I don’t know about you but I love being led by the Seasons and I am really enjoying Spring this year. I am filled with such cheer when I see banks of bright sunny daffodils; taking a woodland walk and drawing in deep breathes of the hyacinth like scent of bluebells and of course I love brightening my kitchen table with a vase of messy tulips.
I just love tulips as they are such easy garden bulbs to grow. They have a long period of interest flowering from March to May with the species tulips starting things off in March. There are so many colours and shapes to choose from and most bulbs are pretty cheap so they are a quick way of ringing the changes and trying different colour combinations in your home and garden. If you are looking for some ideas Michelle writes about tulips and other garden bulbs in her blog Bulbs -the perfect plant and will be running her popular Easy bulbs for spring containers workshop on the 12th and 19th September 2019.
For my Spring posy workshops I grow 6 different varieties which I think go particularly well together. I wouldn’t be without Evergreen which looks an unimpressive plain green globe in the field but is a very useful foil for other tulips in any arrangement. Another firm favourite is Brown Sugar, which I always invite my students to smell as it has a sweet scent, unusual for a tulip.
For me scent is absolutely essential in any arrangement. However, it is colour combinations I get most excited about. I realise now that I am always drawn to harmonies of colour, these slight tonal differences when grouped together really bring out the character of a colour. And colour is so evocative, you can create a soft, mellow mood with a vintage vibe or conjuring up a more historic feel of those mesmerising botanical masterpieces from 17th Century. In fact tulips are the flower that introduced me to flower arranging; as an art history student I loved the work of Rachel Ruysch painting in 17th c Holland. You will know the Dutch still life style I expect, her minute observation of all the materials she painted combined with an asymmetrical composition against a dramatic dark background I just adore. It has been a big influence on my floral style.
As you know our aim is to enable people to enjoy the beauty of nature in their homes and gardens so If you want to enjoy some tulips in your home here are some top tips. Choose your vase carefully as tulip are top heavy and continue to grow even after they are cut that they often flop about. There are ways of straightening your tulips that work for a while but I would suggest you embrace their nature and enjoy watching how they twist and turn as they gradually open and then start to fade. Choose a vase that is long and when you cut your tulips leave just a third of the bunch above the neck allowing the vase to do most of the supporting. And, unlike other cut flowers have only a 1/3 vase filled with fresh water.