Istanbul municipality pours iced water on early-flowering tulips before festival
Fatma Aksu – ISTANBUL
Hürriyet PhotoTeams from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s (İBB) Parks, Gardens and Green Areas Department have been pouring iced water on some 30 million tulip bulbs around the city to prevent early blossoming, as they are planned to come out for Istanbul’s famous Tulip Festival in April.
Speaking at a “gardening class” lecture organized by the Ağaç Corporation, a subsidiary of the municipality, the department’s head, İhsan Şimşek, said their job was not as easy as it seemed.
“Planting one or two bulbs may seem like a hobby to you, but we plant 50 million flowers and 30 million tulips a year. This is like a phobia to us rather than a hobby... For example, this year due to the high temperatures, tulips are blossoming early. The Tulip Festival is in April. Therefore, we pour iced water on them to prevent early blossoms. In another year, you pour hot water to make them blossom earlier. These are the tricks of the work,” he said.
Şimşek also said people had become more conscious about planting.
“The quality of citizens’ complaints has changed. They do not say, ‘You cut our trees, slaughtered them.’ They say, ‘You should have cut it from its third joint.’ When I ask, ‘How do you know about this?’ they say, ‘From gardening classes,’” said Şimşek.
The municipality has been organizing the Tulip Festival every spring since 2006.
Tulips play a special role in Ottoman history, even inspiring the name of an era in the empire’s history. The Tulip Era between 1718 and 1730 is widely known as one of the most prosperous times of the Ottoman Empire, when tulips were planted all over Istanbul as a symbol of wealth.