Spring Flowers

Spring is actually making an appearance here on the West Coast! We’ve had a few warm, breezy days and the daffodils and tulips are popping up all over. I found a “surprise” bouquet of tulips at our front door last week and enjoyed them for days before learning they were from our neighbour next door. She had heard we may have to move and wanted us to  know she appreciated us!
Watching the tulips gently open, I wondered: Where did they come from originally? How many kinds are there? What Canadian cities hold Tulip Festivals?  Hopefully, those of you in the West will read this before the tulips begin to “droop” and make room for other spring flowers! I think the Abbotsford, BC, Tulip Festival is almost over, but from Ontario East you just may be in time for various Tulip Festivals.
The tulip first appeared in the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in the 15th Century and was imported into Holland in the 16th Century where they became popular in paintings and festivals. In the mid 17th Century, they were so popular they created an economic bubble known as “Tulip Mania.” The bulbs became very expensive and in 1637 they were even used as money!
An historical Canadian “tulip story” began when Dutch Princess Juliana and her family were forced to flee the Netherlands during the Second World War. The Princess and her two young daughters were given a warm welcome in Ottawa where they were later joined by a sister, Margriet, who was born at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa. As a token from the Royal Family and a grateful nation, the Netherlands sends 10,000 bulbs each year to Ottawa.
The yearly Canadian Tulip Festival is held in Ottawa – this year from May 11th – 21st. The best photo opportunities for millions of these beauties are said to be at the Commissioners Park, Major’s Hill Park, and Garden of the Provinces and Territories in Ottawa, and at the Malak’s Bed in Gatineau.
In the Maritimes, look in late May for Tulip Festivals in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and a Tulip Blossom Social in Montague, Prince Edward Island. There is also a Charlottetown Tulip Festival. We are so sad to see homes and flower beds being flooded by the St. John River in New Brunswick. Hopefully, everyone will be safe and next year will see the return of Spring Tulips there.
Not to be forgotten, I’ve been reading where residents of Yellowknife, NT and Whiteorse, YU enjoy springtime tulips but a bit later than May! They start the bulbs indoors or in small garden greenhouses and place them outside when the weather warms up….in June or maybe July they say!
Wherever you are in this vast land, do enjoy the Spring season with all its flowers! I would enjoy a picture of your favourites! Just email me at hpattullo@telus.net

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