A Conversation for The Cranky Gardener

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 1


Because of my search for my ancestors in a distant past (until 1600), I discovered that most of them lived for ages in Haarlem, which is close to Amsterdam.(Harlem in New York is named after Haarlem).

In 17th century Haarlem, there was a group of still-life painters (members of the st.Lucas Gilde). Most of them were born there and lived, painted and died in Haarlem.

So I had a very personal reason "to get in contact" with the works of these famous 17th century painters and their personal lives.

At http://www.franshalsmuseum.nl/index_en.html you'll see the announcement of an exhibition at the end of 2004 of still life paintings from Pieter Claesz.
(P.S. Frans Hals was also a painter from Haarlem, but he painted mainly portrets of all kinds of inhabitants of Haarlem in those days)

But one of them made me go for anóther search and that's the reason of my posting at this specific entry.
That painter is Hans Gillisz. Bollongier 1600 - 1675

Because he was specialized in still-lifes with flówers.
And because there was a real tulip-mania in 1635 In Haarlem/Holland, I found many still life paintings with tulips in áll kinds of magnificent colours!
If you want to see a picture of such a 17th century Dutch flower-still life, you can do the next thing;

Go to http://www.franshalsmuseum.nl/index_en.htmlsmiley - rose

and than click at "Collection" / "Paintings" / "Still Lifes" / "flower still life" of Hans Gillisz. Bollongier.

You'll see the beautiful white tulips with red "flames".

Other famous still life flower painters from these days are;

Adriaen Coorte painted from 1683 - 1707. city of Middelburg.

Jan van Huysum lived from 1682 - 1749. city of Amsterdam.

Rachel Ruysch (female) 1644 - 1750. city of Amsterdam.

Daniel Seghers 1590 - 1661. city of Antwerpen.

Judith Leyster (female) 1609 - 1660. city of Haarlem . She was first a pupil of Frans Hals.

By the early 1600s, which coincided with the first interest in the idea of gardening for decoration rather for solely medicinal purposes, Dutch tulip-lovers were experimenting to create ever more tantalizing hybrids of tulips. Available only to the rich, these exotic and expensive hybrids and mutations were wanted for their beauty, rarity and - status.

Because of a vírus(!), tulipflowers arose with broken-striped varieties and especially thése were painted in 17th century Dutch still-life paintings. The brand name for the tulips became "Rembrandt tulips" although he himself hardly painted any tulip at all.

When the middle classes began to realize how much money the upper classes spent on tulip bulbs - and how much money they made selling them - they sensed a "fool-proof" get-rich-quick opportunity. Thus "Tulipmania" was born.

Bulbs were sold by weight, usually while they were still in the ground. All one had to do to become rich was to plant them and wait.
Traders could earn as much as 60,000 florins (today approximately 44,000 dollars!) in a month — not a bad commission even by 20th century standards.In Amsterdam a house was sold for three tulip bulbs!

People were desperate to cash in on the bulb-trading frenzy! Small businesses were sold and family homes, farm animals, bedding, furnishings, even dowries, were traded.

The bottom suddenly fell out of the market in 1637 when a gathering of bulb merchants could not get the usual inflated prices for their bulbs. Word quickly spread, and the market dramatically crashed.

Thousands of Dutch businessmen, including many of the country's leading economic power brokers, were ruined in less than two months' time — extremely rapid deployment of bad news for 1637!

But that is all history now.
It is possible today to grow in our own gardens around the world, varieties that are similar to those which started all the mania so long ago.
Today actual Rembrandt tulips are no longer available (they're illegal because of the virus), but Dutch hybridizers have bred nice "look-a-like" flowers that duplicate the flushed Rembrandt look.
The distinguishing feature: a light colored tulip with deep red, purple or ox-blood broken stripes, flushes or "flames."

Among many 20th century Rembrandt cultivars are:

Red and white 'Union Jack',
Orange flushed with purple ‘Princes Irene’,
White and purple flecked 'Shirley',
Deep rose and white 'Sorbet',
and primrose yellow and raspberry ’Mona Lisa’.

