Monday, 12 October 2015

Floriade and Tulip Top Gardens


Tulips came to Europe in the mid-1500s. Native to the Ottoman Empire, the first tulip bulb was sent to Vienna in 1554 from where the flowers found their way to Amsterdam and into history - economic history that is, not botanical. You see tulips were the cause of the world's first recorded financial bubble - and it was a big one.

The Dutch literally went crazy over tulips and the crazier they went the higher prices for tulip bulbs became. In about 1624 an Amsterdam man declined an offer of 3,000 guilders for one bulb. It is said that not long afterwards, Rembrandt received about half that sum for his now famous painting The Nightwatch. 

By the peak of tulip mania a single bulb was worth about ten times the annual income of a craftsman.* Today, the average annual income in Australia is about Aus$80,000*. Assuming a 17th Century craftsman's income to be the equivalent of today's average income then at the height of the Dutch tulip bubble each bulb was worth a staggering Aus$800,000.  Floriade, the tulip festival held in Canberra each year in Spring has floral displays of more than a million flowers. Approximately 60-70% are tulips. At the height of the Dutch tulip boom, Floriade's tulip bulbs would have been worth a whopping $48 billion. Someone tell Malcolm Turnbull -  I may have just solved our National Debt problem.



Tulips lining the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin

Don't get too excited though. Sometime in the winter of 1636/1637 the tulip bubble burst. Almost overnight vendors rushed to sell, buyers disappeared and auctions were held without a single bid. Once valuable bulbs became almost worthless. It was probably a good thing for today's gardeners. Somehow I can't see the A.C.T Government forking out $48 billion for Floriade, let alone keeping admission absolutely free for what is one of the loveliest tulip festivals in Australia.

Apart from its fascinating role in the history of finance there isn't a lot I can say about tulips so just settle back and enjoy the flowers.

Photos from Floriade 2015













Tulip Top Gardens


Tulip Top Gardens is a privately owned garden in New South Wales just outside the Australian Captial Territory.  On our recent trip to Canberra, David and I visited both Floriade and Tulip Top Gardens. While Floriade is far better known, Tulip Top Gardens is well worth visiting. Although there is a charge for admission, the 10-acre garden is much less commercial than Floriade and, in our view, prettier because the flower gardens are interspersed with dozens of magnificent blossom trees. 

Photos from Tulip Top Gardens 2015








Tips and Tricks and Things to Know 

Floriade - 

  • One of the best things about Floriade is it is free.
  • Floriade runs from 12 September until 11 October in 2015 so if you want to see it this year you will have to hurry but don't worry Floriade is in its 28th year and planning for next year is already well underway.
  • Floriade is held in Commonwealth Park, a few minute's walk from the city centre. 
  • There is plenty of parking but expect to walk a bit of a distance from your car. 
  • Apart from the tulips and other flowers Floriade has children's amusement rides, art and craft stalls, pop-up cafes and all the atmosphere of a country fair.

Tulip Top Gardens  - 

  • 2015 admission prices for Tulip Top Gardens were $15/adults and $14/Concession Card holders.
  • Tulip Top Gardens opened on 12 September in 2015 and will close on 11 October.
  • Tulip Top Gardens are just off the Federal Highway about 15 minutes north of Canberra. There is a large sign at the turn-off.
  • There is plenty of parking.
  • There is a basic cafe serving free tea and coffee as well as a pancakeria serving Dutch pancakes. 
Have you been to a tulip festival in Australia or around the world?

* The Dutch "Tulip Mania" Bubble (aka"Tulipomania") by Jesse Colombo 
Average annual income is taken from the figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its release dated 13 August 2015

Link up with Travel Photo Mondays


48 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. They were absolutely lovely in real life too.

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  2. The colours are absolutely stunning Lyn. Thanks for sharing as it's an event I would not really ever get to.

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    1. We have family in Canberra but this is the first time we have been there for a long time just to act like tourists.

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  3. Your photos are lovely - popping with colour. Aren't tulips the most gorgeous flowers? My Mum loved them so much, she had them in her wedding bouquet!

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    1. They are beautiful flowers. I grow them every year with varied success. Sometimes they grow really well but other times the possums eat them before they flower - oh well!

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  4. What a fascinating history of the beautiful tulips. We regularly go to Floriade because of family in Canberra, and are never ever disappointed by how very spectacular it is. I know we will be there next year.

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    1. We hadn't been for a long time but we may make it a regular thing in the years to come. We also have family in Canberra.

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  5. I keep telling myself one year I am going to make it to Floriade... maybe next year. Thank you for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard Lyn, such lovely photos.

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    1. It really is worth the effort and if you watch out for my next post (Thursday - probably) I will tell you where, near Canberra, you are almost guaranteed to see platypus in the bush.

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  6. gorgeous! I heard about some tulip-driven financial boom and bust in the Netherlands but that seems so far-fetched today. How nice that you have tulip festivals in Australia! I only knew about the ones in The Netherlands.

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    1. We went to the Netherlandsfestival once many years ago - Keukenhof. It was just stunning but the tulips are just as lovely in Australia. They are not native to either country.

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  7. Very interesting facts about the history of tulips in Europe! I didn't know any of these. Isn't it interesting to see how crazy people can become over something so common as a flower? I love tulips and they seem to be doing better in Europe than any other place in the world.

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    1. There are entire books written on the Tulip bubble. When the bubble happened they were very rare in Europe and very different to almost any other flower - even so it seems ridiculous in hindsight for them to be worth so much.

