Followers of this blogspace, may be familiar with our confessed, enthusiastic partiality, to Dutch tulips, among all the beguiling mid- Spring floral magnificence. Each year, for the (slightly less than) the three years of plinyblog’s existence, we have re- published, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, our mini-essay, exalting those eye-catching, uniquely shaped blossoms, valuing them. significantly, above the stereotypical rose; the latter being, apparently, the traditional love offerings, on that romantic holiday. It has always been our view that plants, like tulips, that emerge from bulbs, manifest unique and estimable features, not found in the stereotypical, Valentine roses.
In early European History, the tulip (“tulipa”) was generally acknowledged as extremely valuable, not only as a prized flower, but, actually considered, a valuable medium of exchange. There are some botanical texts which state, that in some recorded real estate transactions, the land and improvements, were paid for with tulips.
The early Fall, has, been empirically shown to be the best time for planting Spring flowering tulips. We recently have become owners of a country property, and have been in the process of preparing the grounds to suit our visual tastes. Accordingly, the past weekend was devoted to the planting of Dutch imported tulips, previously selected for color and type, and for their (late) mid – May flowering. Not to dwell on the subject, we are especial fans of the “late” flowering varietals, which are larger and more dramatic in appearance, than the “early,” or Mid- April, blooming tulips.
The ground must be prepared, by painstakingly removing the accumulated weeds and other unwanted material from the potential tulip field, working the soil, removing the rocks, and then, preparing dug circles, about the size of dinner plates, and four inches deep, and, then, within these circular holes, arranging the various bulbs, [ according to optimistic, aesthetic visions of the future] in potential color patterns as desired. The planted bulbs are then covered with soil, and gently patted down with the back of the planting spade. The planted area is then generously watered, and the long and optimistic, wait, for next spring, begins. We will undertake to furnish a report this coming Spring, for those who may be interested, as to the degree of our success. Since we believe in absolute candor, we would like to candidly, report, on our, (worthwhile) state of exhaustion and debilitating back ache.
For the moment, we would like to briefly discuss, the unique and inestimable, qualities of the tulip bulb, applicable to all bulb type varietals, the latter general category, which we feel deserve, at least, honorable mention (first prize, of course, to be awarded to the Spring’s tulip flower production).
Most flowers, of course, are planted by the chance, or in some cases, the intentional, burial of small seeds, produced by like flowers, previously pollinated, by insects, such as bees or butterflies. The mature wild seeds, eventually, fall to the ground, or are carried by the wind; a very small number of which, take root and grow to replicate their particular flower species. Such very few, are so fortunate, as not to be eaten, by birds, or other woodland critters, or blown away to areas where they cannot be buried for germination. The extremely few fortunate seeds, adequately buried by the natural elements, require sufficient amounts of water, as well as proper soil chemistry to take life, mature, flower and, eventually, in mature form, themselves, produce seeds for replication. As can be seen, seeds are dependent upon many variable and precarious factors to germinate, mature and go to seed.
Such utter and complete dependency, of botanical seeds, upon so many variables, is distinguishable from the admirably independent, tulip bulb. If planted correctly, the natural developmental pitfalls, and dependence on good fortune, and the many variable dangers, in the case of seeded plants, are not present in tulip (and other) bulbs. The tulip bulb is indeed, remarkable for its own, existential an remarkably independent success.
Each small onion type bulb, has within its systemic system, a sufficient store of food to feed its potential plant, until it breaks the surface of the soil, in which it was implanted, quickly develops leaves, which, by virtue of their content of natural chlorophyll, is chemically responsive to sunlight, and thereby, produce food for the plant. At this point the tulip bulb will have, also, developed mature roots, enabling it to derive needed nourishment from the soil, and then, mature to a beautiful and unique blossom.
There appears to be an instructive metaphor implicit in the tulip process, at least in part, applicable to man’s aspirations to a secure persona, and fulfillment as a mature adult. Just as the tulip bulb has within it, the ingredients for self- nourishment and ultimate production of a beautiful flower, man’s fulfillment, also, has its fundamental source, internally and systemically; the potential for the attainment of successful maturity and fulsome life, of the homo sapiens, is internally founded, like the tulip bulb; but, by significant contrast, in the case of man, such internal nourishment, is derived by the acquisition of wisdom from learned experience and by personal efforts at advancement.