The Phrase ‘cottage Tulip’ inspires a charming typically English picture, old world thatched cottage, with groups of gay tulips beside the flagged path. It is therefore surprising to that the tulip now so popular and widely grown in this country and with one type baring such a homely name, should not have made it appearance here until the alter part of Elizabeth I reign in 1577.
Before that time it history and travels to Europe are rather discounted and contradictory, although many references appear in Eastern literature and paintings throughout the ages.
By 1629 when the popularity of the tulip was fairly we established, John Parkinson listed one hundred and forty varieties, while later their popularity was increased even more by the gardener to Charles I grew many in the royal gardens, thus bringing them to the notice many fashionable people.
It was Parkinson also who stated that tulips should be planted with-‘one colour answering and setting of another’ that the place where they stand may resemble a peace of curious needle work.’
How true this can still be observed today by comparing the patchwork of planned groups where one variety enhances and shows off the magnificent habit and bold colouring of the next, while indiscriminate planting may bring together two or more varieties which unfortunately all too often cancel out each other beauty.
At no time since they first arrived in Europe have tulips been allowed to grow and break naturally; as far back as the late sixteenth century when people eminent botanists down to the possessor of the most humble back-yard tried to achieve something outstandingly new, and so where caught up I the fabulous “Tulipomania” which took over Europe by storm. Whole estates where lost and won sometimes for no more than the rumour of a freak or a successful cross.
It is stated as recently as 1836 the sum of 650£, was paid for a single new bulb, although by this date the original blind speculation sometimes with goods as well as money had become more rational.
“The Parrots” with their curious elements make their debut in 1690, but only in recent years has their full worth in floristry been fully appreciated. It is in connection with this art, that those recent quaint introductions the “green” varieties have their chief value.
The stately “Darwin” named after that eminent botanist, and much prized for its excellent quality and noble habit, was only placed on the general market in the last few years of Queen Victoria’s Reign. Since that time many varieties have appeared and disappeared, some lasting only a few seasons, while others like in “Baronne de la Tonnaye” have stayed with us for many years retaining their magnificent strength and substance throughout.
During the past years a gradual but definite change has been brought about by the addition of new varieties and new hybrids each season, and the discarding of any with poor stamina and of those surpassed by a new introduction.
Nowadays we can have a flowering season from March until the end of May using all the species and varieties at our disposal from the sturdy but dainty “Kaufmanniana” to the dignified ‘breeders’.
In the following pages you will find our selection from 1960, containing over 350 varieties under the many classifications known today.
WALTER BLOM AND SON, LTD.
July 1st, 1959