The Tulipiere

the tulipiere (14)Last fall, a friend who had business in Amsterdam wrote me that he had gone to a shop specializing in handmade Delft china.  They made vases in sections, which when assembled, would provide a striking display for tulips.  From Wikipedia:  “A tulipiere or tulip-holder is an ornate vessel in which to grow tulips, and is usually made of hand-crafted pottery, classically delftware. They are typically constructed to accommodate one single bulb per spout with a larger common water reservoir base. They were not designed as vases for a cut bloom, as is sometimes supposed. While fairly uncommon in modernity, during the 17th century tulipieres were used to grow tulip bulbs indoors and were common pieces of decorative art. After the advent of large-scale global trade in the 17th century, numerous flower bulbs from Asia such as the tulip, crocus, and hyacinth became luxury items in Europe and these bulbs remained an exotic novelty until the end of the 17th century. Large floor-standing pyramid-shaped tulipieres were particularly ornate, and dedicated to the love of a tulip.”  My friend and I-we both love tulips.  In the ground, and inside in a vase. Both tulipieres were shipped to me-one for me, and one for him.

the tulipiere (15)My delft tulipiere arrived last December.  It is a tower devoted to the display of the tulip. I loved the shape, stature, and the history surrounding this structure. Many tulipieres dating back to the 17th century were very elaborate, and hand painted. Modern tulipieres are more streamlined, and simple in shape and color.  But the idea is the same.  A vase that would provide a forum for the tulip would delight gardeners of all persuasions. Though the tulipiere was originally designed to hold tulip bulbs, which would root in the water, grow and bloom, I knew I would only use my tulipiere for cut tulips.

the Tulipiere (6)Jody Costello, whose company is known as J Costello Designs, does an amazing job of providing cut flowers for homes and events in our area. She was a participant in our spring fair 2 weeks ago. I can count on her to bring the most amazing array of spring cut flowers.  Her buckets of ranunculus, sweet peas, hyacinth, clematis, garden roses and tulips took my breath away.  Bunches of cut flowers wrapped in kraft paper and string were flying out of her booth on that Saturday.

the Tulipiere (4)On my mind was my tulipiere.  As she brought a great collection of cut parrot tulips, I asked her to arrange flowers in that Delft tower with an expression of spring all her own.

the tulipiere (11)How she arranged spring flowers in this vase was of interest to everyone who came by. This about tulips: the tulips are the mainstay of the spring bulb garden. The cultivars available to plant are just about endless.  The very early species tulips are quite persistent.  The Darwin hybrids feature giant flower heads in the midseason.  The Triumph tulips combine great flowers size with shorter, and more weather resistant stems.  There are double flowering early and late tulips.  The bunch flowering tulips are a bouquet springing from the ground.  The fringed tulips are all about an unusual texture on the edge of the petals.  The lily flowering tulips are late,  and vase shaped.  The viridiflora tulips feature green streaks in the petals. The late flowering tulips extend the season with their tall stems and large flowers.

the Tulipiere (5)Our tulips in the front of the shop are better than a foot tall right now. The big leaves are a sure sign of spring onm the way.  Some say the time between the emergence of the leaves and the bloom is a month.  I have never tested this theory, but I can say that once the tulips come up, I am tuned in to their story.  Those papery brown orbs that we planted last fall are growing every day now.  Our spring has been steady, but slow.  My hellebores are just beginning to bloom.  The crocus I usually see in March peaked a few days ago.  My magnolia stellata is in full bloom today-weeks behind their usual bloom date.  Only yesterday did I see forsythia beginning to bloom, and the grass growing greener.

the Tulipiere (8)Every gardener in my zone anticipates the spring with great excitement.  I am no exception.  Our winter has some snow, not record breaking snow, but long and lingering cold. The break in the cold was so welcome.  We have had cold mornings, and moderate afternoons.  Many layers of clothes in the morning gives way to a tee shirt in the afternoon. Winter is making some gestures towards spring.  The willows are leafing out.  My chionodoxa are in full bloom.

the Tulipiere (7)
As for my tulipiere, Jody did an incredible job of arranging flowers in it.  Cream parrot tulips, white hyacinths and white sweet peas.

the Tulipiere (3)Spring comes in a lot of different forms.  Every gardener in a northern zone is waking up. My tulipiere, full of tulips, sweet peas and hyacinths-a breath of spring. Fresh and sweet.  I can smell the spring coming. Thanks, Jody.

You can buy this tulipiere directly from the maker in the  Netherlands:

Ruben Gerritsen | Heinen Delftware B.V.
Heinen Delftware BV
Nijverheidsweg 4V
3881 LA Putten
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)341 362204 <>






  1. What a fabulous spring statement! Love, love, love the addition of the sweet peas, hyacinth and narcissus! Enjoy

  2. jeanne durfee says

    That is wild! Thank you for showcasing this, very pretty. I am in love. jeanne

  3. Gloria Damoff says

    That tulipiere looks simply fantastic. What a fabulous way to display fresh cut flowers! Will you be carrying them in your shop anytime soon?
    I’d love to have one if not too costly…



  4. I love your tulipiere and tulips, especially the parrots. Unfortunately in my garden, so do the deer, so I sadly have given up on tulips. Love the last photo especially.

  5. How lovely!

  6. The tulipiere is beautiful, but how did she do it? Is each level a separate vase? I’ve never seen one before except in magazines.
    Your blog is such an inspiration.
    Thank you.
    Janie Horn

  7. The Detroit Garden Works spring open house is always filled with glorious surprises not to be missed. The tulipiere was a stunner.

  8. Stunning ! Wouldn’t you just LOVE to see this at a wedding instead of the traditional tiered cake ?

  9. Jo Ann Marsh says


  10. Beautiful!

  11. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your tulipière.

  12. Ellen Devine says

    Ultimate wedding cake topper.

  13. Dear Deborah….you and Jody did the tulipiere so proud. MPB tells me that traditionally they are only displayed in pairs !! Well then….what do we know ? Someone had better get right back to Amsterdam. Happy Spring.

  14. Jody Costello says

    Thank you, Deborah, for the kind words. It was truly my pleasure and such a privilege to share my flowers in your and Rob’s beautiful space and I’m entirely grateful you had the trust in me to add flowers to your incredible tulipiere! It was a wonderful weekend!

  15. Is there a gardener who hasn’t dreamed of someday owning a tulipiere?! Beautiful container and breathtaking arrangement. Kudos to both you and Jody.

  16. Mary Ann Duncan says


  17. Stunning arrangement! Where did you buy the tulipiere from? I love the modern white design.
    Thanks! Krissi

  18. The love of the flower vessel, Tulipiere, is new to me. But this week was given a small blue and white one from China. It will be the subject of an article for the magazine I work for. Your arrangement is stunning.

  19. Please let me know how I can purchase this tulipiere.
    I have been searching for one for a long time and love this one.
    Thank you, Laura

  20. Deborah Silver says

    Dear Susan, all of the information you need to inquire about a purchase is at the end of the post. You need to contact the company directly in the Netherlands. best, Deborah

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