A few weeks ago, I was delighted to receive an email from Alicia of Flirty Fleurs, telling me about her upcoming tulip workshop that would be perfect for beginners. Well Alicia, you had me at tulips…and beginners. The next day, I was signed up and anxiously awaiting my second Flirty Fleurs workshop! Thursday finally rolled around, and I gathered up my tools, braved rush-hour traffic (I thought I was leaving traffic behind when I left LA…ha!) and made my way down to Georgetown to join three other ladies for the class. Some of you probably know, but tulips in Seattle are a big deal. BIG. The Skagit Valley is known for it’s tulip fields, and hundreds of people, tourists and locals alike, flock to the fields starting in April to get a look at these beauties. But I digress. I think my point is – I was very excited to get my hands on some PNW tulips and learn how to work with one of my favorite flowers!
Back to business. Upon arriving, I glanced at the buckets and was able to tell which swas mine in an instant. Alicia had thoughtfully asked each of us in advance what our favorite color tulips were, and she hit the nail on the head with mine: lush, buttery pinky orange (we deemed them “sherbet tulips”) and creamy white ones with green edges. I was in heaven. Like before, Alicia started out the class by creating a sample arrangement, step-by-step, so we could see how she worked and give us an idea of what it should kinda-sorta-just maybe look like. And again, like before, maybe a half hour went by and viola! She had a perfect little arrangement, just sitting there, daring me to try. And try I did… a few minutes later I had my sleeves rolled up and was diligently cleaning the aspidistra. Because this was a contemporary class, we focused on minimal varieties, keeping colors grouped together, and using aspidistra to separate and “boost” the tulips. After cleaning, folding, and securing the aspidistra (with staples! genius), I moved on to the tulips. I stripped the large leaves near the bottom, put a little slit near the head to slow the growing, and cleaned up the stems with a borrowed knife (guess it’s time to get my own!). After the cleaning and prepping came the fun part – arranging time! First I wrapped two of the leaves around the inside of the vase to create almost a shell that would cover the stems and keep things looking clean and minimal. Next came a few of the folded leaves to create a base, and then the tulips. I chose to cut my “sherbet” tulips shortest and use them as the next level, and kept the white tulips a bit longer to add height in the back. I filled in with a few more folded aspidistra to add volume, and cheated by putting a bit of Pittosporum in the very back to keep things from falling over. I love learning all of these little tricks that I never noticed in arrangements before! I’m catching on, guys. Last came a touch of bright green vibernum and a little burlap around the vase for a softer, more feminine look, and then, it was my turn to say “Viola!”
I took a step back, breathed (for the first time in about an hour) and took a minute to assess my work. And you know what? I liked it. I was proud to call it my second “official” arrangement, and couldn’t have done it without the guiding hands and encouraging words of Alicia. While “contemporary” may not be my style of choice, I am trying my best to experiment with all styles and just throw myself into learning every technique I can. Because of the pretty, pastel tulips used in my arrangement, it had more of a “country” feel rather than being too contemporary, which was a good happy medium and allowed me to learn new techniques while still staying true to myself. All in all, second workshop…success!