In 2015, we went to Istanbul in April at the time of the tulip festival.
This display was touted as the largest carpet of tulips in the world and it was very impressive.
Tulips are one of my favourite flowers to photograph, for their colour and variety, although they are very troublesome to arrange. As you will see, I have quite a collection of photographs and I will be adding a tulip gallery to my shop soon.
Tulips originally came from the Middle East and North Africa and are a member of the lily family.
This display was inside the palace gardens.
The introduction of the tulip to Europe is usually attributed to Ogier de Busbecq, the ambassador of Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman Emperor, to the Sultan of Turkey, who sent the first tulip bulbs and seeds to Vienna in 1554 from the Ottoman Empire.
During the Dutch Golden Age, a period of the country's history that roughly spanned the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world, buying and selling tulip bulbs became a public obsession and it was known as tulpenwoede, Tulip Mania.
Anonymous 17th-century watercolor of the Semper Augustus, famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania.
At the peak of tulip mania, in March 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsworker. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble.
The tulip was different from every other flower known to Europe at that time, with a saturated intense petal color that no other plant had. As a result, tulips rapidly became a coveted luxury item, and a profusion of varieties followed.
In February 1637, tulip bulb contract prices collapsed abruptly and the trade of tulips ground to a halt. The collapse began in Haarlem, when buyers refused to go to a bulb auction, because there was an outbreak of bubonic plague there.
The Tulip is a classic flower of love, although the Turkish people, who originally bred the flower, considered it a symbol of paradise on earth, making it a part of many religious and secular poems and art pieces.
While the Ottoman empire planted the bulbs to remind them of heaven and eternal life, the Dutch who popularized the flower in Europe, considered it a reminder of how brief life can be instead.
Unlike some other blooms, the Tulip’s meaning changes greatly depending on its color. For example:
Yellow is the color of unrequited or spurned love. Sending a yellow Tulip to someone means you love them, but you know they don’t return your feelings.
Bright red is the color of passion and perfect love.
Purple is tied to royalty, but also abundance and prosperity.
Pink is less intense affection and love, and also offers a more appropriate choice for friends and family.
The same flowers that were valued so highly by the Dutch in the 1600s, became emergency food rations during World War II, because the starchy bulb provides a surprising amount of calories. The petals are also edible, leading to dishes with stuffed Tulip blossoms.
I will soon be adding a tulip gallery to my shop, so I'd love to know which photographs you would enjoy seeing on your wall. This selection is only a fraction of my tulip images!
Thank you for visiting and don't hesitate to share.
Some of these photos have been edited with Kim Klassen's LR Presets.
All photos © Henrietta Richer, unless otherwise stated.