The world of tulips has always fascinated me, mainly because I live in a tropical country where green is the dominant colour. To see rows and rows of bright, colourful tulips evoked in me a sense of awe, awe at mother nature for being able to produce such spectacular array of colours.
Of course, man has a tendency to interfere in things. The quest for the 'Black Tulip' is tantamount to the quest for the Holy Grail - something that exists in man's dreams but never realised - dare I put a 'yet' at the end? It also inspired Alexandre Dumas to write a novel based on the same dream. We have fiery red ones, startling pinks, bright yellows, deep purples but yet no black or blue tulips - and not for the lack of trying. 'Queen of the Night', a name that brings to mind blood thirsty vampires, is a deep purple cultivar that appears black in some lighting conditions comes close enough to be our 'Black Tulip'.
Before, sights like this for me only exists on photographs or images. Now, I get to gawk at it firsthand. Although the tulips grown here at the botanical gardens are on a much smaller scale, nevertheless, it still managed to impress visitors like me.
Tulips are known as colourful, beautiful flowers, associated with romance and love yet these very flowers sparked a speculative frenzy in 17th century Holland over tulip bulbs. During that period, tulips were considered a status symbol, a sign of luxury. And at that same time, some of the tulip plants had contracted a virus which caused coloured streaks across the petals, making them even more highly prized than before. The value of the tulip bulbs went higher and higher as greed reared its ugly head. Inevitably, the tulip market crashed, causing widespread panic and financial loss. (Disclaimer - I am not sure how true this is though)
Tulips are simple yet bold. Their colours stand out strong, making a statement. You can hardly miss them, whether they are planted in a garden somewhere or arranged in a vase to brighten up a room.
And as I was admiring the flowers, I saw a little boy happily playing with the flowers while his indulgent grandmother looked on. A new mother and her baby, posing amidst the vibrant flowers for a family photo.
A young couple walking hand in hand, admiring the flowers and admiring each other. An artist trying to capture the moment. A photographer, waiting for the right moment.
I walked away, feeling happy.