March 30, 2006
Constance Casey in Slate:
Like a lot of beautiful things, tulips inspire malfeasance, and they take a lot of work to maintain. Careless people pick them. Mice, rats, voles, skunks, squirrels, and deer eat them. Even in Holland, they need a lot of human intervention to thrive, because they'd rather be on a rocky mountainside in Turkey, where they come from.
My favorite tulip story comes from The Year of Reading Proust, a memoir by Wesleyan University professor Phyllis Rose. A few years ago, Rose looked out the window of her on-campus house and saw an undergraduate picking a bouquet of tulips from her yard and carrying the flowers uphill toward the dorms. By the time she tracked the tulip thief down, she'd attracted a small crowd.
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