By Kim Jin-heon

A few years ago, I came across a beautiful tulip garden made by the Gurye Agricultural Technology Center in South Jeolla Province. The garden was decorated with various kinds of beautiful flowers on a big tower and in a field in early spring. With the mind to take to heart the beautiful scenery, I took photos of the scene and kept them for a few years.

People said that the Dutch during the 17th?century had "tulip mania." But as soon as I saw the garden, I was also addicted to the beauty.

One of the reasons that the tulip became popular was thanks to Turkish merchants during the 11th century, as they imported spices from India via the Silk Road. One day, on the way home, they picked a bunch of wild tulip bulbs growing in the Pamir Plateau and sold them to noblemen in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

As the noblemen recognized the tulip's beauty, they began to spread its bulbs across the whole city, improving the species of the plant.

In those days, the Islamic Empire's Sultans (kings), who were impressed by the beauty of tulips, ordered their image to be engraved on all mosques. Soon, palaces and plazas were also engraved with them. Moreover, these flowers were the main theme of literature and arts for hundreds of years, becoming a symbol of Islam.

Tulip experts improved more than 2,000 kinds of tulips until the 1700s. Kings, creating management law for tulips, also ordered their subjects to collect other tulip species from all over the world. Since the 16th?century, aristocrats, noblemen, or rich merchants in Holland also began to plant various tulips in their gardens.

As the country was made rich and powerful thanks to maritime trade, they began to sell tulip bulbs as tradeable objects. A species known as "Broken Tulip" was as expensive as a large apartment. However, as this bubble economy eventually collapsed.

With the topic of the Broken Tulip, French novelist, Alexandre Dumas, during 19th century, wrote a novel titled "Tulipe Noire," where he describes intrigue and a love story, specifically relating to Dutch society during the 17th?century through the tulip.

Today, the flower is still very popular in the country. One tulip shop is even 180 times the size of a soccer field and sells nineteen million flowers every day.

Citizens of the Netherlands live in uncomfortable conditions with frequent winds, rainfall and the humidity of the oceanic climate during the winter season. The tulips that will bloom in early spring inspire them to endure their discomfort knowing they will make their hearts flutter. Today, the flower is also deeply rooted in the culture of Turkey.

In Darwin's evolutionary theory, animals or plants have evolved by their variation, diverse species, and competition. It's a process of natural selection.

Scientists say that a tulip spends millions of years increasing its species with over a thousand kinds, but the fancies of humans can lead a species like a tulip to increase with thousands of hybrids within just several hundred years.

Like the tulip, flowers such as the rose or lily, also have been improved because of the fancies of humans and became an important part of people's lives. Evolution happens by itself through nature, but may sometimes occur more abruptly upon intervention by humans.


Kim Jin-heon (shinykim60@hanmail.net) is?a retired English teacher who published a book titled, "Flower Is Flower."



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A bunch of tulips

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06.12.2022
By Kim Jin-heon

A few years ago, I came across a beautiful tulip garden made by the Gurye Agricultural Technology Center in South Jeolla Province. The garden was decorated with various kinds of beautiful flowers on a big tower and in a field in early spring. With the mind to take to heart the beautiful scenery, I took photos of the scene and kept them for a few years.

People said that the Dutch during the 17th?century had "tulip mania." But as soon as I saw the garden, I was also addicted to the beauty.

One of the reasons that the tulip became popular was thanks to Turkish merchants during the 11th century, as they imported spices from India via the Silk Road. One day, on the way home, they picked a bunch of wild tulip bulbs growing in the Pamir Plateau and sold them to noblemen in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

As the noblemen........

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