Tulip ma­nia!

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

Tulips may be run-of-the-mill border bulbs to us, but to peo­ple liv­ing in Hol­land in the 17th cen­tury they were the food of ob­ses­sion, black­mail… and riches.

Re­cent film Tulip Fever (star­ring Ali­cia Vikan­der and Judi Dench, and based on the novel of the same name) is set against the back­drop of the Dutch tulip craze, dur­ing which rare tulip bulbs sold for un­be­liev­able prices, in turn cre­at­ing the first eco­nomic bub­ble in fi­nan­cial his­tory.

‘The Viceroy’ tulip could sell for 3,000-4,200 guilders – way out of reach of the av­er­age skilled worker, who earned just 300 guilders a year. And some­one once of­fered a house in ex­change for the red and white striped ‘Sem­per Au­gus­tus’ (above right). This pricy bloom is no longer avail­able, but ‘Car­naval de Nice’ is sim­i­lar – and, thank­fully, there is no need to sell your house to buy it!

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