Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Pansies begging to be planted (Photo: Huffygirl)

I thought I’d give this a try. WordPress is encouraging bloggers to take part in a Weekly Photo Challenge. Each Friday they offer a theme for a photo challenge. They didn’t mention anything about prizes or anything, so I’m not sure what the “challenge” part is. Maybe the challenge is just to do it, not to see who does it best, although, hey WordPress, maybe picking a winner is not a bad idea. Just sayin’.

Anyway, today the challenge is SPRING. Here in Michigan, it doesn’t look much like spring yet, but fortunately I visited a spring garden expo today, and took my camera along. To me, nothing says spring more than a trip to the greenhouse. I hope these spring photos will give you enough of a taste of spring until the real thing gets here!

Handmade table (Photo: Huffygirl)

This table and chair set was handmade by one of the greenhouse employees. There is a “stream” that runs down the middle of the table, drips off the end into a rock-covered recirulating pump. The pipe to recirculate the water back up to the table is hidden in one of the table legs. The chairs don’t look very inviting, but wouldn’t his look great on your patio?

Stream and waterfall (Photo: Huffygirl)

Waterfall, man-made of course (Photo: Huffygirl)

This stream and waterfall looked so real, it was hard to believe it was man-made. If you look closely, you can see the rims of some of the pots showing in the background.

If you get a chance to attend a spring garden expo, do it. It may just tide you over until spring.

HuffyHow: How to Cure Floppy Tulip Syndrome

Marbles support stems.

Marbles support each stem.

Finally. The answer to what has plagued personkind for decades. You’ve all had this happen I’m sure: you buy a beautiful bouquet of tulips, bring them home, put them in a vase, and voilà – they promptly flop over. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to fix this? I’ve analyzed this situation thoroughly, although at great personal cost, as I’ve had to invest in several tulip bouquets and suffer having tulip bouquets in my house. I’ve finally concluded that the “floppy tulip” syndrome” is a result of a combination of factors:

1. Tulips with especially large blossoms.

2. Tulips too tall to be supported by the vase.

3. Lack of stem support within the vase.

4. Tulips past their prime – as the tulips get older, they start to break down and the stems become weak.

So, here’s the HuffyHow solution to floppy tulip syndrome.

1. When buying tulips, look for bunches with small compact blossoms, fresh-looking green stems, and tightly closed buds. Avoid tulips that show any fraying on the blossom edges – these are likely on their way out. It’s more about the quality and freshness of the bouquet than where you buy them. Some of my best performing tulips have been the $5-6 bunches from the grocery store.

2. Carry the tulips home carefully and get them into water as soon as possible. Don’t leave them in the car while you run 20 more errands, especially on a warm day.

3. Find a vase with a broad bottom and tall enough to give some support to the tulips. I’ve got a rectangular one that works great. Fill your vase with about 1.5 to 2 inches of glass marbles (sold in flower shops and in the flower departments of craft and grocery stores.) I add a few old pennies, as I’ve heard that the copper aids stem strength, although I have no clue as to the validity of this thesis. I guess pennies are optional, or maybe I need to do another study.

4. Use sharp scissors to trim your tulip stems at least 1.5 to 2 inches, depending on the height of your vase, and more if your vase is very short.

5. Arrange the tulips in the vase placing them in one at a time, carefully inserting the stems into the marbles. Don’t just slam the whole bouquet into the vase – make sure each stem is supported by the marbles.

6. Enjoy your lovely tulip bouquet. As the bouquet ages, the tulips will start to flop over a bit, but you should have at least 4-6 days of a beautiful, upright bouquet.

7. An extra tip for men: Use these steps to surprise your sweetie and have a great-looking tulip bouquet waiting in a vase when she gets home. She’ll be impressed and think you spent a lot of money at the florist. Nothing bad can come from surprising your partner with flowers.

Success! Floppy tulip syndrome solved at last!

Tulip bouquet

A beautiful upright tulip bouquet.