amy merrickflowers

meditations on a tulip

by amym

I’m so excited and honored that Grace asked me (your ever faithful and loyal Amy M. of Living In) to fill in for the ladies of Studio Choo this afternoon! As an antidote for New York’s latest snowstorm, we’re going to practice what I lovingly call flower meditation as a cure-all for the winter doldrums.

Now gaze into the tulips. Take deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Close your eyes and picture tulips growing up out of the snow. Now what was that we were saying about Seasonal Affective Disorder? I can’t recall.

Parrot tulips, like the orange one above, are beyond-the-pale stunning. Honeymoon, the white-fringed style, is so sweet and romantic I can hardly stand it. When mixed with heirloom daffodils, narcissus and little blue muscari, nothing could possibly shout SPRING any louder. Which, of course, is the only thing worthy of shouting when there are two feet of snow outside your front door.

Of all the flowers available in the cold months, the tulip reigns supreme. They have been the subject of obsession, radical speculation, unbelievable demand and the pinnacle of extravagant living. Okay, that was in the 17th century but moving right along. I think it’s high time for a bit more tulip mania in our everyday lives.

Even if you take home the classic garden-variety tulip, the magic is in what they become when haphazardly piled in a spare jar on the kitchen counter. They grow and twist toward the light, even after being cut. Their necks crane down and their petals open, and it becomes immediately clear why every painter has painted a still life of them. Tulips are grace and natural expression personified.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post and Amy’s tips for tulip care!

Tulips make the best of the best cut flowers when you treat them right. They’re hardy, constantly change and look especially painterly a day or two past their prime. Two of the liber star variety above with a little tweedia and muscari make for an easy and achievable arrangement in a bud vase.

After buying a bunch, you can choose to keep them wrapped tightly to absorb water for an hour while upright (in floral speak, we call this cuffing), or you can go for a romantic, Dutch-master style droop and unwrap them right away. Tepid water will encourage them to open faster. You’ll need to check and change the water frequently because tulips are heavy drinkers, something not unfamiliar to many of us trying to stay warm when it’s below freezing outside. But, of course, all in moderation, and we’ll make it through winter, side by side. — Amy M.

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