With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve been looking into the meaning of flowers to see what history tells us about how they were shared, viewed, and received in the past. We’ve had some gorgeous tulips in the cooler for a few days now and we’re so excited about having them around, we thought we’d start with them! Ready to learn a bit about tulips?

Tulips are native to Persia and Turkey, and to give a red tulip in Persia was to declare your love. The black center of the red tulip was said to represent the lover’s heart, burned to a coal by love’s passion. To give a yellow tulip was to declare your love hopelessly and utterly.

Tulips got their name from a Turkish word meaning ‘gauze’ because tulips in full bloom resemble a similar wrap to that of a turban. Tulips first made their way to Europe in the mid 1500’s when a traveler brought some home from a trip to Constantinople.

‘Tulipmania’ was a period in the Dutch Golden Age, roughly 1634 to early 1637, when tulip bulbs were in such high demand that their price tags reached extraordinarily high levels. At the peak of Tulilpmania, a single bulb would sell for more than ten times the wages of a skilled craftsman. According to British journalist Charles Mackay, at one point 12 acres of land was offered for a single Semper Augustus bulb. People were even known to purchase bulbs at higher and higher prices in order to re-sell them for profit. In February 1637, tulip dealers could no longer find buyers to pay such high prices. Realizing that the demand for tulips had collapsed, some dealers were left with contracts to purchase bulbs at ten times the price of their current market value. Others were left with bulbs that were worth fractions of their purchased price. Tulip dealers sought help from the Government of the Netherlands, which responded by declaring that anyone who held a contract for future orders could void their contract by paying a set percentage of the order price. Those left with mass quantities of tulips were on their own for selling them.

Tulips were said to first arrive in the United States in Massachusetts at the Fay Farm between 1847 and 1865. They Fay Farm, in Lynn Mass., was well known for importing bulbs, seeds, stems, and plants from around the world.

Tulips are Spring-blooming perennials and typically grow from 4 inches to 28 inches tall. They are one of the most popular flowers in the world and definitely one that we enjoy having around the Studio.

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