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  8. Tulip shows in Australia? Well I'll be! I have seen tulips in Amsterdam, I have seen them in Central Park, New York and Stanley Park in Vancouver, but never in those proportions in Australia. They are by far my most favourite flower so I think I may have to visit one of these shows. Gorgeous photos!

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    1. It often comes as a surprise to people around the world that we have quite varied climates here. Australia is a huge country, geographically. There is plenty of room for deserts and tulips - lol.

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  9. It's so great to see all of these flowers in bloom, just as it's starting to get so cold out here in Ontario, Canada. I love tulips! :) Thanks for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust!

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    1. Come to Aus - it is warming up here. Today in Sydney it was just gorgeous.

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  10. Floriade looks wonderful. I really must plan a trip to Canberra so I'll have to time it so I can see the tulips! If you're ever in Amsterdam between March and May, make the trip out of the city to the wonderful tulip display at Keukenhof. It really is stunning!

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    1. We went to Keukenhof many, many years ago. It is stunning. We were on a driving holiday in Holland and had never heard of Keukenhof but we kept seeing signs to it so we decided to investigate. We are so glad we did. It was right in the tulip season and Keukenhof was magnificent.

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  11. I love tulips but didn't know any of the history about them. Very interesting. Your photos are beautiful. Living in a part of the world when fall is settling in, flowers will soon fade, and leaves are falling from trees, it is a delight to see all the splashes of spring colour.

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    1. Isn't that one of the great things about blogging - you can feel in touch with the other side of the world.

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  12. What great pictures! We visited the Keukenhof gardens in Amsterdam and were blown away by its beauty. I'd love the opportunity to visit Floriade~

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    1. We went to Keukenhof many, many years ago and it was just lovely. Canberra is a lot closer though - lol.

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  13. I was fascinated by this and put it in the "you learn something new every day" category! I had no idea there was such a gorgeous tulip festival in Australia. I've been plotting to see them in Holland but this is a fun option. Your pictures are stunning. I'm going to put Floriade on my list of places to visit.

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    1. There are quite a few tulip festivals here. Australia may be mostly dry, barren outback but the coastal strip is quite lush. Canberra is usually dry but they manage to grow the tulips beautifully and this year the surrounding countryside was unusually green.

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  14. Our tulips always precede our cherry blossoms, it looks like yours overlap? very pretty views are we are gearing up for winter in the northeast US.

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    1. As you head into winter we head into summer. I would love to see the US in winter, we only ever visit in the warmer months - I don't think D could cope with snow all over the roads.

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  15. I attended the Floriade in Holland a few years back. I didn't know there was one in New South Wales as well. Here's my story http://berkeleyandbeyond.com/Way-Beyond/Travel-Articles/Abroad/Tulip-Time/tulip-time.html

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    1. They have them in quite a few areas here - even Western Australia I think.

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  16. Fascinating history, and gorgeous photos of lovely blossoms.
    I hate to be piggish since we're just entering autumn, but I envy your gorgeous springtime!

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    1. Oh but you have the autumn colours - which are just lovely.

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  17. Great to see Spring bursting forth down under just as Fall sets in here. Thanks.

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    1. Lucky we are on two different sides of the world otherwise it might be a worry - lol.

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  18. Is there anything happier than a springtime tulip display? Floriade reminds me of Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan, close to where I was raised. Of course, it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere's spring in May, but still. Just lovely. :)

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    1. We went to Holland, Michigan, only last year. It was lovely. I even wrote a blog post about it -
      http://www.thetravellinglindfields.com/2014/07/a-little-bit-of-holland-in-michigan.html

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  19. In WA we have a tulip festival at Aralun. Whilst picturesque, it is nothing compared to what I have seen of Floriade on "Better Homes and Gardens".

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    1. I saw a blog post recently on the W.A tulip festival but I can't remember who wrote it. The tulips looked lovely there too.

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  20. I never knew there was such a gorgeous tulip festival in Canberra! Every Australian travel guide I read made Canberra sound like an awfully boring place that we would all just hop on a plane and from from Sydney to Melbourne (or vice versa). We have something similar called Tulip Mania in Singapore, at Gardens by the Bay. But that is kind of small in comparison. #wednesdaywanderlust

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    1. Canberra is much more interesting than Australians admit. Knocking it seems to be a national sport - probably because that is where our politicians spend much of their time. If you watch out for my next one or two blog posts I will be writing about other things in Canberra well worth visiting the place for.

      David and I visited Singapore last year and went to the Gardens by the Bay - the metal palm trees are just amazing.

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  21. Wow what a stunning display! Tulips are my absolute favourite flowers! :-)

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    1. But would you pay 3,000 guilders for one - lol!

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  22. Just fabulous those displays. Such a well behaved flower to, a favourite of my mother in law who has since passed away. Oma visited us here in Perth when Araluen botanical gardens had their tulip display x

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    1. Well-behaved is not an adjective I would attach to a flower - but I see what you mean. They are very well-behaved when you think about it.

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  23. I have been to the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands and it was just incredible. I'd love to get to Floriade one year.
    Thanks for linking up #wednesdaywanderlust

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    1. We went to Keukenhof so many years ago we hadn't even heard of it. We were on a driving trip through Holland and just followed some signs. It was stunning but I'm not sure I would love it so much that it is so popular and, no doubt, crowded.

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  24. I would love to walk amongst all that loveliness. Both Floriade and Top Tulip Garden are a beautiful riot of color that you captured wonderfully in your photos. It's too hot and dry where I am in Texas for anything like that. And I can totally see my mom paying ridiculous amounts of money for tulips. She loves both flowers and status symbols.

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    1. Haha - if I could I would send your mum a few bulbs for free. We have never been to Texas but it is on our list.

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