tulips-yellow-red - Illustration by Helen KrayenhoffMany people say; “from Holland.” Between 1634 and 1637, speculation in tulip bulbs was the cause of Holland’s very own investment bubble and subsequent crash. At one point, a single tulip bulb was worth as much as an Amsterdam canal house. The Dutch dominated world trade in those days, and nothing displayed success and wealth better than an array of tulips. Alas, the bubble burst in 1637 and great fortunes were lost, but it seems that the Dutch are back in the game. 

In Holland, the Keukenhof may be the most well-known garden with its springtime display of 4.5 million bulbs, in which tulips figure most prominently. (You will never look at your bouquet of tulips the same way after a visit to Keukenhof.) I highly recommend it as well as a very informative history of the tulip in Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire.

Remember that November is the last month to buy your tulips, and that to mimic Keukenhof’s winter temperatures, the bulbs need to be refrigerated for 6 weeks whether you plant them in containers or in the ground. Plant deze bollen nu voor veel plezier in de lente. (Plant these bulbs now for a lot of pleasure in spring.)