A simple tulip arrangement by floral designer Mimi Brown in a tole cachepot

This beloved Dutch bulb was so coveted in the early seventeenth century that it was said to be more valuable than even some of the finest houses in Amsterdam. Today, the spring staple takes on a much more casual vibe, as seen here in this French cachepot. It’s refreshing to see tulips loosely arranged in such an attainable way.

Materials

  • Clippers
  • Tole jardinière
  • Chicken wire
  • Floral tape
  • A few varieties of tulips in oranges, peaches, and pinks
portrait of floral designer Mimi Brown arranging

Mimi Brown demonstrates how to make this tulip arrangement below.

assorted tulip blooms displayed on a white marble countery

Tulip varieties, clockwise from top left: Residence, Crossfire, Jan Buis, Apricot Parrot, Cerise Parrot

Tulip Arrangement Tutorial with Mimi Brown

Step 1

Step 1 of Mimi Brown's tulip arrangement, use chicken wire for structure

Cut a section of chicken wire big enough to fit inside the cachepot after it’s scrunched up a bit. Fold it in and push it down inside. The wire will support each tulip stem in the arrangement.


Step 2

Step 2: floral tape grid

Once the chicken wire is placed inside, remove the metal liner that comes with the cachepot. Then secure the wire to the liner by taping two strips of floral tape over it in a cross shape. The liner needs to be completely dry in order for the tape to stick, so don’t pour any water into the liner until this step is completed.


Step 3

Step 3: Mimi Brown shows how to remove tulip leaves for floral arrangement

Now it’s time to add the tulips, but first each one should be stripped of its outermost leaves. After picking up each tulip, gently peel down and pull off the leaves—this is strictly an aesthetic decision, so leave as many leaves on the stems as you like. (As I like to see some of the shape of each stem, I remove most of the leaves.) Do this as you work—not all at once. Be sure, though, to leave some of the leaves on the tulip stems because we are not adding other greenery. Then snip the end of each tulip at an angle.


Step 4

Step 4: Mimi Brown adds cerise parrot tulip to her arrangement last

I’ve chosen a mix of oranges, peaches, and pinks, and I prefer to place all of one variety before moving on to the next. Note that all of the tulips should be pretty much the same height except for a few that can be cut shorter or kept taller for variety. After placing the orange and peachy varieties, it’s time for the deep pinks, which are double tulips.


Step 5

Step 5: Mimi Brown manual opens tulip petals for arrangement

After adding the deep pink tulips, finish with the lighter pink variety. This variety has some white on the petals, which gives it a little extra interest. It’s fine to manually open a tulip if it looks too tightly closed. Very gently flip back the outer petals. If a petal starts to split, don’t worry—it happens.


Step 6

step 6, close up of tulip stems, some straight, others gently curving over the side

Sometimes the tulips will fall as you go, and that’s fine. Let some droop, but remove them if they look tired and then keep arranging as you see fit. In the end, the tulips should look as though they’re naturally growing out of the container. And remember to place a few around the perimeter. It’s important to make sure no chicken wire is visible.


Living Floral book, Margot Shaw, flower book

By Mimi Brown | Photography by Becky Luigart-Stayner | Excerpted from Living Floral: Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers by Margot Shaw (Rizzoli, 2019)

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