A spring ‘garden note’ sent in from Alison Jones, award-winning botanical artist and member of Artworks:
Having been inspired by the colours and drama of parrot tulips growing in my garden, I realised I had a fascination for these varieties not just because of their freakish beauty but because of their unique history: the meteoric rise in value during the 16th and 17th century in the Netherlands meant that the parrot tulips shown here were very often used as currency.
Parrot Tulips, Tulipa Estella Rijnveld, growing in Alison Jones’ garden
Fortunes were made and lost with peoples’ livelihoods at stake. Little did the Dutch in those days know that it was a virus transmitted by the aphid which was responsible for the extraordinary shapes and colour patterns.
So even a virus carrying parasite can cause the creation of amazing new varieties of the tulip.
Purple Parrot Tulips by Alison Jones, 40cm x 35cm, watercolour on paper.
Alison Jones is also a founder member of the Iceni Botanical Artists.