There is also a living museum of bulb flowers in the small town of Limmen.(20 minutes from Amsterdam).
The museum, a patchwork-planted field of historic or significant tulips planted in three-foot-square blocks, is called the Hortus Bulborum.
There, the Dutch preserve a historic tulip gene pool for use by modern hybridizers. The Hortus Bulborum also stands as a monument to the reverence of the Dutch for tulips and the other bulb flowers for which they are famous.
At the museum, it is still possible to see one of the most antique hybrids, 'Duc van Tol', circa 1595.
Treasury of Flowerbulbs.

The Hortus Bulborum in Limmen near Alkmaar, is the only
garden in the world where you will find 2500 different tulips,
hyacinths, daffodils and other bulbs in flower. Each spring
the Hortus Bulborum is packet with vivid colours.
Fundamental in this garden however is the preservation of old cultivars, and the Hortus boasts tulips dating from 1595 and daffodils from 1603.

The aim of this garden is to maintain these cultivars
and safeguard them for the future.
The preservation work of the Hortus Bulborum
goes hand in hand with the work of the professional
growers to obtain better cultivars for today’s needs.
The current collection contains 1500 cultivars of tulips,
50 hyacinths, 800 daffodils, 22 irises, 50 crocuses and
dozens of imperial crowns.

if you'ld like to see/visit the Hortus Bulborum.
See http://www.hortus-bulborum.nl/index.htmsmiley - rose
and click at the English version.

For more information about bulbs, now and then, etc.
http://www.flowerbulbs.co.uk/smiley - rose (15 languages)
and click for history at "Bulb history".
You can also see there a picture of a 17th century flowerpainting and a picture of modern "Rembrandt tulips", etc. etc.

So this has become a long posting after all, but I connected a real personal story with an item of gardening that made me decide to write about it (also) here.
In september 2004, I'll buy some of these tulips and I hope to see them grow from the soil, as a real 17th century still life painting coming to life.

Nature that reaches its hands to me, from the passed of my ancestors.

And of couse, this is possible in many other countries aswell.

Greatings from Amsterdam

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 2



"For more information about bulbs, now and then, etc.
http://www.flowerbulbs.co.uk/ (15 languages) smiley - rose
and click for history at "bulb history".
You can also see there a picture of a 17th century flowerpainting and a picture of modern "Rembrandt tulips", etc. etc."

To actually see these pictures, you've got to click on "other countries" and then "U.S.A.". Different info there then for U.K.

It is the Netherlands Flowerbulbs Information Centre site.

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 3


Thank you for the links Alfredo. smiley - smiley

Tulips are glorious, aren't they? I once saw a documentary on television about the tulip fields in Holland. And it showed a public park that had millions of tulips. It was hard to imagine that many blooms in one place. It was truly breathtaking.

There are so many varieties that it is hard to choose which ones to buy. I normally buy Darwin Hybrids because they are dependable perennials in my climate. But that limits the selection pretty severly.

I love the parrot tulips because they are so showy. But I think my all-time favorite is a pink peony-type called Angelique. smiley - biggrin

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 4


Thank you, Hypatia

Well, the "Darwin" is very stable and the so called módern Rembrandt tulips "descend" from the Darwin.

And the "parrot tulips" are in their appearance álso very ancient.
They already existed in the 17th century. I just know that scince four weeks.

I didn't know that much about tulips so far, although I have seen the feelds many times in my youth and worked in it in holidays.

Now I certainly got real interested in them, because of a personal motivation.

The Parc you are talking about is "De Keukenhof" and is in the South of Amsterdam (30 minutes). That is a real tourist attraction.(packed)

In the fiftees we also had the Lineaus Hof, but that has become a playgarden for children.

The Garden in Limmen (hortus bulborum) is much smaller, but less hectic then De Keukenhof I expect.
I'll go and have a look there, this spring.
They also sell sóme very ancient bulbs too.

Spring is always a miracle, isn't it?
A jubilant nature, rejoicing and screeming "óne more time" every year, like a little child.

