A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower. Marianne Williamson
Tulips are the symbol of paradise on earth. A simple and graceful design though modern tulips can be quite frilly or have massive blooms. Originally found in the Persia empire near Pamir and Tan Shan mountains (Afghanistan and Kazakhstan) and Turkey. The word tulips are from the Persian word for turban, dulband. It refers to their resemblance to turbans as they bloom. Men wore the fresh blooms in their turbans denoting prosperity or as a charm to fight evil.
The Ottomans Turks were enamored with tulips, cultivating them since the 13th century. Tulips were celebrated in religious and secular poems and art pieces as a reminder of heaven and eternal life. Suleiman the Magnificent through his friendship with the Holy Roman ambassador Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq help the tulip travel to Europe in the 16th Century. The ambassador was visiting Suleiman to aid in the peace process with Austria. Tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils captivated him, and he carried tulips to Augsburg where in 1559, the first tulip bloomed. As with other cultures, the tulip captivated statesmen and scholars.
It was this exchange with the ambassador that found the tulip passing into the Dutch culture where they its cultivation to a new level. In the 17th century the economy became mad with tulips creating its currency on their growth and breeding. Single bulbs would control the fortune of the merchants. They became the symbol of the wealthy and were seen as pots of gold. As values increase land was traded, fortunes lost, and the economy of Holland faltered. Two interesting reads about this time of Dutch history sometimes refers to as Tulip Mania are The Tulip by Anna Pavord and, Tulipmania, Money, Honor and Knowledge by Anne Goldgar.
The Dutch economy recovered, and they are now the number one growers of tulips. The ups and downs of Tulipmania led to another meaning that life can be brief. They are the national flower of the Netherlands. Tulip season begins when the City of Amsterdam celebrates National Tulip Day in January.
The colors and styles of tulips are as vast as their meanings. They are a sweet blossom connected to happiness and peace. A classic flower of love. Being one of the first flowers to bloom they can mean rebirth and have come to mean the heralds of spring. Victorians would use them to send messages of charity and supporting the less fortunate. They are the third’s most known flower after the rose and chrysanthemum.
The blooms are cup shape surrounded by showy petals. Centers can be dark or light, providing a contrast to the petals meaning a broken or light-heart. Larger petals symbolize fame and showiness. The mosaic virus when found in tulips make the petals brighter and more interesting.
In a bouquet, tulips can be used to express to the receiver that they are elegance and graceful. They can mean forgotten or neglected love. Indulgence. Daintiness. Tulips are symbolic of hope and faith, ideas, and the quest for perfection. Another sign of spring indicating a fresh start, new beginnings, or eternal love. Bouquet of bright red tulips speaks to passion and perfect love. Use tulips to celebrate the 11th wedding anniversary expressing devotion and love. Variegated tulips in a bunch mean I think your eyes are beautiful.
If you are wanting to send specific message use the below as a guideline.
Crème tells your partner that love is eternal and expresses commitment.
Orange is a striking color signifying happiness but can mean energy, warmth, enthusiasm, and desire. This color likes to say get on with it.
Pink symbolize happiness and confidence. It is a color of less intensity that speaks of affection and love. This color contains many meanings; pride and love, contentment, inner happiness, or friendship. A great choice for friends and family.
Purple represents royalty and a regal nature. Abundance and prosperity. Loyalty to others or material wealth.
Red is the symbol for perfect love and sign of everlasting love. Or undying passionate love, whether the passion is spurned or returned. Tales from Persian and Turkish legends tell us of the love between Farhad and Shirin. In one story, Farhad was a prince who fell in love with a beautiful girl named Shirin. She is murdered and, in his despair, rides his horse off a cliff. A red tulip grew where his blood touched the ground. In another Shirin is the royal and Farhad is the commoner. She rejects him and he goes to the hills to play music. She hears the music and falls in love with him. Her father creates a challenge for him to build a canal. As he is finishing the canal, her father tells Shirin that Farhad has died. She goes to be with him and together their blood becomes red tulips.
