It hasn’t been a very warm spring, but days like today are the payoff after a long winter – the sun is warm, trees and flowers are finally in full bloom, and everyone wants to be outside. Everywhere you look in Manhattan, cherry blossom trees are bursting with soft pink flowers and tulips in bright colors pop against the sidewalks. Tulips are dominating the display at my corner market. Today I bought a bunch of red-orange tulips to be the jumping-off point for a bright spring arrangement. I also bought deep magenta Kansas peonies, pussy willow branches, and lemon leaves.
To get the tulips to open up a little more, I removed all of the leaves, cut them at a sharp angle, and put them in a vase of warm water, letting them drink for bit before putting the arrangement together.
The peonies I bought were also in different stages of opening up. One was fully open, one was barely open, and one was completely closed. Here’s a tip to get closed peonies to open up a little quicker – either submerge the heads in warm water or run them under warm water to remove the sap covering them. Then you can carefully peel the petals back to open up the outer petals. This is how my peonies looked after I opened the outer petals.
For the arrangement, I used a vase with a smaller opening to hold the stems tightly since I didn’t have a huge amount of flowers to work with.
I started with the fullest flowers, the peonies.
Then I added a few pussy willow branches.
Next, I added the tulips, and finally a few lemon leaves on the outside to frame the flowers and add a little width to the arrangement – but just a few so the flowers weren’t obscured.
I used the tulips and peonies because I love the color combination and because of the contrasting textures. The peonies are full and delicate while the tulips are long and sleek, and the pussy willow branches are tall and woody but also have a soft element. Combining different textures in a flower arrangement creates visual interest.
There are lots of varieties and colors of peonies and tulips, and lots of other spring flowers like daffodils, irises, lilacs and hyacinths available right now. Happy spring!