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Spring is the time for longer, warmer days and rebirth. Everything starts to bloom and grow; animals have their young, and, suddenly, there are bunnies hopping around and newly hatched birds singing their little hearts out. And this is just the beginning: springtime is made for flowers. So don’t worry about the April rain; it’s feeding the earth and preparing all the glorious tubers for growth. 

Daffodils 

“One daffodil is worth a thousand pleasures, then one is too few.” 

–William Wordsworth

What we commonly call “daffodils” fall under the genus “Narcissus.” Also known as jonquils, paperwhites, and “Lent Lilies,” they are an early bloomer that means spring is here and winter has come to an end…and will bloom throughout the entire season. There are many types with varying shades of yellow, white, and orange. Even with petal differences, they all resemble jocund trumpets swaying gaily in the breeze. Daffodils are one of spring’s most beloved blossoms, so, of course, they symbolize starting over and rebirth. These bulbs spread easily and will come back year after year, usually before and around Easter. 

Tulips

“Here are tulips, budded and full-blown, their swoops and dips, their gloss, and poses, the satin of their darks.” –Margaret Atwood

The best place to see tulips is, of course, the Netherlands. The tulip fields in and around Amsterdam are some of the world’s most truly breathtaking sights. Tulips were so highly sought after during the Dutch Golden Age (starting in 1634) that the prices of the bulbs skyrocketed. They were very popular and chic so the demand for these waxen beauties was incredibly high. Chelsea Flowers has you covered with gorgeous arrangements featuring assorted tulips, such as “To Dye For,” “Tulip Time,” and “So Egg-cited.”

Hyacinths 

“If you have two loaves of bread, keep one to nourish the body, but sell the other to buy hyacinths for the soul.” –Herodotus 

 

Hyacinths are conical spring beauties covered in clumps of star-shaped blossoms. With an unmistakable scent, they were extremely popular in the Victorian era and were planted in garden rows to emanate a pleasant odor. Hyacinths are also used in celebrations to welcome the Persian New Year. Grape hyacinths are smaller than the traditional ones we normally think of, are very dense, and, well, look like a clump of deep blue grapes. For the loveliest combination of hyacinths and tulips, check out Chelsea Flowers’ heavenly “Heaven Sent” bouquet.

Irises 

When we think of irises, bearded or not, we usually think of their magnificent range of colours. The word “Iris” actually means “rainbow” in Greek, and so it’s fitting that they run the gamut of the colour wheel. Vincent van Gogh’s paintings of irises are rare works of art that actually capture the flower’s natural beauty and splendor. Did you know that irises will multiply (a dream for any gardener) and have been widely used for medicinal purposes? For instance: the seeds are known as a treatment for digestive problems, while the oil from the plant is used in aromatherapy and is said to help congestion. Chelsea Flowers offers the perfect spring bouquet just in time for the impending holiday: “Easter Glory” is made up of yellow and orange tulips, yellow carnations, and blue irises.

Ranunculus 

A rival of the peony, ranunculus or “Persian Buttercups” actually reflect light and make the perfect offering to show admiration. They are also very popular at weddings (especially during the spring and summer). First found blooming in southwest Asia, the name “ranunculus” literally means “little frog” in Latin.

 

To learn more about all the bouquets and arrangements that Chelsea Flowers has to offer, check out the website and celebrate spring (or any occasion). (All photography courtesy of Chelsea Flowers and Irving Penn.)