This gift book tells the story of the tulip, from its origins as a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the world-wide phenomena it is today. The author traces the cultural significance of the tulip: how it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behaviour, mirrors economic booms and busts, and plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution. Roaming through Asia, India, Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the author tells how the tulip arrived from Turkey and took the whole of Western Europe by storm. In the petals of the exquisite English florists' tulips, still exhibited in competition by members of the Wakefield Tulip Society in Yorkshire, runs the blood of flowers first grown by John Evelyn in the middle of the 17th century. Illustrated from a wide range of sources, the book also features descriptions of 80 wild-species tulips and several hundred garden varieties. This limited special edition is numbered and signed.
Anna Pavord is the gardening correspondent for the Independent, and the author of The Flowering Years and Gardening Companion. She lives in Dorset, England.