Tulips go on the third place after the roses and chrysanthemums in terms of worldwide popularity. Tulips are graceful, elegant and amazing flowers. Over the centuries they captured and broke hearts. If they were not seen in Europe before the 16th century, today every gardener can afford to buy and cultivate them.
Spring is the season when Brussels glorifies the art of its horticulturists. Each year they prove their design skills and expertise to create unforgettable floral landscapes and gardens on the streets and in the parks of the city.
The art mastered by the horticulturists shows the benefits of neighbouring the Netherlands, a country which is famous for its traditional art, knowledge, expertise, and trade of growing plants.
The Netherlands also bears the nickname of “Country of tulips” even though they originated from Central Asia.
A short story of tulips
It is said that the Turks started to cultivate tulips around 1,000 AD. They consider the flower a symbol of love. The related legend says that a famous prince loved a maid who was accidentally killed. To honour her memory, the prince was galloping with his horse until he got hurt on a mountain sharp rock. A scarlet tulip, made up of his blood drops, sprang up on the rock.
Over the centuries the tulip got the status of Turkey’s national flower. The plant was adopted by the Dutch people starting with the 16th century.
Tulip-mania was a large scale phenomenon in the Netherlands shortly after the 16th century. Historians still look into the archives to see whether this happened for real or it was just a strategic marketing idea.
It was Carolus Clusius, a Dutch botanist, who introduced the first tulip bulbs from Turkey to the Netherlands. Clusius needed some time to secretly test and see whether the plants adapt to the new environment. Because he was hiding the plants during his tests people believed that the bulbs may value a lot of money. They started to steal bulbs from his garden. This was the moment when tulip-mania started and lasted many more years after. The bulbs even served as trading currency during that period of time.
Clusius came to the conclusion that the plants adapted perfectly to the climate. Therefore cultivating tulips became popular not only in the Netherlands, but also in other European and worldwide countries.
What we therefore admire today, the tulips as part of floral landscapes and gardens in Brussels, is an art which developed over the past five centuries.