You may have noticed that many of the tulips both at Wychfield and Central site are a deep flame orange colour. These are the beautifully named ‘Ballerina’. This tulip not only provides a striking display, but also, unusually for any tulip, has a delicate scent that is most noticeable in a sunny spot.
This type of tulip is often called a ‘lily flowered tulip’ due to its goblet shaped flowers resembling a lily, which flowers late into the spring.
Wild tulips grow in the Himalayan Mountain Range throughout the Middle East and into Southern Europe. As far as we can tell the first known popularisation and enthusiasm for cultivating tulips originated in Turkey in the 1500’s during the time of the Ottoman Empire, when tulips were cultivated primarily for the pleasure of the then Sultan. Throughout this period there came into force strict laws surrounding the cultivation and sale of Tulips, with defiance punishable by exile.
The following link takes you to a brief history of the tulip with some lively animations (both educational and fun!), created by the Amsterdam Tulip Museum: