11 November 2016

In the tulip kingdom (spring in the Botanical Garden in Balchik) - TOUR 28 / April 2013

A tulip – what do we know about this wonderful flower creature?

Its existence is mentioned in the old Persian literature in the 9-th century. It appeared on our continent (Europe) hardly in the 16-th century, transferred from Mala Asia.

The Bulgarian name ‘lale’ comes from Turkish and Persian, and the latin ‘tulipa’ – from the Turkish word ‘tyurban’.

The biggest natural location and variety are in the Pamir Mountains, The Hindu Kush and The Tian Shan Mountain. A few thousand sorts of tulips have been gained for over 400 years.

Many of us associate tulips with Netherlands as the flower is a symbol of this country, and it is the biggest producer of tulips.

It is considered that the beautiful flower appeared in Netherlands due to Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, (1522-1592), a Flemish nobleman who lived in Istanbul from 1556 to 1562 as the Austrian emperor Ferdinand’s ambassador in the court of Suleiman II The Magnificent. His passion for herbs and plants made him send tulip bulbs from the Ottoman Empire to his friend Charles de l'Écluse in 1554. Charles de l'Écluse managed to grow and naturalise the plants in the Lowlands.

The tulip popularity spread and it was grown more seriously in the united provinces (nowadays Netherlands) in about 1593. Its history is stunning but I can’t help mentioning at least one curious fact such as ‘the pearl of spring’ attracted great interest in Netherlands that turned into a mania (tulipomaniа, tulpomanie, tulpenwoede, tulpengekte and bollengekte) that reached its peak in the spring of 1637. Then single tulip bulbs were sold at a price 10 times higher than a qualified master craftsman’s annual income......

So today we can observe patterns, different leaf shapes and a variety of colours.

According to Kazakh’s epos happiness is hidden in the tulip bud. No one could open the beautiful corolla for a long time. A little child saw it once. The child ran to the meadow joyfully and touched the flower with the tender small hands. The bud opened and great human happiness flew on earth.
There is a superstition in Uzbekistan that the sky blue tulip which grows and blossoms in the mountains brings luck

Since last year I have been thinking of visiting the Botanical Garden in Balchik in spring. In the beginning of April I started checking when the right moment for achieving the goal would come. And ‘voilà’, after short hesitations at the end of the month we went together to the flowers paradise.
The weather was extremely pleasant for a walk.
We were some of the first visitors, not to say the first ones, a condition that was enough to ‘enjoy’ the smorgasbord, undisturbed. The various sorts and colours, ordered in groups and flower beds cast a spell on us. What variety, what palette?!

After a long, long, long rotation around every sort as it is seen in the quantity of photos we went to the other parts of the garden.
A little farther some merry pansies in many colours met us in the ‘Divine Garden’.

It was the fascicular daisies (Bellis) turn.

Flowers and blossomed trees fragrance was floating everywhere.

Spring was at its best.
I had visited the place before but that time I was dazed.
We couldn’t possibly miss the rest of the complex. And the history of the site was good. We went to the Palace area. The Palace complex and its garden (the botanical one) were created by the Romanian queen Marie of Edinburgh (Maria Alexandrina Victoria de Edinburg (1875 – 1938) who was an heir of two big aristocratic families by birth – the British king’s family and the Russian imperial family, and at the age of seventeen she married Ferdinand – the Romanian king Karol I’s nephew. A lovely spot that actually played the role of a summer residence of the royal family but it meant something more to its creator which she wrote about: ‘That was my return to the sea – my first love.’
At that moment ‘The quiet nest’ villa (the personal king’s residence) was rather bleak but still charming in the background of the garden and the sea.

The beautiful lilies in the lakes were missing but in a while we will come to glance at them and the roses.

The statue of Virgin Marie – the guiding star of the seas, a witness of many events and different fates, was looking at the horizon where the sea and the sky became one. 
We sat on the famous marble throne that had travelled thousands of miles from Florence and turned into Maria’s favourite place where she secluded herself, looked steadily at the sea expanse and enjoyed it.

We stopped at the ‘Sighs Bridge’ for a moment.

The water was falling down and making a beautiful and noisy waterfall.

The stone benches under the biggest Balkan magnolia tree attracted people under its shadow.

A group of photographers were taking photos of models who I avoided tactically 

and the alley after it led us to ‘Stella Maris’ chapel – ‘A Sea Star’, hidden under the branches of big trees.

The water from both springs was running through channels, falling down as waterfalls and pouring in cascades.

As if we came into a fairy kingdom of flowers and water.
The whole tour took us to another period, modernized by the abundance of species and an explosion of colours, especially the tulips.
Ah, those tulips!!! They were the top hit of that spring! I couldn’t take my eyes off them! I hardly left.
A breathtaking view that has remained on my mind forever!
You must visit the Botanical Garden in spring!
I hope I have succeeded in telling you what I saw and felt on that day!

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