Best-selling book 'The Flower Workshop,' written by Ariella Chezar with Julie Michaels is your step-by-step guide to making dramatic, Instagram-worthy flower arrangements in your very own home. First up? Taking advantage of seasonal flowers like the Tulip.
"Tulips are the only flower ever traded as currency. The Dutch were so enamored of them that, in 1634, investors triggered a speculative frenzy known as 'tulip mania.' Today, the tulip remains a valuable Dutch commodity, with breeders producing three billion bulbs a year, mostly for export.
Tulips come in multiple varieties; more colors and sizes are being hybridized each year. Standard tulips, the ones you most often see in the supermarket, appear in numerous colors. Other variations include the double tulip, which looks like a peony, and the fringed tulip, whose petals appear like the edges of a tassled shawl.
Parrot tulips bloom slightly later than standards and are known for their multihued, flamelike markings. Depending on the variety, their petals can be curled or twisted. They are the drama queens of the genus.
French tulips are among the most breathtaking of the tulip family. The name is something of a misnomer; originally, these tulips might have been hybridized in the south of France, but they are grown most abundantly in the Netherlands. French tulips are larger, and therefore must have longer, thicker stems for support. They bloom later in the spring, and some, like my current favorite, 'Avignon', have been crossbred with Parrots to create remarkable color palettes. 'Avignon' is a huge variety that looks like the sunset, shading from pink to coral to yellow. However, with every trip to the flower shop, you're sure to find other spectacular varieties such as 'Golden Artist', 'Cummins', 'Charming Beauty', and 'La Belle Epoque'.
If you are displaying tulips on their own, as in this arrangement, choose a container that holds the flowers upright but doesn't constrain them. You want them free enough to bend and flow with the day," writes Chezar.
- Footed white ceramic vase, large
- 30 'Avignon' Parrot Tulips
- 10 French Peach Tulips
- 10 French yellow-and-Peach Tulips
- This is a tall vase, so it does not require a frog. Fill three-quarters full with water.
- Clip the tulip stems to remove any white at the bottom. Also remove most of the foliage—never leave more than two leaves on any stem, as the leaves compete with the flowers for water.
- Make sure that the stems are one or two times the height of the vase.Add the 'Avignon' tulips to the vase first, then intersperse the other tulips throughout.
TIP: HOW TO MAKE A TULIP 'FLOAT': "If you want to add some variety to your tulip arrangements, bend the petals of a half-opened tulip back and open, as if bending back the ribs of a little umbrella. The flower will open up wide and take an altogether different shape," adds Chezar.
Reprinted with permission from 'The Flower Workshop,' by Ariella Chezar with Julie Michaels, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.Photographs copyright © 2016 by Erin Kunkel. Available at Amazon.