Saturday, September 30, 2006


Or, What Do These Posh Paints Have In Common?

By Ovid Publius Hadweenzic, Ph.D. (a Pleasant, hornswoggling Dude), currently the Dean of Dross & Drop-A-Hint at the widely acclaimed Academy of My-Way-Or-The-Highway, (also known as a nexus of noteworthy nincompoops and ninnyhammers situated somewhere between Old Sweat and Pugwash, Ontario, Canada if truth be told).

There is something to be said for owning a mortarboard and long-flowing black gown, it comes in handy at Halloween, and it keeps students guessing as to what quixotic questions are likely to appear on their next exam.

What do “Ruby Red” and “Green With Envy” enjoy in common, besides being the merry monikers of perhaps a few painted ladies from Shady Lane?

Speaking of tromping about in the hollyfuds, today’s topic is devoted to getting lost on a garden path and asking Dorothy for directions to the nearest Yellow Brick Road.

All of which leads to answering the question about "Ruby Red" and Friends including “Queen of the Night”, not to mention “Audrey Hepburn” and “Hilary Clinton”.

To be more precise, these fetching floral names refer not to any flower, but the third one in popularity behind roses and carnations. Wallflowers will be relieved to know that we're talking about none other than the humble tulip.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are more than 3,000 names of tulips recorded on the “Classified List & Register of Tulip Names” published annually in the Netherlands by the Royal General Association of Bulb Growers.

(Note: Before the establishment of the Register in the late 1920’s, it is said that some tulips were a tad ticked off …as officially they remained nameless, except for some tantalizing Turkish tulips named “Big Scarlet”, “Diamond Envy", “Increaser of Joy”, “Light of the Mind” and “Star of Felicity”. )

Green thumb types will be pleased to learn that titillating tulips titles reflect a rather broad bevy of bodacious bulbs and colorful companion kits on the market including: “Blushing Ballerina”, “Sealed With a Kiss”, and “Dainty Dancers”.

On the other hand, there are some top-notch tulips named after distinguished European women of history include among others: Anne Frank, Anna Pavlova, Jeanne d’Arc, Madame Curie, Madame de Pompadour, Maria Montessori, George Sand, Margo Fonteyn, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary.

Those interested in trivial tulip tales will probably be more interested in the fact that “tulipmania” began in the early 17th century in which gardeners, investors, merchants, and speculators in Europe paid exorbitant sums of money for special (often fragmented-colored) tulip bulbs. The mulch madness finally ended abruptly in 1637 when the supply caught up with the demand…which may be why in the late 20th century some eccentric fellow named 'Tiny Tim' who couldn’t hold a tune made a blinking fortune by singing, “Tip toe through the tulips”.

Hint: those who don't know the difference between a light bulb, a turnip bulb and a tulip bulb, should probably poke around and find another pondering pool to exercise their nitwit neurons.


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