Updated: Mar 22
Spring is here with the anticipation of the tulips blooming once again...
Happiness? The colour of it must be spring green - Frances Mayes
It's been quite a winter this year, I am sitting here, tea in hand looking out of the window looking for inspiration to write this blog. I am looking out the kitchen window on to a very wet, drizzly and grey landscape. I am craving the blue skies and warming sun, the melody of bird song and the sweet smell of the spring blooms. On a positive note, it's inevitable, it's going to happen, all the signs are there. The daffodils have popped and the tulips leaves are above the soil. the beautiful green hues reminding me that renewal and regeneration is happening.
The 20th of March marks the arrival of the spring equinox and the start of the astrological new year of 2023. The sun moves in to Aries and on the following day, the 21st of March, there is the new moon. I cannot profess to understand everything astrological or be a very well read student of it, but I do follow astrology. I am fascinated by how the planets, moon , and stars affect us and the energy on our planet. There is no doubt in my mind the connection we have to the stars and all things astronomical. The cycles of the moon, the sun and planets affect our seasons, our bodies, the weather and the tides.
The spring equinox or vernal equinox, in latin meaning, 'equal night', means we get more daylight. We will experience more daylight than darkness in each 24 hour day and the amount of daylight will increase until the summer solstice in June.
Spring is a wonderful, magical and uplifting time. Our bodies feel more energised and I want to shake off the winter layers and head outside to enjoy the sights, sounds and warmth of the sun on my skin. The layers that are shed after a season hibernating and hunkering down. I am ready to leave the house once again to go exploring out in nature. being captivated and inspired all over again by the birds, the butterflies, the bees, the new green buds on the trees, the blossom and spring blooms. I look forward to the emergence of my tulips and have become slightly obsessed this year after receiving a commission request to paint some beautiful pink tulips. I always associate tulips with Amsterdam, like the song, so I decided to find out more. Lets go tiptoe through the tulips...
Purple Parrot tulip & deep pink tulip painted in watercolour by Clare
In the UK tulips (Tulipa), bloom in late spring. I have a bed of tulips and I wait patiently each year for the them to arrive. I love the different colours, the range of colours, the two colour tulips, such a vast variety that is now available. I don't have a favourite but the feathery purple parrot tulip makes my heart sing. It's a real treat to be able to have tulips in the house whilst waiting for the garden tulips to bloom. Tulips are widely available at a reasonable price in the supermarkets and outdoor markets and I often pick up a bunch or 2 most weeks to bring cheer into the house.
Tulips are most likely to be one of the first flowers to be cultivated solely for their exquisiteness. Tulip designs have been found on pottery dated way back to 2200-1600 BC. European explorers and traders found tulips growing in the gardens of Turkish Sultans in the early 1500s. There's no precise record of when the first tulip left Asia but the scarcity and beauty of the flower led to a huge desire for tulips in Europe during the 17th century, particularly in France and most famously in Holland.
There was a huge demand for the most beautiful and rarely seen varieties of tulips in Holland which led to a craze known as "Tulipomania". This coincided with the Dutch Age and saw the richest europeans wanting to fill their gardens with the stunning and precious tulips.
In the early 17th century, artists from The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were amongst the first to paint the flowers, recording the most desirable tulips of the period. Flowers in a Glass Vase, painted by Ambrosias Bosschaert the Elder in 1614, depicts two of the most prized tulip varieties of the time. 'Semper Augustus', which was red with white striations; and the 'Viceroy', red with yellow flaming. This beautiful painting can be found on the National Gallery website. It is certainly worth taking the time to look. I will include the link at the bottom.
Artwork by Clare
Daffodils blossom and tulips jostle to the front of the stage in April. I love these early perennials - they may be more modest but they nearly all have that one special quality that a plant needs to transform your affections from admiration to affection - charm.
- Monty Don
Whilst searching for great 'did you know' facts about tulips, I came across an old wives tale. Some enthusiasts insist that adding an old penny (pre 1981), to the vase of water will keep your tulips perkier. It's the copper released from the coin that keeps the tulip blooms upright. I know I might give this a try but of course it's now a case of finding a penny dated 1981 or earlier.
I hope you enjoyed our virtual tiptoe through the tulips. The drawing shown above is available for your enjoyment. all you need to do is contact me through my website and I'll email it to you. I am always grateful for my readers support and so I ask that if you liked this post to please share it with your friends and family. I would really like to increase my reader numbers. It would be great if you could give me a 'like' and leave a comment on what your favourite thing is in spring, maybe let me know if you have a favourite tulip.
I will be giving away a pack of my greeting cards this spring. All you have to do is become a member of the Purple Ladybird Art community by subscribing on my website's home page. Existing members and new members will be put in to a prize draw at the end of March.
Wishing you all a wonderful and uplifting spring equinox and a very happy and healthy astrological new year! It's the perfect time to refocus, redefine and reimagine.
with love & light, Clare
Stay naturally curious...
Pam Gregory - Astrologer
Bracha Goldsmith - Astrologer
Night Sky Almanac. A Stargazers Guide to 2023 - Storm Dunlop & Will Tirion
Tulip photo taken from Unsplash by Aaron Burden