In most of the Eastern United States - and certainly here in New York City - Spring is a welcome transition from the cold, bitterly gray days of winter.
My favorite first signs of Spring are the little sprouts of crocus and daffodils. It always feels like these hardly perennials are blooming a bit too early, and the shock of purple and yellow is a pleasant surprise.
However, now that we are officially into Spring (Spring equinox ended on March 21st) we are also easing into tulip season! Tulips have a long and fascinating history.
From the famed “tulip fever” in the Netherlands to more modern day appreciation for these flowers, they have long held an important place in the flower world.
Tulips were originally cultivated in the Ottoman Empire before being imported to Holland in the early 16th century. The first major book was written about tulips in 1592 by Carolus Clausius and the obsession had begun.
Many Dutch and European painters during the 16th and 17th century created beautiful still life paintings featuring this exotic and varied flower.
As the paintings started to circulate in noble society, the first economic bubble (tulipomania) was started, with tulip prices far outpacing their value.
Tulips were actually used in place of currency in Holland for a number of years before the tulip market collapsed, almost overnight.
Holland still has a familiar relationship with their signature flower, and anyone as anyone who has been to Holland can tell you, the tulip fields there are absolutely mind blowing.
The Tulip is a symbol of national pride for the Dutch with Holland affectionately being referred to as “The Flower Shop to the World.” Can you imagine what it must be like to live among these fields in the Spring?
The individual variety and coloration of each tulip is carefully cultivated by cross breeding different tulips. Most farmers have been working on these variations for generations!
Lucky for us, even In our beloved New York City bodegas, we are able to get a glimpse of these amazing natural beauties! Until I am able to go to Holland for tulip season, I think that’s good enough!