Gardeners World ep.7 2016


  Monty gets his new vegetable garden underway by making raised beds. He also offers advice on how to cut back herbs.
  Tulips arrived in England in the late 1570’s.  Their genetic instability meant that the flowers were immensely variable and as a result quickly became highly sought after.

Gardeners World ep.7 2016
Gardeners World ep.7 2016

Unknown to people at the time tulips also suffered a remarkable effect caused by a virus, which resulted in unpredictably different colour stripes on the flower petals.  This created a huge demand for these ‘rare’ colour stripes, particularly in Holland where the spoils of the Dutch spice trade meant that the rich had so much money they had begun to run out of things to spend it on!

The resulting frenzy became known as ‘Tulipomania’ where people speculated on tulip bulbs, buying and selling many times at ever-increasing prices, the price of the bulbs often tripling by the day.  And this was before anyone had even seen what the flowers would be like!

Tulipomania reached its height in 1637 when one bulb of ‘Semper Augustus’, a white flower with red flames, sold for 20,000 florins, the equivalent of 24 skilled workers’ annual salary.

The market collapsed abruptly in 1637 but tulips remained popular despite the crash. However, they never again reached such frenzied heights.Nick Bailey marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare when he investigates the fact and the fiction behind the bard's potions and poisons at the Chelsea Physic Garden, and we visit Pashley Manor in east Sussex to unearth the story behind the planting of over 25,000 tulips.