If you are close to West Halkin Street in Knightsbridge before Easter, try and get to florist Neill Strain’s flower store, which is bursting with Spring fever and over 40 different types of tulips for Tulipmania, a celebration of his favourite flower. For this festival of tulips Neill’s stocking some amazingly unusual and beautiful ones, some of them have such a high petal count they don’t even look like tulips, more like peonies or ranunculus.
I love Neill’s way with flowers, he is an art graduate and has quite a masculine, theatrical style using rich, strong colours and large twiggy sculptural forms in his arrangements. He is quite cutting edge with the flowers he uses and works with specialist Dutch suppliers to bt first-to-market with interesting new flower types; sitting quietly in a corner of the store were 4 beautiful displays waiting for their private jet to take them to a European royal household (as you do…) so he must be pretty good. But you can buy a bunch of these amazing and unusual tulips for £13.50 and they will bring you joy, as well as impressing the hell out of anyone you might like to give them to.
The tulip supplier who works closely with Neill to bring wonderful new cut flower types to customers is Loek van Eeden from Reineri, one of Holland’s most reputed growers. He is a flower nerd and was fantastically interesting to talk to on the history of tulips and all the other specialist flowers they develop, he had important tips for making your special tulips last longer…
1) Buy tulips already quite well open, tulips use a lot of energy opening up, if they use all their supply of energy opening, they wont last too long in the vase.
2) Tulips like to ‘settle’ in the vase, they will alter their shape a lot over the days you have them and grow towards the light, everyday they will look slightly different. Give them space and light.
3) Always use a clean vase, you can use the teeniest drop of bleach in the water to kill off all bacterial activity (which makes the stems rot) or change the water every day or two.
4) If a tulip head breaks off, float it in a shallow bowl to display it, tulips are 98% water so will live happily bobbing. See picture below.
My favourite ones are the parrot tulips, which have that wrinkled, crinkled edge, but fringed tulips with their ragged tasseled petals are HOT news in floral circles apparently.
Nice pictures to pin here…
Tulipmania is on at Neill Strain’s store from now until April 7th. Definitely worth a visit. Details here.