Red tulips with velvety black centers represent a lover’s heart, darkened by the heat of passion. In a myth from medieval times a woman was proposed to by three knights, each one declaring their love. She could not decide whom to choose. Praying to the Goddess of Flowers she transforms into a red tulip.
Yellow means eternal love, a cheery disposition, or cheerful thoughts. A flower with a sweet charm to express simple joy. The color of unrequited or spurned love. Sending a yellow tulip to someone means you love them, but you know they don’t return your feelings.
There are over 3000 different varieties of tulips. They are in the Genus Tulip, Family Liliaceae along with lilies and onions. The bulbs are starchy and caloric. These qualities helped in times of starvation and food shortages. It was not unusual for Roman soldiers to eat the bulbs. The tulip crash in the Netherland led once again to it as a food source. World War II saw the bulbs as part of the food stream as the Dutch went through yet another famine. Tulip petals can be used in several dishes.
Carrying tulip petals in your pocket brings good luck. Pixies live in the tulip beds in the Netherlands.
Tulips vibrate to the number six, an expression of charms and lovability. Six represents energy of responsibility, gratitude, and conscientious action. It blends and harmonizes its surroundings. A flower with a big heart vibrating at a level where is part of the picture, not center stage.
Old House Garden describes this broken tulip as sunrise in slow motion, opening with baby-smooth, pale yellow petals feathered with rose, and then day by day transforms itself into a big, ruffled flower of creamy white flamed with purple.
Grow tulips in your sacred space. They bring peace to the home. When you can, wear a boutonniere or give a tussie-mussie for prosperity and protection. The lipsticks of the garden, tulips bring the finishing touch to the spring bloomers as summer approaches.
Warm colors take a supporting role to other colors. They bring in their warmth and stabilizing attributes.
Black is a protective color, helping to keep the external world at bay by comforting you and removing negativity. A feminine energy creating restfulness and restorative feelings. Black links the unknown or the unseen creating mystery and provides a sense of potential and possibility. It is the best color when you want calmness.
From the Native Americans black gives life and is represented through its soil color. Known as the Color of Soil because it gives life. In your sacred space black adds depth, sophistication or glamour. Lovely when used with contrasting bright colors. Use in small qualities.
Use this color when wanting to create a space into which anything may emerge and disappear. Like the color white, I feel black helps with new beginnings Shapes that represent black are curvy, undulating or irregular patterns. If you need a touch of stability in the home, place a touch of black in the Southwest and in the North plants, stone or art to help with career decisions. Trees represented by this color are Cottonwood (Populus Aigeiros), and Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana, Carpinus betulus.)
Brown is The Color of Earth is both a masculine and feminine energy. Seen in the outdoors and in agricultural with thoughts of wholesomeness, natural and organic production. While brown remains in the background, it will add a touch of luminosity to spaces. As a tree color it offers stability and provides structure and support.
A friendly and approachable, practical and sensible color. Provides a sense of security and belonging. A joyful color that offers growth and protection.
Often seen as a fall combination where it showcases other colors. Use in Hot color combinations for last blast before winter. Adds depth and grounding in a small space. Shades of brown are in shapes of are horizontal, square or rectangle. Use bark, stone or wood. Trees represented by this color are the Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and the Cacao (Theobroma cacao).
A feminine color treasured by several ancient goddesses of love that go back pre-Sumerian times. They emphasize the nurturing aspect of women and their ongoing youthfulness. You may be more familiar with this group of goddesses by names of Ishtar (Egyptian), Aphrodite (Greek), and Venus (Roman). All display their power of love, balance, beauty and artistic skills with copper.
In the mineral form, copper is required in photosynthesis and is one of eight micro-nutrients required for plant life. Add a touch of this color in a space that needs a boost from the earth. Keep copper nearby to help with clear communication, mitigate arthritis and rheumatism ailments.
Trees represented by copper are found in the underside leaves of called indumentum. These fine hairs are usually cinnamon brown and resembles felt. that help to store water and protect the plant from cold and heat. Trees that display this are the Magnolias (Magnolia) and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron).
