Poet Sylvia Plath abhorred tulips, as noted in her poem entitled "Tulips." Plath described theses harbingers of spring as being too excitable, with their red color capturing everyone’s attention, their open blooms like the mouths of some African cat. To many people, though, tulips are synonymous with renewal, and simple bouquets are a welcome addition to any home. True, when tulips are situated in a warm spot their heavy heads will droop and their once-straight stems will sway. Drooping tulips can be salvaged and their curvy stems can even be an integral part of a flower arrangement.
One of the quickest ways to salvage droopy tulips is to cut their stems short and place them in a squat, square or round vase. Cut the stems to about 6 inches in length. Tuck tulips into the vase so that the heads just protrude above the top of the vase, much like a pave arrangement that’s typically reserved for roses or mums. Add in extra accompaniments, such as salal leaves, to coax the flowers up against each other, creating a tight arrangement.
When tulip stems start to sway, harness the undulating curves and make them a key part of an arrangement. Retrim stems so that the blooms can suck up plenty of water and rearrange the tulips in a vase so that all the heads are facing the same direction, to the left or right, for example. This off-center arrangement is informal and ideal for a casual setting. Place the vase on the edge of a mantel or coffee table so that it’s not a focal point but part of a larger vignette.
Deep, round vases (think: goldfish bowls) are ideal vessels for droopy tulips. Fill 1/3 full with water and place flowers, one by one, inside the vase. Ensure the curve of the stems follows the inside curve of the vase. Keep the heads below the surface of the vase so the flowers are completely encapsulated. Fill the vase with flowers until you have a tangle of stems and flowers set inside this terrarium-style arrangement. Add smooth river rocks, shells or glass beads to the arrangement if desired.
When tulips start to droop, the best way to preserve their height is to display each individual bloom in its own narrow-necked vase. This way the stems are supported and the heads can droop a bit, lending a bit of character to the arrangement. Cluster the individual vases on a tray to create a deconstructed type of flower bouquet or scatter the vases throughout your home. Place a vase on the bedside table, on a desk, a window sill or any other corner that can use a cheerful burst of color and character.