Scent Sense: Tulips

“Tulips are irresistible. One just becomes happy seeing these springtime bouquets explode in a rainbow of colors. They are easy to recognize and make for a comfortable flower choice. They are not too romantic, too elegant, too big or too small. They are just right, evoking coziness and a sense of security.”

An often-posed question is “do tulips actually have a scent?” Their scent is in many cases an overlooked pleasure; rarely quoted in perfume creations. Depending on the variety they can evoke a fresh, citrusy, spicy, heady and sweet honey-musky like aroma.

The history of tulips

The tulip originated centuries ago in Turkey and Persia. Playing a significant role in their art and culture, Persian poets praised the flower for being gentle and peaceful. There was also much commentary about the Turkish tradition of wearing tulips in one’s turban. It is said that this is where Europeans mistakenly gave tulips their name, which comes from the Persian word meaning turban. Due to its popularity, Turkey has a tulip festival every year.

It would not be strange for many of us to have thought that the tulip originated from Holland. In 1554 the Austrian Emperor’s messenger, Carolus Clusius, noticed this elegant pretty flower while visiting the Persian sultan. He was so fascinated by them that he wrote a book about the flower that he finished in 1592. This ignited people’s love for tulips. Shortly after authoring his book on tulips, Carolus began working at Leiden University in the Netherlands and planted both a teaching garden and his own private garden. Unfortunately, as the bulbs he planted became popular, the garden was subject to raids.

Tulip mania

Tulip mania was a period where tulips were so popular they were used as a currency. Tulip bulbs sold for great amounts of money, with people even selling horses and carriages just to obtain a bulb. As a result tulips were planted everywhere. It attracted intrigues and fairy tales. The “tulip-mania” was spreading like wildfire. This came to an end in 1637 and the Dutch government issued a decree stating that tulips had to be bought and sold in cash, also meaning that they could not be used as a collateral for loans from Dutch banks.

Today the tulip can be said to be a symbol of Holland. The Dutch have monopolized the production of tulips worldwide. With more than 7 million bulbs planted at the Keukenhof each year, it is clear that the Dutch like their tulips, but Holland really “adopted” this flower. The country’s weather and soil conditions matched tulip’s needs. Nevertheless, when vacationing in Holland, visiting their gardens or tulip festivals should be on your bucket list; it will take your breath away.

Primary Significance: perfect love.

The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love. Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love, while purple symbolizes royalty. The meaning of yellow tulips has evolved somewhat, from once representing hopeless love to now being a common expression for cheerful thoughts and sunshine. White tulips are used to claim worthiness or to send a message of forgiveness. Variegated tulips, once among the most popular varieties due to their striking color patterns, represent beautiful eyes.

With all of the sentiments and meanings of tulips, it’s not surprising that their popularity continues to endure. The wide range of colors and varieties available allows them to be used for many occasions. In addition to being a favorite for cut flower arrangements, Easter tulips can also be given as a potted plant. The growing and caring for of tulip bulb gardens and plants is a rewarding pastime for many flower lovers. As one of the world’s most beloved flowers, a gift of tulips is a sure delight, enchanting in its beauty and simplicity.

This is one of the world’s most easily recognized and beloved flowers. The meanings of tulips coupled with the immediately identifiable shape of their colorful blooms make them a comfortable flower choice. They are not too elegant, too romantic, too big, too small, or too bright; the tulip is always just right. They are like a favorite pair of jeans or your mom’s fresh-baked cookies in that the meanings of tulips express genuine coziness and comfort in all of the right ways.

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