flower. Well done!

A rainbow on the ground – another impression from the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival:
Skagit Valley 2
Image: Ramanathan Kathiresan

Monet would have happily cast aside those boring water lilies:
Like a Monet painting
Image: Julie Markee

Rows of red as far as the eye can see:
Red tulips
Image: Andrew Larsen

Another tulip mosaic:
Tulip mosaic
Image via shophorne

My tulip heart beats for you:
Tulip heart
Image via desktopnexus

Yellow, orange and red tulip fields at Keukenhof in Amsterdam:
Keukenhof, Amsterdam
Image: Ian Katz

An old barn and tulips in the Skagit Valley, WA, between LaConner and Mount Vernon:
Skagit Valley, WA
Image: Divya & Deepak

Gentle waves of yellow tulips:
Yellow tulips
Image: Steve Voght

Red, white and blue like the Dutch flag – don’t miss the sailboats in the background:
Red, white and blue
Image: David Evers

Tulips as far as the eye can see:
Till the horizon
Image: Amy Bonner

Red, purple and pink
Red, purple, pink
Image: Lauren Elyse Lynskey

Not French lavender but purple tulip fields at the LaConner, WA Tulip Festival:
Purple tulip fields
Image: Stephen Cochran

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