White Tulips on the Bulb for Christmas

“Would you like to test some?” he asked.My friend Bill Prescott works at Stargazer Barn, a flower grower on the northern California coast where the newest holiday offering is white tulips on the bulb.

“Immediately,” I said. The next day a box of tulips on the bulb (mixed with three branches of red winterberries) arrived on the front porch. Here’s what I found inside:

Photography by Michelle Slatalla.tulips-on-the-bulb-michelle-slatalla-img-3715

Above: A bouquet of 15 Holiday Tulips on the Bulb and Ilex ($69.99) is shipped in brown paper inside a cardboard box.

The arrangement is $69.99 and Gardenista readers will get free shipping on any item from Stargazer Barn with the code “yummy” at checkout.

The tulips will be available through Christmas, with the last shipping day Friday, December 23 (for overnight delivery on Saturday, December 24). Bill Prescott says, “It’s likely best to have orders delivered during the week before Christmas. You can also order now, and schedule delivery.”tulips-on-the-bulb-michelle-slatalla-img-3710

Above:As packaged, the arrangement will stand up on its own (with the bulbs creating a sturdy base) and an instruction sheet recommends placing the flowers in a shallow pie pan with a little water at the bottom. The White Dream tulips and Ilex verticillata berries come bundled as a ready-made bouquet, held in place with a wire corset.

Or you can deconstruct the arrangement to suit yourself:tulips-on-the-bulb-michelle-slatalla-img-3728

Above: The fat bulbs had lovely roots which I wanted to display along with the flowers.

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Above: I unwrapped the wire and gently disentangled the individual stems.

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Above: The tulips arrived fresh, on the edge of bloom.

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Above: White Dream is a compact tulip (about 18 inches tall) that looks most dramatic when planted or arranged in a clump.

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Above: I decided to reserve two of the branches for another purpose and to rearrange the tulips with a single branch to avoid overwhelming the delicate white flowers.Ilex verticillata berries are large, for berries, and a vivid red.

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Above: I chose a clear florists’ vase so the tulip bulbs would be visible through the glass.

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Above: I put a layer of pea gravel (about 1/2 inch deep) on the bottom of the vase to create a base for the bulbs and to aid drainage.

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Above: As I arranged the tulips, some bulbs rested on others so I wedged them in tightly to enable the roots of each flower to have access to water from the gravel layer.

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Above: I retied the florists’ wire around the base of the arrangement, which is looser and more casual than the original. One or two of the tulips look like they’re escaping over the side.

tulips-on-the-bulb-michelle-slatalla-img-3777Above: How long do the flowers last? As I write the tulips have been blooming for six days without dropping a petal.

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