Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make life seem complete; like the humble tulip. Every April, their softly curved petals and vibrant colours create a refreshing rainbow of calm; they’re versatile enough to be used in everything from luxury hotel displays to kitchen table vases. Dress them up, dress them down – the cheery tulip always wears a smile, which makes it perfect for weddings. Florist Judith Blacklock reveals why…
Whatever style wedding you are planning, consider the tulip for your wedding flowers – from upmarket glam to rustic charm, they fit every bill – and remember to choose your colours carefully:
White tulips are a traditional classic – always beautiful and safe, white symbolises purity and innocence. If you want to create a luxury floral design, pair white tulips with creams – they never fail to impress.
Pale pink symbolises unconditional love and nurturing. For a soft, ethereal look, match with white, or to achieve a more vintage tone, mix pale pink tulips with creams and antique tints such as Rosa ‘Amnesia’ or R. ‘Ocean Song’.
Purple is a very emotional colour that symbolises unconditional and selfless love. If you want to mix purple tulips with other colours try oranges and reds, perhaps with a touch of lime-green.
Red is always popular, particularly around Valentine’s Day. It symbolises warmth and affection. I am doing the flowers for a male couple on St. George’s Day, 2017 using only red and white tulips.
Pear, cherry or apple blossom work very well with tulips, along with other spring flowers such as hyacinths, ranunculus and anemone. Avoid mixing them with daffodils – unless you have special cut flower food – as the sap in the stems poisons other flowers.
Easy to arrange, beautiful and versatile, you can purchase single, double, parrot, lily and many others varieties of tulip to suit the mood and occasion. Once placed in water, they change day by day, twisting and turning in all directions, and look lovely.
Treat tulips right, and they can be show-stopping. They are unhappy in floral foam and are happiest in shallow water, so they are not the best flower for buttonholes or other wired wedding work because the stems are soft and the shape changes. However, they are fabulous for reception decor, massed on their own in glass vases, where their beautiful stems can be seen and admired.
Tulips are not easy to preserve or dry. After the wedding they should be left in water where they will last well for up to a week. They do continue to grow when cut so are lovely placed in a situation where they can twist and turn without problem.
It is always best to buy tulips in season when they are stronger and less expensive. When buying, make sure that the buds are large and showing colour. The heads will continue to grow considerably (up to 15 cm) after being cut but the leaves do not. The freshest blooms are those that show their leaves more or less level with the head of the flower – if they’re shorter, they’re not as fresh. Flower stalls, florists and even supermarkets provide quality, inexpensive blooms for nearly six months of the year, but if you’re looking at buying en masse, try New Covent Garden Flower Market – it’s truly the best place to go when you’re buying large amounts of flowers.
Judith Blacklock has created bouquets for the royal family, has arranged flowers for countless high profile events and taught floral design at her Flower School in Knightsbridge, to personalities such as Kirstie Allsopp, Gordon Ramsay and Keeley Hawes. She has consulted for Channel 4, Marks & Spencer and Top Shop, is editor of The Flower Arranger magazine, and has written an astonishing 13 books. Her latest book – Buying and Arranging Cut Flowers – the Essential A – Z guide – is out now, and retails at £14.99.
Book a flower arranging course now, or find out more about Judith at judithblacklock.com.
Bridal Bouquets – L-R: Style Me Pretty, Snippet & Ink, St Judes Creations (stjudescreations.com)>
Buttonholes – L-R: blog.mysanantonio.com, interflora, and colincowieweddings.com
Centrepieces – L-R: all via Pinterest,
Bridal Bouquets – L-R: Pinterest, The Knot