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Locals over at Facebook will recognize this photo as my cover photo which is then cropped to a profile picture. They may not know I think I’m taking a picture of a landscape that could exist somewhere near Rhinebeck, New York. 

Locals relax by the tulip fields along the canal in Haarlem, The Netherlands, 1931.

Photograph credit: Wilhelm Tobien, National Geographic Creative

Photograph credit: Wilhelm Tobien, National Geographic Creative

Long live the tulip! We can buy tulip bulbs in virtually all colors, including a purple so deep that it looks black. And by planting a selection of varieties of this perennial, we can enjoy their beauty from early spring through early summer.

Tulips do best in areas with dry summers and cold winters. The brightly colored, upright flowers may be single or double, and vary in shape from simple cups, bowls, and goblets to more complex forms. They are excellent in beds and borders; many types are good for forcing into bloom indoors, and most are excellent for cut flowers.

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  • Did you know: If you dig up a tulip bulb in midsummer, it’s not the same bulb you planted last fall. It’s her daughter. Even while the tulip is blossoming, the bulb is dividing for the next generation.
  • To get the longest vase life, cut tulip stems diagonally, then wrap the upper two-thirds of the flowers in a funnel of newspaper and stand them in cool water for an hour or two. Then, recut the stems and the tulips will last at least a week.
  • In 17th-century Holland, the new tulip was such the rage and fashion that a handful of bulbs was worth about $44,000.

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NOTE: Although the Netherlands only controlled the Hudson River Valley from 1609 – 1664, in that short time, Dutch entrepreneurs established New Netherlands, a series of trading posts, town and forts up and down the Hudson River that laid the groundwork for towns that still exist today. 

Dutch Colonization, nps.gov

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