So what's my favorite flower? Do you know? Do you care? Well, if you've been a fan of Exquisitely Unremarkable for any time at all, you know that I love tulips. Simple, cheap, common ~ tulips. My first post was inspired by a grocery store bouquet of red tulips, that same bunch eventually became my logo.
My second piece was also about tulips. It was the first bit of thrifty home decor I shared.
As a matter of fact, over the past four years, I have featured tulips too many times count. I have crafted with them.
|Tulip Rain Boot Front Door Decor|
|Galvanized Tub Flower Bucket|
|Tulips On My Kitchen Table|
|Tulips In My Living Room At Easter|
|Tulips In The Bathroom|
|Tulips On The Kitchen Counter|
|Tulips On My Desk|
They have represented my mood.
|The morning when I found out my website had been hacked|
|Later that afternoon when there was hope it'd be fixed...I kid you not.|
|An amazingly sweet gift from my amazingly sweet friend, Rue|
|The best anniversary present ever from a guy who knows how to do it right|
You see, it was not a love at first site kind of tale. As a matter of fact, when I was younger, roses were my blooms of choice. Disney princesses had roses. Movie stars had them in their dressing rooms. My dad gave them to my mom on special occasions.
Roses were it.
I used to make perfume from them as a kid and I literally swooned whenever I received one...a dance corsage, an award banquet token. A few times in my young life, I was lucky enough to receive a dozen of them and they were always breathtaking.
Of course none more than the first Christmas my husband and I were dating. My characteristically unromantic buddy of many years presented me with a dozen long stem white roses, in a box, wrapped up with the biggest red ribbon I had ever seen. He took my breath away with those roses.
Back then, tulips were just those flowers I hardly noticed in my yard, coming up between the daffodils and my grandmother's irises. No one planted them on purpose. No one tended to them. They popped up every spring, bloomed and then died, whether we took notice or not.
Like weeds. In my mind anyway.
My young, stupid mind.
I believe that the tide began to turn in their favor at my wedding. How elegant, yet understated, they stood on the table. Gently draping over the side of the fishbowl, their presence gracefully accented, not overwhelmed.
At the end of the night, we brought a vase or two home and put them on the coffee and kitchen tables. A week later, when we returned from our honeymoon, my rose filled bridal bouquet was a wilted mess...oh, but not the tulips.
They welcomed us back looking as fresh and fabulous as they did they day of the wedding.
And I began to take notice.
Pretty soon the apartment started to shrink and I wanted a home and then I wanted a dishwasher and then I wanted a baby.
Roses were budget busters...but tulips? Tulips were cheap. I could have my weekly flower fix and a baby.
Score another round for tulips.
Then one day, I was diagnosed with allergies ~ sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. It was terrible and flowers were suddenly a giant no. My eyes watered as soon as I ventured near them. It was so bad that when I delivered my first child, they put me in a private room, because I could not be near flowers of any kind.
Except for tulips.
For some reason, they didn't bother me at all.
Turns out, the scientific reason is because they have a very heavy, waxy type of pollen that doesn't travel very far. It's too large to be an irritant. They also do not generally have a scent, another allergy trigger.
Of course, you can't explain true love with science.
Without tulips, I would have a flowerless...or worse...a faux flower-filled...existence.
No. That would not do. It was tulips to the rescue.
And what girl can resist a superhero?
So for years now, it's just been me and tulips.
We meet in the grocery store on Fridays.
It's our place.
Man, I'm a cheap date.
But you already knew that.
Hey! Before you go I want to share a few things I have learned about tulips over the years. I am by no means a master gardener, in fact, my husband frequently refers to me as a plant murderer. The only reason I do so well with cut tulips is because, well, they've been cut.
So take what I'm sharing here with a grain of salt, but these have been my experiences over the last 20+ years.
(BTW- I shared some of these tips back in 2013, but only like three people read them, so I think it's safe to repeat them. 😉)
*Lighter colors last longer than dark ones. Yup, red is my favorite, but they drop their petals faster than white or yellow, so if you have choice and are looking for longevity, go light.
*Cut tulips continue to grow once you put them in water, so pick the smallest, tightest bunch you can find. They will open up quickly and you'll get more time out of them. You may even need to snip the bottom midweek if they start to get too tall.
*Cut about 1/2-3/4 of an inch off your tulip stems, on a diagonal, before you place them in water. They will drink a ton, so check the level daily and refill often. If you flowers wilt, just give them a drink, they'll pop right back up.
*Tulips will take the shape of whatever container you put them in. If you want a tall bunch standing at attention, pick a tall vase with a small opening to support them. If you want a casual bunch, pick a bucket or a pitcher...my favorites. The tulips will conform. You can give them a little help, by gently guiding them a day or two after you bring them home and they're more comfortable.
*Let them breathe. No matter what kind of vase you choose, just make sure it's not too tight. Their stems are gentle and will break if jammed in too snugly.
*I have tried both the penny trick and the toothpick trick without much luck, I find that talking to my flowers and making sure they have enough water is the best way to keep them happy. This works for kids, too...
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More tulips? Sure, I've got that.