meditations on a tulip

by


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.

classiq

Again one of my favorite flowers. They transform the entire room, they are so delictae and beautiful.

sheila

Amy, such a cheery lovely post – tulips are my favourite favourite!! You are so right that they are most inspirational a day or two past their prime. I even love when they are finished and all curled up. (I never want to throw out my tulips.) Thanks for the tips… those parrot tulips are just lush!

Camilla

Loved your comment about tulips being heavy drinkers. It’s nice to see visual beauty coupled with such pretty thoughts!

judith b.

That was passionate! I, too, am a tulip, daffodil, etc lover, waaaaay before spring. I have found that if you harness their drinking habit by keeping the water low and just top up every day, they will stand tall all week! I even love their inky stamens at the very end…
PS The photos are lovely too!

Vanessa Elizabeth

So lovely! I’ve always been a fan of the parrot tulip. I live not so far away from Skagit Valley in Washington and have had the pleasure of visiting some of the tulip farms there. Totally a trip worth taking!

sarah

tulips are my favorite flower. they are salt of the earth flowers that push their heads up through wind, rain and sometimes snow. they are tough and beautiful and that combination is one of the most intriguing. wonderful post amy!

Mallory

The colors in these bouquets are so pretty! One of my close friends is a florist – might have to pay her a visit soon! Flowers are such a great way to brighten up a dreary winter room!

Karyn

I recently watched a documentary about the original tulip mania of the dutch and was amazed at how far it went but looking at the beautiful colors in your photos, I can see how such a thing gets started.

Megs

Thanks for this post! Tulips are my favorite flower by far. I love the hot pink ones with white tips – I don’t know their specific name.

Pistachio

Such a feast for the eyes. I have to get some pretty flowers for the house this weekend. Tulips just make me think of spring.
Cheers!!

Burns

I love all of these! I’ll be rushing out to go get a few to fill my room :) No winter snow here.. but I am still dreaming spring flower dreams

tj

…So lovely! Something about the third photo made me swoon… :o)

…Tulips. *sigh*

…Blessings…

Greta Merrick

Amy Merrick you are the best! Your blog posts and articles bring a real live smile to my face every time. When I first stumbled upon your blog it was our shared name that piqued my curiosity and ever since then you’ve held a happy space in my bookmark toolbar. Thank you for this decadent and highly necessary feast for the eyes (and tender winter heart). We will make it through to Spring indeed!

lindsay

These arrangements have me picturing lace collars, morning suits, and parasols. Perhaps lemonade in crystal glasses at an English country manor of some sort. In short. everything in this post is unbearably beautiful. Wonderful job.

Barb Kamlah

Amy I’ve been a follower of your blog for awhile now. I love your posts. You make life seem so elegant and make me wish I lived in simpler times. It’s been raining here for a month (in Vancouver) where I live and although we usually have early springs it gladdens my heart to see all your wonderful flowers today.

Bernie

breathtaking….Tulips were my mother in law’s favorite flowers. the flowers are gorgeous, but oh my….the photography!

amym

Thank you so so much for all of your sweet comments! I’m thrilled you all are tulip crazy like me :)

Chrissy- The little blue flowers in the second to the last photo are called tweedia. Also deliciously pretty in their own right!

Kristan

Be careful about mixing daffodils in arrangements, especially with tulips. Daffodils contain calcium oxalate and alkaloids that will harm the other flowers. If you soak them alone overnight it helps. It’s also why little critters don’t eat the bulbs when you plant them in your yard!

joy

This post is a perfect antidote to being snowed in. The images are spectacular! Thank you for brightening my day.

Sophia Sares

What are the glorious little blue 5-petaled ones in the last photos?

Beth

Hooray- I love tulips…in fact, I have some wilting on my table right now! They are heavy drinkers!

Jess

I felt like I’d been starving when I saw the first picture. All I could think was that I needed to just look at those beautiful flowers for a little while … then I read your post and realized I realized I wasn’t alone. Thank you.

Marjorie Rose

The photographs capture the flowers so beautifully and artistically. I like that you went from pale peach to dramatic blue. Oh and great advice on keeping them initially upright to “drink up” :)

marilyn beck

how unblievably gorgeous. Thanks for sharing with me what I consider (along with dafidiles) the most beautiful flowers in the world — and remind me to show you a shot of tulips I took in Holland last winter.

Marcheline

Thanks for the flower meditation – it was just the ticket!

I’d also love to know what those little blue daffodil-shaped flowers are… did I miss it in the first read-through?

Amanda

Splendid work, my dear! I’m sitting outside on my patio after spending some time pulling up monkey grass, so I’m kinda feeling the spring already (though only for another day or two before it gets cold again), but I do sympathize, as I remember the winters there well.

In about a month, the tulips will start shooting up out of the ground at the Arboretum here in Dallas, all 500,000 plus bulbs they have planted there, and I can’t wait to see their shining faces!

Birdie

Ms. Merrick, I’m so glad Design*Sponge has decided to let you guest blog from time to time, your articles are so refreshing and such lovely pictures. I follow you on your blog also, your a very gifted writer and much older than your yrs in your writing. Love you and love Design*Sponge. Oh by the way Tulips and daffodils are my favorites, and your pics. reminded me of my grandfathers English Garden. Just Lovely.

Flory

Really nice flowers Amy, I can see that you have the eye of an artist. Nevertheless, I have to say that I feel a little sad for those tulips, because once you cut them, they will die. I like better the flowers from the garden, or those in flowerpots. Please don’t cut too many flowers…;-)

Diane Bever

Amy, thanks so much for these luscious photos. I’m here in So. California and believe it or not we have few flowers blooming through the winter, so your tulips and their companions are a welcome sight on my computer this morning. I’m inspired to go out and buy some!

I just discovered your blog and you may be sure I will be following It from now on. Thanks again.

elizabeth g

Happened upon this blog entry and ignoring the title I scrolled through the pics. Hhhmm, I thought, this person has a similar touch to Amy M’s. But then my heart did that little flip-flop and I knew:IT IS AMY! You’ve made your mark, Amy dear, upon the blogsphere and my heart. Who knew?

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