The holidays are over; the cookies are eaten, the decorations are packed away,and the tree is at the curb. And with the darkness taking over, my house (and my mood) could really use a pick-me-up. As a florist, I-of course-turn to flowers to brighten things up!

One of my go-to flowers is the tulip. I love the ease of arranging them, their subtle fragrance, and the sense of hope they impart. To me, they are the very epitome of spring! They are readily available now at your local flower shop, and I prefer to buy them in bunches rather than as single stems. I don’t bother with any other flowers or greenery; simplicity is key!

When you get them home, with a sharp pair of scissors, cut about an inch off the bottom of the stems at a 45 degree angle; this makes it easier for the flower to absorb the water. Place the tulips-still in their cellophane sleeve-into a clean vase filled with a mixture of cool water and flower food; leave the sleeve on for about an hour to allow the tulip stems to straighten out.

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When you’re ready to arrange them, remove the cellophane and any leaves that will be below the surface of the water. I like to arrange them in my hand first, making sure the flower heads are all at about the same level and trimming the stems to fit the vase, but you can simply plop them into a vase! For tulips, I prefer a vase with a narrow mouth and a wider base which will allow the tulips to show off their curvy habit. Today, though, I am using a lovely ceramic vase I received for Christmas and have been dying to fill. Place them in a cool location, away from heat, drafts, and direct sunlight. Change the water daily to maximize vase life. But most importantly, be sure to notice how they continue to grow, reaching out towards the sunlight! And enjoy the little blast of color!

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