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Six-on-Saturday – Tulip Mania

By about 1610 tulip mania reached frenzied heights. A single bulb of a new variety was acceptable as dowry for a bride, and a flourishing brewery in France was exchanged for one bulb of the variety Tulipe Brasserie.

What’s a gardener’s worst nightmare? What is it that would have us wake in the middle of the night screaming, perhaps only to find it was a false alarm? Except, in my case on Tuesday, it was real. I left the glasshouse open! Can you believe it? An gcreidfeá é? Yes I did, but didn’t wake screaming. Wednesday was such a beautiful sunny morning… beautiful, except for two things. The glasshouse was open and I had a dental appointment. Have you ever had that feeling when a dental appointment is knocked back to second place on the oh-feck-ometer? Well, that was me. My challenge this week, quoted from my fellow SOSer in Belgium, is to focus on Six on Saturday as the perfect excuse to indulge in some gardening mindfulness. Thank you Sel.

Of course, because I live in the sunny South-East, I got away with blue murder. The temperature dipped to 5°C and plant life within continues. Screaming would have been an excessive reaction. Have you had anything worse than a dental appointment? On the other hand, here are six things in my garden better than a dental appointment.



I’ve never been a fan of Tulips, but can’t really figure out why. Anyways, in an effort to get right outside my comfort zone I bought a dozen. So far, I’m very happy. These ones are smaller than usual and they began flowering last week. Variety is Triumph Yokohama. Bright and cheerful.

In my efforts to like my new Tulips, I wanted to learn more. Introduced to Europe from Turkey in the 1500’s, tulips became an exchangeable item, similar to money airgead. The Tulip Mania of 1663-1667 is well documented.

Tulpenwindhandel was a speculative frenzy in 17th-century Holland over the sale of tulip bulbs.  The delicately formed, vividly coloured flowers became a popular, if costly, item. The demand for differently coloured varieties of tulips soon exceeded the supply, and prices for individual bulbs of rare types began to rise to unwarranted heights in northern Europe. By about 1610 a single bulb of a new variety was acceptable as dowry for a bride, and a flourishing brewery in France was exchanged for one bulb of the variety Tulipe Brasserie.


All in all, it adds a strange twist to what we in Ireland would say about someone who acts foolishly:

You’re some tulip!

Fuchsia genii

Fuchsia genii

Genii is my favourite Fuchsia, as much for the leaf as the flower. It has wintered well. I had trimmed it shortly before Christmas, and it seems ready for the season ahead. As an added bonus the three cuttings have rooted and will be grown on. Elephants will remember that I tried air-layering with a transparent plastic ball last year. Well, my advice to anyone interested is not to bother. I had five in place and not a single root has rooted. Save your money. Invest in a few tulips.


Myosotis… Forget-me-not

The few flowers are insignificant as yet, but in another few weeks, there will be thousands of these tiny blue flowers. Myosotis, more commonly known as Forget-me-not, seeds freely and I’m happy to let it. It becomes a fine plant to fill blank spaces between the end-of-daffodil time and beginning of summer annuals. Last week I had difficulty identifying Iberis. I’ll not forget this one, but I’d be blue in the face getting some folk to remember Myosotis.


I mentioned a few weeks ago that someone’s Peony plants were above ground, but there wasn’t a sign of anything happening with mine. I was beginning to wonder were mine a Monday morning version. I needn’t have concerned myself, because with the addition of canes for support and a Heineken bottle to support the canes, everything turned out hunky dory. It’s my first time growing Peonies, whereas Heineken has been a regular feature for many a year. It’s all part of being a good European. The top of the bottle (bottom actually) seems like an inviting place to sit an ornament. Teddy bear, leprechaun or maybe just a few blue & white balloons. Would it be a good display option for an expensive rare tulip?


If only you could be overwhelmed by the sweet scent of these beautiful flowers, you’d surely die happy. The bees are buzzing and in no time at all there’ll be a new set of berries to add to the current crop. Skimmia japonica is the bees knees right now. It’s got a good spot near the vegetable beds, but I’m thinking of moving it to my central Patio Potpourri. I reorganised it last week and will add a few more bits and take away a few more bits until I feel it looks sufficiently different than last year.


