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How to do Tulips

Another in our series of seasonal flower stories; horticultural porn if you will. This time, how to do tulips in unlikely vessels.

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The Flowers

James from local flower farm Stem and Green needs no introduction. At the end of last Summer he delivered buckets of the most beautiful dahlias (displays of which we photographed madly and about which we wrote effusively). This week he made a Springtime delivery of his beautiful Hampshire grown tulips. And we feel compelled to give them some dahlia sized attention. Originally native to central Asia (imagine these as wildflowers by the roadside in Kazakhstan), tulips were introduced to Western Europe in the 16th Century. By the 17th Century Tulipmania had hit the Netherlands (booming and crashing before the century was out) but the flowers have remained popular (albeit not quite so fanatically) since then and seem to be enjoying something of a dahlia shaped resurgence.

The Unlikely Vessels

What better use for an American milk glass salt shaker than a tiny vase? Who knew a Hay Sowden tin could make such a pretty display? Why should a Falcon utensil pot be used for utensils? Why use a glass tumbler for a gin and tonic (OK. This one, I admit, might be better served for your yard arm drinks)? Who says a teapot is just for your afternoon Earl Grey? Tealight holders for tealights? Whatever next? We ransacked the shop shelves and the stockroom for all manner of Constance Spry possibilities. A note of caution: if you’re using a vessel not intended for water carrying (like the Hay tin), make sure you put the flowers into something which will fit inside and safely hold liquid (I think we used a small drinking glass). And because tulips are the stars of this particular show, we kept the colour palette simple: just a mix of green, white and grey.

The Unlikely Vessels

What better use for an American milk glass salt shaker than a tiny vase? Who knew a Hay Sowden tin could make such a pretty display? Why should a Falcon utensil pot be used for utensils? Why use a glass tumbler for a gin and tonic (OK. This one, I admit, might be better served for your yard arm drinks)? Who says a teapot is just for your afternoon Earl Grey? Tealight holders for tealights? Whatever next? We ransacked the shop shelves and the stockroom for all manner of Constance Spry possibilities. A note of caution: if you’re using a vessel not intended for water carrying (like the Hay tin), make sure you put the flowers into something which will fit inside and safely hold liquid (I think we used a small drinking glass). And because tulips are the stars of this particular show, we kept the colour palette simple: just a mix of green, white and grey.

The Arrangements

I’m not sure we can quite claim ‘arrangements’ as the term. Jodie, putting to use last year’s Sicilian garden training, snipped and cut and put it all together but it’s all (an entirely deliberately) a little thrown together. The most designed element of the process was putting the flowers in friendly colour groups:

Pastel Perfection

 

Just the softest colours here. A group of the prettiest pinks and cream and yellows and apricots, in a mint coloured tin. This would be perfect for a bedside table arrangement. Imagine the delight of your weekend guest.

Ruby Reds

 

We used the Arcucci tumblers in soft green as the perfect foil for the deep pinks and reds of this bunch. Make up multiple tumblers full and these would work on the mantelpiece, coffee table and side tables of your sitting room.

Minimal Elegance

 

All white blooms in a Hay vase (the only vessel actually designed for the purpose) and bringing a little drama to the proceedings.

Springtime Yellow

 

All the yellows (tulips here are almost mimicking daffodils). We used a Falcon teapot and this is just the thing for a little sunshine at the kitchen table.

Madness and Mayhem

 

Where wouldn’t you put this Mosser jug of beautiful blooms? We’re thinking the table in the hall to welcome everyone in.

Cut Tulip Care

 

These are thirsty! Keep topping up the vase with cold water then every couple of days, change the water completely. And keep them in the coolest location possible.

How to Grow Tulips

James, ever helpful, has given us a few insights into growing them. He grows tulips as annuals, as over time older bulbs develop shorter stemmed plants. He plants bulbs in trenches, 2 bulb lengths deep. They are laid out like eggs in a box, close but not touching. They like well drained soil (add a layer of sand if you live on clay) but they appreciate a drink if it’s dry.

Try it Yourself

Check out all our beautiful vases and vessels and pots and jugs here:

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