May 29, 2014

Tulips: Formal Beauty

For me, the full beauty of a tulip is only expressed once it is cut and placed in a vase. They are pretty enough in the garden, but it's only when arranged in a group, or placed singly in the perfect complement of a vase and location, that their elegance can be seen. I cut many different flowers and bring them in the house all spring and summer, but other flowers are also beautiful in their natural setting: a large shrub covered with lilacs is more thrilling than a bunch in a vase; as much as I love cut peonies, they are just as complexly seductive on their plants. Because I feel this way, each fall I plant several kinds of tulips in a row in the vegetable garden, just for cutting.

Even the interiors of the flowers have clear and dramatic forms; the central pistil with its three part cap, and the flowing towers of stamens surrounding it. This is an unknown tulip, mislabeled, so I can't tell you its name.


A delicate violet edge on a creamy white petal gives a subtle effect.


The outward curving petals of this lily-flowered variety give the flowers a delicate grace.


A favorite tulip of mine, Angelique mimics my favorite flower, the peony. It has a frothy loveliness, each petal subtly different in color and shape.

Laura Fygi

When Laura Fygi was just cut and brought indoors, the flowers were closed in a form like a rounded cone, each flower showing red, and yellow at its edges.

Laura Fygi

And of the joys of watching tulips is seeing how their forms change, from a closed cone to an open cup, the stems curving up and down, becoming more fluid as they age.


Menton is another beloved tulip; it is a tall, large, gracious tulip of classic form.


Its color is a warm pink that shades to a lighter and warmer hue at its edges. It is a queen in its bearing.


There is even beauty in the flower as it dies, the petals gracefully dancing their way out of life.


  1. Exquisite. The different lighting and background provide much depth.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I enjoy my yearly project of photographing tulips.