These double narcissi are adding some colour to my patio this week. Unfortunately, they tend to get blown over so I try to place the pots in a sheltered spot. A close inspection of this might lead you to believe that it’s riddled with greenfly, but that couldn’t be the case in March Márta. In fact, as I powerwashed the patio last week this and all other pots needed to be moved. It just so happened that I didn’t move this one far enough. I think it’s Paper White, but I’m open to suggestions.

Did You Know?

Linking back to today’s introduction, I wanted to learn more about blue murder and I came across this:

Using colours as metaphors for emotion is probably as old as human language, though they’re deeply determined by culture. In English we have phrases such as white with rage, green with jealousy, see red, yellow streak and tickled pink. The emotional associations of blue are more varied than those of most colours. It has among others indicated constancy (true blue), strained with effort or emotion (blue in the face), indecent or obscene (blue movie) and fear or depression (as in blue funk, which in the UK means to be in a state of fear but in the US to be depressed). WorldWideWords

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more next Saturday an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday articles from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I hope you have a great week. Slán go fóill.


0 thoughts on “Six-on-Saturday – Tulip Mania”

  1. I’m loving your garden this year – perhaps especially the beer bottle cane support! The Fuchsia genii looks suspiciously like a Forsythia! Playing tricks on us again? 🙂

      1. The leaves are a very light yellow/green, just budded last week. Seems earlier than usual. The flower will be red, yet its for the leaf colour I like it best.

  2. Don’t talk to me about dentists! I seem to get told off whenever I go.

    A fine looking tulip. The question is, has this year’s experience changed your opinion of them? I quite like them, although the squirrels did a number on me in the autumn, and ate every last one that I’d planted.

    1. I am ready to be persuaded, Andrew. I’ve solved the dentist situation. I go to a Hungarian lady whose only English is “How is your lovely wife?”!
      Little feckers. Squirrels, that is. 😀

  3. I love this Heineken bottle! 😂 you remind me of doing something similar. I have never used anything other than a tie but I imagine that the reflections of the sun on the bottle could also scare the birds ?!

    1. I prefer Guinness, Fred. The Heineken was used to kill slugs. I did attempt to tie the canes and it was a lot of trouble. Eureka, I said! The bottle is a perfect fit.

    1. I think I know what went wrong…. The compost within would need to be very compressed… Anyway, it was fun trying.
      Dentists are actually so good nowadays…. Almost…

  4. Always an education! I remember the plastic ball too, you win some you loose some. Perhaps one day we will drink a Heineken together, I am always available to help a gardener in need. Peonies are looking great!

  5. So you didn’t get out there in your dressing gown closing the doors: you had a lucky escape. I wear a specially warm wool dressing gown, which is useful for the moving of plants back in the conservatory! I can agree that Genii is a magnificent fuchsia.

  6. You left the glass house open? Would it be appropriate to say “What a tulip”? Only joking, happens to the best of us, and glad you got away with it. I suppose the modern equivalent of tulip mania is hellebore madness, we are a susceptible lot. Maybe you will get more into tulips now? Thanks for the mindfulness quote! 🙂

  7. We’re spoiled for choice this week….so many things to comment on. I’m hoping for tulip flowers soon but you are well ahead. I have just emptied a very pretty blue bottle and was wondering what to do with it, problem solved, thank you. The skimmia is stunning. Interesting Six-on-Saturday.

  8. I also had the middle of the night realisation that I’d left the greenhouse windows open, Luckily only went down to 5C here too. I’ve just set the alarm on my phone to remind me to close them today. I like the tulip you chose.

  9. Your post brought me many smiles today. I’m a lover of tulips, but truly understand when other gardeners are not. They do, after all, require a bit of work, some feeding, occasional dividing, their petals can get a bit mussed up by hard spring rains, and their foliage can be a bit unsightly as it ripens off after it’s finished blooming. However, once I see those colorful blooms in early spring, I forget all of the flower’s drawbacks.

    Your post also highlighted a good idea for creating supports…love the bottles on top. I have a few pretty bottles I don’t really use in the house which might come in handy for such a use in my gardens this year. Thanks for the lovely idea (humorously told).

    1. Six on Saturday has very definitely influenced my gardening… I try new ideas and love that I’m learning week by week. Enjoy your travels, a chara.

  10. There are a few lonely bottles of Heinken in my refrigerator – they have been dwelling there for over a year and a tomato teepee is needed in the garden shortly, so you have given me a great idea! And I love that fuschia too, never seen or heard of that one, it is beautiful.

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