Running Tales from Ealing – Tulip Mania

Postcard from Kew Gardens: Tulips by Simon Verelst 1644-c1721

Happy Easter everyone! Despite these discombobulating times we can still do some relatively normal things like run and bake, so I am happy. This week when out for early runs I have noticed lots of striking tulips in gardens and parks.

By the back door. The forget-me-nots in the background came from my mother, who in turn got them from her father’s garden.

My own garden has a pretty decent display too. From my bathroom window I can see my neighbour’s garden table, and on it she has a pot stuffed with beautiful tulips of many different colours.

In my garden

This post will mainly be pictures and I make no apology. Five years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. My mother and I had a very special day walking round these beautiful gardens. The sun shone, and the flowers glowed and sparkled. Even though nobody can visit this year the Gardens are doing virtual tours via their website – take a look, it really is stunning.

Neighbour Hale’s tulips
Helen’s tulips – north London

Tulips originated in Persia and are native to a region stretching from Southern Europe to Central Asia. They were cultivated in Istanbul as far back as 1055, and came to the attention of western diplomats travelling in the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. They began importing them to northern European countries. Tulips are now particularly associated with the Netherlands.

Alison’s tulips – near Cardiff
Neighbour Jane’s tulips

It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that Tulip Mania gripped the Netherlands and the price of tulip bulbs sky rocketed. This was partly a result of the ‘tulip breaking virus’ (don’t mention the virus!) which caused the solid colours to break. Beautiful streaky patterns emerged, and became highly sought after.

Nearby, in front of an apartment block
Tulips in the allotments next to Pitshanger Park

The saturated colour of tulips is one of the key attractions of the flower. The vivid colours and shiny petals that reflect the early spring light, the variety of shades and shapes, and the proud way they stand tall, make tulips an eye catching addition to gardens and flower beds everywhere.

Such beautiful bright colours. Seen in Hanwell.
These are really unusual. Noticed and photographed by my sister Charlotte.

Thank you to everyone – friends and strangers – who have shared their tulips with me, either in real life or through photos.

In the Rose Garden, Hanwell
In my garden

Wishing you all a happy Easter, Passover or Ramadan (starting soon…) Keep safe and stay home!

(And have a look at the Keukenhof website – it really is worth it!)

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