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Bill Prescott

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Like the Heart, Tulips Know No Season

Posted: 11/08/2013 4:15 pm

According to the Meaning of Flowers, in ancient Persia to give a red tulip was to declare your love. The black center of the red tulip was said to represent the lover's heart, burned to a coal by love's passion. To give a yellow tulip was to declare your love hopelessly and utterly.


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Fresh Autumn Tulips


If I am madly in love and it's spring, this is not a problem since everyone knows springtime is traditionally tulip time. However, the heart knows no season and people fall in love year round. How, then, do you give your love a bouquet of stunning tulips as a symbol of your affection in mid-November?

Instead of heading to the chocolate aisle -- or worse yet, the greeting card aisle -- talk to your flower specialist about fall tulips. Tulips in fall? Wait, I thought tulips only bloomed in spring, with rows and rows of dramatic color and the occasional windmill sticking up on the horizon.

Au contraire, mes amateures des tulipes.

Some rather ingenious tulip growers in California have figured out a way to have farm fresh tulips in the fall. No, it does not mean flying them in from South America, which what is done with nearly every rose sold in the United States today. The tulip growers figured out a way to grow big, colorful, soil grown tulips right here on American soil, year-round.

For years tulips have been grown in New Zealand, mostly to be sold in the major metropolitan areas of Australia. In the last few years though, many of the bulbs have been put on ships and sent to California. Flower farmers take advantage of the temperate, moist climate of the redwood coast in Humboldt County to grow tulips. The perennially cloudy, cool weather is perfect for growing one of the world's most beloved flowers. The tulip bulbs, having been previously grown in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are reversed, naturally think it is spring and flourish into stellar flowers.

This clever development works out great for tulip lovers, since the fall color palette is perfect for orange, yellow, red and white tulips. Check out this slide show -- which tulip is your favorite?

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Red and white bi-color tulips
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Photos courtesy of The Sun Valley Floral Farm