Tulipmania (again!)


This is the Semper Augustus, a remarkable tulip of the 17th Century which fueled the world’s first love for the exotic and magical bulb. My recent visit to the Keukenhof gardens indicates flower lovers still lust after its charm. So do I.


Several years ago, I got caught up in the story of the tulip. Way back in 1554, an ambassador to Turkey sent some bulbs and seeds back home. These found their way into Vienna and then into the Low Counties. It took the careful work of Carolus Clusius (a botanist at the University of Leiden) to cultivate and catalog those bulbs that could tolerate the local conditions and soon tulips were popular. Newly independent Holland had a unique flower and it soon became a luxury item. More and more fantastic species were developed. The most sought after tulips actually suffered from a virus that broke the colors into streaks. Eventually, a whole speculative trade came into existence in which people who bought the bulbs never saw them and never possessed them. Tulip fever reached its height in the winter of 1636 when a single bulb might be traded as many as ten times in a day. Then abruptly in February, there came a day when traders just stayed home. The bubble had burst. Fortunes had been made and lost.


This is the background I used to create a YA ghost story. The manuscript has come within a hair’s width of publication four times with different publishers. My own gamble and bust market. Eventually, I do think this manuscript will come into the world, but until then enjoy some photos of the tulips that fueled, Tender Tulips, Dark Diamonds: A Ghost Story. The flowers of the Keukenhof are breathtaking and short-lived.




Filed under flowers

18 responses to “Tulipmania (again!)

  1. This is such a cool but tragic story. Hope your novel does get published because the premise sounds really unique and fascinating to me. I’d love to read it. Best wishes. 🙂


  2. Really cool post, Ellis! And I hope your book finds a publisher.


  3. Beautiful photos. Wonderful to learn the history.


  4. Thank you, Ellis. Beautiful and spirit-lifting! Glorious colors …


  5. reanolanmartin

    Ellis, thank you! thank you! thank you! beautiful post, beautiful pictures, and love the history!


  6. Looking forward to seeing that book. Tulipmania was, as far as I know, the first boom and bust economy, and like all of them, it was fueled not by a love of beauty, but by greed. Sounds like a great story.

    I was in Amsterdam a few years ago and bought a bag of Rembrandt Tulip bulbs at the airport–beautiful flowers with white, yellow, or purple flames shooting up from their stems. I think of Tulipmania whenever I look at them.


  7. Theresa Crater

    Thanks for sharing the tulips.


  8. Absolutely breathtaking!!!


  9. Reblogged this on networks info space and commented:
    Nice story


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