In the West pink is feminine both in color and energetically promoting affection and intimacy, thoughtful and caring moments. From Japan pink is a masculine influence representing the young Japanese warriors, the Samurai who fell in battle. Cherry blossoms of the Prunus serrulate fell at the time when the warriors fell. The Sakura Festival represents , and the battles fought. Cherry blossoming festivals can be found the world over to celebrate spring.
Chi and high energetic vibrations of pink will stay in your garden through use of plants or structures. Mix the colors with dark blue, green, black or gray tones to help highlight vibration and support of the guardian angels. A great color for a child’s garden creating adventure and tranquility, all at the same time. Pink is made of red, a primary color used for exploring and white, a secondary color made up of red, green and blue bringing insight. Trees represented by this color are the Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) and the Hawthorn (Crataegus).
“Colours also have healing properties and with their constant movement across the surface of the planet they created energy fields. It was within these areas that life started. “
Andre Norton – The Legend of the Fairy Stone
Colors are fantastic, interesting and complex. They play a valuable role in the design, the contribution of or the meaning of your sacred space. They create harmonious environments and nowhere is that greater than within the plant kingdom. Healing is their purpose no matter the shade, tone or use; always at work to help us, the earth or healing nearby areas.
The Book of Durrow is one of the first books on documented color dating back to the seventh century. Like its more famous cousin, The Book of Kells, they are both known for their design work. The colors from these books are ever present in plants and sacred spaces.
- Blue representing the sky, healing & positive energy
- Green representing nature, restfulness, fertility & growth
- Purple representing the ethereal, mindful awareness & calming
- Red representing intensity, inner-strength & a boost of energy
- Orange representing fire, moving forward & socializing
- Gold representing the sun, protection & knowledge
- Yellow representing intuition, illumination & new ideas
In the enlightenment period Sir Isaac Newton used a prism in 1666 to discovering the electromagnetic spectrum. The prism showed sunlight is not one color but many. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
In the 1940’s Max Luscher developed the field of color psychology. His color therapy used red, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, gray and black. He could tell a person’s stress level and psychological make-up by the order the color chosen or if paired with another color.
Edgar Cayce believed that everything is energy and radiates a heat signature that produces colors. He could the energetic colors around people, and he believed each color represented an aspect of that person.
Nature and color have long been a part of healing. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians believed in healing with colors. In the western world these beliefs are rapidly finding their way into sacred spaces. Horticultural therapy is one modularity being integrated into hospital and healing spaces. Forest bathing, used by the Japanese has gain popularity. A terrific practice, I would hike in the winter too many great natural pools, coming away refreshed.
Each of us have experience the impact of color. The sudden smile, finding yourself in a reflective mode, feeling cool on a hot day or warmth on a cool winter’s day. In a sacred space they work hard, often taking us out of our immediate thoughts. Changing our mood, provide healing or joy and challenging our observation skills.
Color and direction play a role in designing spaces. Indigenous tribes have great insight into working with nature and individuals. Feng Shui is well-known for using these attributes in designing or restoring sacred spaces. The combination can create a relaxing corner for reflecting, make small spaces seem larger, showcase a particular spot or bring areas together.
General tips on color in a sacred space:
- Show your personality
- When buying plants, especially annuals – look at them as you do with paint swatches. Notice the slightest change in shade, structure or texture. Even containers play a role. I always tell my clients to take photos of their favorite combinations. It is not unusual to use the same plants year after year as long as they are available.
- Using the color wheel and understanding each neighbor’s relationship always help. No worries if you want to use either end of the spectrum and put them in the same container. Go for it.
- The cool colors of blue, purple, green or white reflect light and stand out in shade or cloudy skies. These colors create depth.
- The hot colors of red, orange, and yellow jump out. Highly recommended for sunny locations. These colors make spaces look closer, a great use for folks who are house bound.
- The warm colors of black, brown, copper, or pink can make a space sizzle and come alive. They are often the supportive cast, letting the other colors shine about them.
- As I have matured in my planting skills and continual downsizing, I have appreciated the technique of repeating the same color in my containers and for clients. That quiet flow they create. Increasing what the eye and mind see.
- I love texture and color and many a winter and spring container is based on texture.
- Do use your art pieces?
Most importantly this is your sacred space, use the colors that work for you. Change when you want to and enjoy.