"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
 

Tulipa clusiana: The Lady Tulip (2 of 2)

From “Tulipa Clusiana: The Lady Tulip” in Some Flowers by Vita Sackville-West:

Clusiana is said to have travelled from the Mediterranean to England in 1636, which, as the first tulips had reached our shores about 1580, is an early date in tulip history. [She] takes her name from Carolus Clusius (or Charles de Lecluse) who became Professor of botany at Leiden in 1593….

“Her native home will suggest the conditions under which she likes to be grown: a sunny exposure and a light rich soil. If it is a bit gritty, so much the better. Personally I like to see her springing up amongst grey stones, with a few rather stunted shrubs of Mediterranean character to keep her company: some dwarf lavender, and the grey-green cistus making a kind of amphitheatre behind her while some creeping rosemary spreads a green mat at her feet….

“A grouping of this kind has the practical advantage that all its members enjoy the same treatment as to soil and aspect, and, being regional compatriots, have the air of understanding one another and speaking the same language. Nothing has forced them into an ill-assorted companionship.”

From “Tulip” in Collected Poems, 1939-1989 by William Jay Smith:

A slender goblet wreathed in flame,
From Istanbul the flower came
And brought its beauty, and its name.

Now as I lift it up, that fire
Sweeps on from dome to golden spire
Until the East is all aflame:

By curving petals held entire
In cup of ceremonial fire,
Magnificence within a frame.


Hello!

This is the second of two post featuring photographs of Lady Tulips (Tulipa clusiana) that I took at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens a few weeks ago. The first post is Tulipa clusiana: The Lady Tulip (1 of 2); and my previous red tulip posts are Some Time with Red Tulips (1 of 2) and Some Time with Red Tulips (2 of 2).

Sometimes I’m easily amused, such as when I post photographs of tulips in front of a gray stone, then get lucky enough to find a quotation (like the one from Vita-Sackville West above) that describes tulips among gray stones — w00t!

Thanks for taking a look!






Tulipa clusiana: The Lady Tulip (1 of 2)

From “Sonnets, Second Series” by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman in Three Centuries of American Poetry, edited by Allen Mandelbaum and Robert D. Richardson:

His heart was in his garden; but his brain
Wandered at will among the fiery stars.
Bards, heroes, prophets, Homers, Hamilcars,
With many angels stood, his eye to gain;
The devils, too, were his familiars:
And yet the cunning florist held his eyes
Close to the ground, a tulip bulb his prize….

From Tulipa: A Photographer’s Botanical by Christopher Baker:

Tulipa clusiana: Originally from Kashmir, northern Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, this plant, first described by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1803, is named for the great botanist Carolus Clusius, who in the latter part of the sixteenth century was professor of Botany at Leiden University and one of the first to study bulbs systematically. Nicknamed the ‘Lady Tulip,’ T. clusiana is a slender plant with a small starlike flower with carmine-red blotches on the three outer petals, a violet base, and narrow leaves that are undulating and grayish-green….

Tulipa clusiana Cynthia: A cultivar of T. clusiana that was registered by C. G. van Tubergen in 1959, the outer petals of ‘Cynthia’ are reddish, edged chartreuse-green, and from a distance the flower appears soft orange. Inside it is feathered red on green and the base is purplish. The bulb is the same size as that of T. clusiana. ‘Cynthia’ grows well and is 25 centimeters in height.

Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha: Described in 1948 by Sir Alfred Daniel Hall but known before then, this tulip was found in the mountains of northern Afghanistan in the same area where T. clusiana was found. It was first known as T. chrysantha and later as a variety of T. clusiana. A slender variety with small leaves and a flower form that is slightly elongated, its crisply pointed petals are deep yellow with a vast red blush on the exterior, visible when the flower is closed.”


Hello!

On the same stroll through the gardens where I snagged photos of red tulips (see Some Time with Red Tulips (1 of 2) and Some Time with Red Tulips (2 of 2)), I also came across a few nice batches of Tulipa clusiana varieties, all aglow in the morning sunlight. Exactly which variant these flowers belong to escapes me a bit; they’re similar enough that I included mention of two of the varieties above, since they’re probably one of those two. They are all clearly members of the T. clusiana family, however; and they’re all commonly referred to by the name “Lady Tulip” — blooming in white, yellow, orange-yellow, and pale-yellow colors, and typically featuring shades of red on the outer sides of their petals. Personally I’ve never seen white ones — but I’d like to! — as it seems the yellow/orange varieties are more common here in the southeast.

Thanks for taking a look!








Some Time with Red Tulips (2 of 2)

From “May-Day” in The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

April cold with dropping rain
Willows and lilacs brings again,
The whistle of returning birds,
And trumpet-lowing of the herds.
The scarlet maple-keys betray
What potent blood hath modest May,
What fiery force the earth renews,
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues….

Hither rolls the storm of heat;
I feel its finer billows beat
Like a sea which me infolds;
Heat with viewless fingers moulds,
Swells, and mellows, and matures,
Paints, and flavors, and allures,
Bird and brier inly warms,
Still enriches and transforms,
Gives the reed and lily length,
Adds to oak and oxen strength,
Transforming what it doth infold,
Life out of death, new out of old…
Fires gardens with a joyful blaze
Of tulips, in the morning’s rays….

From Garden Flora: The Natural and Cultural History of the Plants In Your Garden by Noel Kingsbury:

“The extraordinary outburst of financial speculation in the province of Holland during the 1630s (‘tulipomania‘) is well known. Although still theoretically under Spanish rule, the Dutch had been building up an extremely successful economy, largely through trade, with many of the key aspects of modern capitalism being invented in Amsterdam; however, given the country’s geography, investment in land was difficult — so money had to seek other routes to grow. Tulips were one such speculative investment; they became status symbols for the newly rich merchant and financier class, which stimulated both a rise in prices and efforts to breed ever more exquisite blooms….

“The most sought-after bulbs were those infected with the tulip breaking potyvirus, which caused elaborate streaking in the petals. As far as the breeder was concerned, a tulip was only as good as its infection, which (since there was no understanding of either genetics or viruses) had to be left entirely to chance.”


Hello!

This is the second of two posts featuring photos of tulips I took a few weeks ago; the first post is Some Time with Red Tulips (1 of 2). A few of these streaked varieties appeared in that first post; this one shows some with peppermint stripes and those with large streaks of yellow and orange. And today we learned that the presence of these streaks is not just a flower variation: the streaks are caused by tulip breaking virus — and tulips are only one of two plant genuses (the other is lilies) where potyvirus causes color variations in the flower petals. Who knew?!?

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s May Day poem is an elaborate meditation on seasonal transitions, especially that of the advent of spring, the emergence of bird-song, and the resurgence of new plants and flowers. I excerpted a very short portion — a section that led up to the (appropriate to my photoshoot) appearance of tulips in morning light — but the poem is much, much longer. If you’d like to take a look at the rest, here’s a link to the whole thing: May-Day by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Happy May Day! And thanks for taking a look!








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