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Tulip Mania
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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

It’s been a long white winter. That’s why Eye on Sun Valley thought it’s treat you to a splash of color by taking you to the Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley of western Washington today.

Tulips have long signaled spring and, like everywhere else in the west, spring was late in coming this year even to the tulip fields.

In fact, the tulips were about three weeks behind schedule in a Tulip Festival that typically runs from April 1-30. But that didn’t mean the festival could be prolonged much into May. Tulip blooms only last a week or two once they do start blooming.

And gardeners had to start snipping so tulips could make their way around the country, including the Wood River Valley where dozens of proud parents presented their young’uns with tulips after their performance in Footlight Dance Center’s “Snow Queen” this past weekend.

There are reportedly more than 3,000 varieties of tulips worldwide, each sporting a cup-shaped bloom. There are some things about tulips you may not know:

  • They are actually members of the lily family, taking their place alongside other lily family members, such as onions and garlic.
  • You can eat the petals—they provided sustenance to the Dutch when food was scarce during World War II. Some vintners have even made wine from tulips.
  • Tulips did not originate in Holland but, rather, Asia. They later found their way to Holland via Turkey where it’s thought that the name tulip is derived from the Persian word for turban.
  • When they did come to the attention of Europeans in the 16th century, they created such a sensation that some speculators are said to have paid as much money for certain exotic bulbs as they might have paid for a house.
  • The most expensive tulip during this so-called Tulip Mania was the Semper Augustus, a white flower on a blue base with an unbroken flame to the top.
  • The Queen of the Night tulip is so darkly purple that it looks black. There are fringed varieties and there are tulips with blooms as large as softballs.
  • Tulips are generally scentless—the Dutch regarded this a virtue as they believed it demonstrated the flower’s chasteness. That said, tulips do possess the chemical compounds responsible for allergies. So, ACHOOO!

YEARNING FOR LOCAL COLOR?

The second annual Wood River Daffodil Festival will take place Saturday, May 13, at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden south of Ketchum. Tickets are $25 with admission benefitting The Senior Connection and the garden.

Admission include brunch, a mimosa bar and non-alcoholic beverages, live music and the unveiling of five unique works of fine art donated to the garden. Youth under 12 and seniors over 65 may attend for free.

~  Today's Topics ~


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