Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sometimes in life, things don’t come easy. You have to get creative, make it work, shape your own destiny . . . which is why this week’s A–Z post is “i” is  parrot tulips! I know what you are thinking. You think I got all cute and decided not to feature a flower that actually starts with the letter “i.” Well, you would be correct. But these tulips are so spectacular, and with spring about to burst forth, I couldn’t resist. There were certainly more obvious choices (How about iris, Disha?), but I hope all is forgiven when you feast your eyes on these amazing specimens.
Tulips are bulbous flowers that bloom and dazzle in the spring. They have an expansive native range — from Southern Europe to Northern Africa, Iran and Southern China. In the modern age, they are most closely associated with the Netherlands; the flower fields in Holland are world famous, and a great majority of tulips sold in the US are imported from Dutch growers. The cultivation of tulips for commercial use was actually initiated during the height of the Ottoman Empire in 16th-century Iran and Turkey. Famous Flemish horticulturalist Carolus Clusius is generally credited with introducing tulips to Europe when he planted them at the Imperial Botanical Gardens of Vienna in 1573. Tulips then became all the rage and set off the commercial industry in Holland in 1594 when Clusius planted them for all to see at Leiden University’s new Botanical Garden.
Parrot tulips are a special variety of tulip with a fringed edge. They tend to be more expensive than a simple tulip, but they really are something special. As they open in a warm, indoor environment, they almost look like a living creature. TIP: To force open a cut tulip flower, remove all the foliage, cut the stem at a sharp angle and place in a full vase of very warm water. 

I decided to make a feminine, romantic mixed arrangement with the Irene tulips. I selected a vase with a bell shape to allow the tulips to drape, grow and open over the course of the next few days. Tulips will continue to “grow” a few inches in water after they are cut, so keep that in mind when arranging. Start the arrangement with some fresh greens to provide structure. Try adding all the flowers you select first except the tulips  this will allow you to play with the tulip placement at the end for maximum impact.
I added some sheer pink lisianthus from ISRAEL. “I” is for Israeli lisianthus?
And some variegated scabiosa in a rich, purple hue.
Then some gorgeous ranunculus in that same sheer pink color.
Oh and there are those wild-looking Irenes. Note the contrasting textures; the tulips are sleek and rough looking, while the other blooms are full and delicate.
Spring, we have missed you so dearly.
Join me back here in tomorrow when (please please please) the sun will shine, the birds will chirp and “j” will be for . . .

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