That kind of joy I hope to keep in touch with.

I hope you'll have a good spring and summer this year.

Greatings from Amsterdam

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 5


So the Rembrandt tulips should also be perennials for me? Excellent. That's good news.

You're fortunate to live so close to all that beauty.

I also buy hyacinths and daffodils from Holland. I'm a good customer. smiley - biggrin I'm not sure, but I think my oriental lily bulbs came from there as well.

I love lilies as much as I do tulips. Actually, if it blooms, I like it. smiley - blush

Do you have a garden?

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 6


Nothing greater than the smell of blue Hyacinths.
Magic to me.smiley - disco
The blue ones appear to smell stronger than the other colours.

I hád a huge garden, with a sphere of calm. (I loved Delphinium !)
Now no real garden anymore.
As a single I live along a very small canal, but I do have some flowerbeds around the house ánd around the special trees along the water.
(I was véry surprised to see Vinca Minor already full of flowers!!)

Love gardening; to see, feel and smell nature.
And to see respónd nature because of your own labour.

My passion grew when I discovered many metaphors in nature for life as a whole and my personal life.
Walked all by myself in the Pyrenees. Greatest time ever.
But not anymore (lack of energy).

An this is what I found about Darwin and Perrot tulips;
"The Darwin tulips are the product of this century. Due to their long and firm stems and beautifully formed flowers, they have a good reputation as cut-flowers. Parrot tulips date back from the 17th century. They often have two colours and twisted, fringed petals".

So you've got more history in your garden than you thought!

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 7


Hyacinths were my dad's favorite flowers. I enjoy the fragrance outside, but find it overpowering indoors. I have about 200 hyacinths in my garden. Multiple colors in one bed and a dark pink called Jan Bois in another.

They bloom here in late March and April, depending upon the variety. I haven't noticed any coming up yet. The narcissus are up, though and the early tulips.

One of my favorite beds is an unusual island planting. It's hard to describe the shape because I created it by following the outlines of some old fence posts that had been dug out leaving a mess in the yard and including a small bed that I had started the previous year. anyway, it is about 30 feet long and 20 feet wide and curved. In the spring it is filled with several varieties of narcissus and old fashioned trumpet daffodils and bordered with red emperor tulips. I have planted hemerocallis on top of the bulbs for a summer display. There are also about 70 Casa Blanca oriental lilies in the center of the bed. One end has a birdbath and some striped ornamental grasses.

Most of my tulips are in front of my house. I will need to replant two beds this fall, as the bulbs were ruined. My favorite tulip bed is solid red and has while grape hyacinths as a border. I have about 500 tulips left, down from about 1000 a few years ago. One large bed was ruined last spring when we had to replace a sewer line. And another one contained a beautiful variety that repeated one year but then didn't come up last spring. I think the summer heat killed the bulbs - not Darwins. smiley - winkeye My husband has been ill and I just didn't get around to replacing the bulbs last fall.

I think people who do not like gardening are a bit strange. It is a lot of work, but certainly is rewarding.

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 8



"In the spring it is filled with several varieties of narcissus and old fashioned trumpet daffodils and bordered with red emperor tulips".

It almost sounds like the Barok "Ode for Queen Mary's Birthday" by Henry Purcell !

Beautiful. smiley - smiley

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 9


Alfredo, there is a conversation group called The Circle. It is at A2253331. It hasn't been organized very long, but there are already some interesting conversations about a number of subjects. I would be honored if you would stop by and join in on some of the conversations.

Gardening topics are discussed in the Potager. smiley - smiley


Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 10


I'll have a look there, one of these days.
Promised smiley - smiley

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 11


"And under the umbrella term "Rembrandt-tulips" are about ten different species (Union Jack, Prinses Irene, Shirley, etc. etc.)".

In our modern times it is indeed an umbrella term for all kinds of look-a-likes.

In the old days however, it was a real specie with different varieties.

I saw some in the Hortus Bulborum in Limmen (Netherlands) smiley - smiley

Antique "Rembrandt tulips" from The Netherlands.

Post 12


This link really has additional info.


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