- Furniture chain store West Elm will be offering pop-up floral stores for three consecutive weekends around the country, starting in late April. They've chosen some of the hippest and most popular florists from each area (including our contributor, Marigold & Mint!), so it's definitely worth stopping in to check out the stores. Single stems and arrangements will be sold. The complete list of florists includes:
Photos of Jacqueline van der Kloet's gardens around the world, showing her artful mix of fall bulbs in bloom in New York, Holland, and at her home.
The year is 1634, and you live in Holland. If social status is any concern, you're looking to acquire the country's most conspicuous symbol of wealth: a tulip bulb. This is no small thing; during Holland's great tulip speculation, the most prized bulbs were worth more than the most expensive houses in Amsterdam. But that's not enough. You can't very well stick your botanic gold in any old glass jar—you'll need a special way to showcase your new luxury flowers.
Disseminated at the height of Europe's seventeenth-century flower frenzy, the first nursery catalog was a masterpiece and a marketing strategy. It was published as a Florilegium (collection of flowers), and compiled by Dutch entrepreneur Emmanuel Sweerts (1552-1612). Before its publication, Sweerts peddled curiosities—stuffed birds and shells, as well as tulip bulbs. He would soon consolidate his wares.
Tulip mania is in full bloom in the Netherlands right now, as shown by these amazing photographs of the bulb fields in bloom. The area is known as Bloembollenstreek, or flower bulb street, a strip of 19 miles between Haarlem and Leiden, where fields of flowers are grown. The flowers start blooming in January and lillies bloom late in May, but mid-April is the time for the area's most famous flower, the tulip, to shine.
During the 17th-century economic bubble known as "tulip mania," tulips were an unparalleled symbol of luxury, and they fetched a pretty (and speculative) penny. European audiences found the tulip's saturated colors to be exotic, wonderful, and worth the cost of a posh Amsterdam flat on the canal. The tulip frenzy would crash of course, but today, after a recovery period of several centuries and the introduction of new floral species to temper the tulip's allure, the flower has settled into a comfortable spot: still cherished, but a lot less expensive. Sometimes, they're even free.