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To me as someone who really enjoys plants, any plant., one of the funniest aspects of Tulipmania is that tulip itself (I mean the plant) played an important role besides being just beautiful to Dutch eyes. This was so “well played” by the plant that it took about 300 years since then to discover tulip’s conspiracy role. Besides being small and giving few flowers, tulips have in fact a complex life cycle. It takes between 7 and 12 years from tulips to mature and flower when grown from seed. Besides seeds the plant also produces bud clones, or offsets annually, with the “mother bulb” lasting only a few years. When properly cultivated, the “daughter offsets” will become flowering bulbs of their own after one to three years. At those times, tulips were classified by their color and flower shape and the most valued where those that had multicolored flowers, called variegated. These were called Rosen, and among these were the rarest and most coveted of them all, the Bizarden, with yellow or white streaks on red, purple or brown background. The multicolor effects of intricate lines and flame like streaks on its petals made Semper Augustus, red petals with white streaks, the most expensive tulip sold at that time. Now we know that these still popular multicolored effects are a symptom of infection with a type of tulip specific mosaic virus, known as the Tulip breaking virus. It is so called because it “breaks” the single color pattern of the petals. Although the first written records of these fascinating color patterns were first made by Charles de l’ cluse in 1576, it was only in late 1920s that these were attributed to a communicable plant disease caused by a virus. In the early seventeen century Netherlands, people did not know this. The virus affects the plant and propagates due to the fact that the bulb produces offsets. The virus is not transmitted through the seeds. However, besides “breaking” the color pattern of the flowers the virus also weakens the bulb and retards the propagation of offsets. This limited the cultivation of “broken” varieties tremendously as it took longer to obtain them compared to single color tulips. In the end, this contributed to the “broken” varieties high value and demand. Mostly likely, from the time that speculation started until its collapse, in 1637, the actual number of rare “broken” bulbs that changed hands so feverishly may have never increased beyond the original number.
Lilies are also affected by a similar virus which causes the same color breaking patterns. Although, today this virus has a global distribution and its control is quite difficult as it is distributed to plants by aphids, the vast majority of variegated tulips as well as other cultivated flowers are a result of inbreeding and artificial selection. Unfortunately, those seventeen century rare varieties are now extinct and modern day plants infected with the virus are fragile and usually much smaller than healthy plants. The oldest “broken” variety still existing today is the rare Absalon, dating back to 1780, with its gold flames against a dark chocolate brown background. In this case it purple roses for delivery seems that the worsen effects of the virus are in fact benign.
Each family receives a piece of lumber from the tree etched with a small Christmas tree and the year, usually placed somewhere it can be seen. Volunteers on the chosen project usually sign another piece.
The 2014 tree, an 85 foot tall Norway spruce from Danville, Pennsylvania, is being used in five Philadelphia homes still under construction. Chris Clarke, vice president of marketing and communications for Habitat, said projects are selected close to where the annual tree grew, ensuring it’s flowers houston medical center re used close to home.
The partnership between the nonprofit and Tishman Speyer, the company that owns Rockefeller Center, is young compared to the tradition of the tree. Workers at the Rockefeller Center construction site in 1931 took up a collection to buy a Christmas tree, while the first official lighting was held in 1933.
“I’ll say This came from New York,
“‘ Banks said, laughing. “It’s the whipped cream on top of the pie.”
Banks put in 350 hours of work on other Habitat projects, a condition of the organization’s mortgage program. Participants also take classes and meet with financial advisers, learning how to save a certain amount each month and preparing for other tasks that come up during homeownership.
Clarke said the lumber donations don’t save Habitat an enormous amount of money despite the size of the tree each year. Building a house, after all, takes a lot of lumber. But the partnership does help remind people of those without safe or affordable housing, he said.
“It’s an honor to have it placed in my home,” Wilson, a mother of a 19 year old girl and a 9 year old boy, said the day before her Philadelphia home’s dedication ceremony. “We’re a part of such meaningful history.”
“The gift of the tree helps remind people there are a lot of folks who need a hand up,” he said. “The holidays are generally a big time for any nonprofit to raise funds, so we do see a spike and I believe firmly that the story of the tree helps.”
In Lisa Wilson’s newly built Philadelphia home, both pieces are visible under her basement stairs.
Recipients of lumber from the 2015 tree, grown in upstate New York and weighing 10 tons, haven’t been determined yet. Previous homes have been in Pascagoula, Mississippi; New York City; Stamford, Connecticut; and Newburgh, New York.
Pamela Banks, a 49 year old mother of seven, said she didn’t know anything about the tree’s history until Habitat officials at the Philadelphia affiliate delivered news that her house would include some of the 2014 lumber. She’s hoping the lumber will be used somewhere visible, letting her point it out to visitors after the house is completed this spring.
Banks is looking forward to a basement where her 8 and 10 year old sons can play, bedrooms where they can study undisturbed and enough living space to host her five grown daughters and their families for big meals.
Even the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has to come down after the holidays.
For the ninth year in a row, the tree set aglow during a televised ceremony and visited by an estimated 500,000 people each year, will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity projects.
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27 Nov 2016
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