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the dutch masters

if you’re one of the 2% of eugeneans who haven’t read botany of desire, catch up. great book. in it, michael pollan (appropriate last name for a plant enthusiast, even if the spelling is not quite right) describes how the crazed love for tulips brought an entire economy crashing down after a seriously inflated boom based on the trade of new hybrids and varieties.

here in oregon, our tulips are more likely to be grown in california than the netherlands, but the nation persists as a premier location for growing and trading flowers, including the lovely ones they are most famous for. it’s a serious daydream of mine to visit one day and stand in the middle of all that color. for now, two bunches of gracefully drooping flowers will do.

those dark doubles are just too gorgeous. the flowers are a bit newer in the top two photos. as time goes by, the blooms open, the stems grow a couple inches, and they bend towards the light. if for some reason you prefer straighter tulips, give them a fresh cut, then poke a straight pin or a bit of wire vertically up through the bottom of the stem.

tulips are a bit wild and unwieldy sometimes. my favorite way to ‘arrange’ them is to let them more or less do as they please. here, they’re only sharing a vase with some twigs of pussy willow, but if you have tulips that are giving you fits in your design, try putting the tulips in the vase first, even before your foliage. that way, they’ll guide the rest of the composition so you can build the arrangement around them feature the tulips or let them accent the other flowers.

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