An Artist's Quest

Tip Toeing Through the Tulips (say that ten times!)

The tulips have arrived!  They came after the rain with the first blast of warmth and sun.  When I see them it brings such wonder and joy.  It is as if I have never seen any thing so beauteous and fine, and perhaps I haven’t these last 11 months since they last graced the places where I walk and wander.  There is something so stunning about a tulip.  I myself am partial to the classic red tulip.  Nothing fancy.  In fact in shape and form they are one of the simplest of all the flowers save the Cali lily. The thick, waxy petals perched upon a sturdy stem.  The petals cupped each morning, open out to soak in the passing sun each day, and when the tulips time is up it plops down its huge petals in ringed tribute to the remaining protruding pistil.

I am not the only one who thinks the tulip is an extraordinary bloom. The tulip was first brought to Netherlands and then to the rest of the world from it’s origins in central Asia.  It is named after the Turkish word for turban and was cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000 AD then was introduced to Europe and the Netherlands by Carolus Clusius, a biologist from Vienna .  By the beginning of the 17th century the tulip gained astounding popularity, people started trading in tulips, they sold business and homes and cashing out savings to get in on the tulip trading action. Great fortunes were being made, the trading became so frenzied that in the months of late 1636-early 1637 there was  complete ‘Tulip Mania’ that soon lead to the ‘Tulip Crash’ and the financial ruin of many. What power this little beauty wields!  Michael Pollan describes this and more in is wonderful book Botany of Desire that gives insights into the tulip’s power over us mere mortals of the human variety.  I think it may be impossible to do the tulip justice through art, it perhaps is something that needs to be experienced as it is, but I will try to capture it’s spirit this week, I’ll let you know how I do on Friday.

As always I encourage you to leave you thoughts and comments and if you have an image you would like me  to post get it to me by Thursday at so I can add it to the visual conversation.

Info about the history of Tulips from:

This is a link to the PBS site of Micheal Pollan’s “Botany of Desire”:


This is a link to Michael Pollan’s website:

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