The quintessentially spring bowl of tulips gets an “edgy and elegant” transformation.

Floral design and photos by John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Known among his rabidly loyal clients for “edgy and elegant floral design,” (his company’s tagline), John ReganM.F.A., Ph.D., owner of Twisted Stem Floral Design in Crystal Lake, Ill., shares his concept for a more sophisticated version of an arrangement that is quintessentially spring: spectacular tulips in a classic glass bowl. “Standard,” “routine” and “predictable” are not part of Regan’s vocabulary or Twisted Stem’s aesthetic, even in daily work, and this design showcases the company’s commitment to “the art of fine floral design” and every arrangement being special and unique.


Step 1

For this design, select a bowl approximately 6 inches in height and width (the size can be adjusted in proportion to the tulips or other flowers you’ll choose). The bowl should be a few inches shorter than the length of the flower stems.

Step 2

Using pliable branches, gently curve stems of red-twig dogwood with your hands into a circle (you’ll need three or four stems to construct the wreath). Wrap one branch around the upper section of the bowl, and secure it firmly in place with a hog ring, tightening the ring with hog-ring pliers. 

DESIGN TIP: Hog rings are an old-school florists tool that I find weekly uses for in the studio. When the hog-ring pliers are squeezed tightly, the rings provide a strong and durable binding. They are an excellent tool to use in building armatures.

Step 3

Remove the circular branch from the perimeter of the container, and then add the additional branches to it. Bind the branches to one another at several points around the wreath with hog rings. Place the finished wreath back onto the upper section of the container; it should fit snugly around the perimeter of the container.

Step 4

Fold one vane (slat) from a set of vertical blinds into accordion pleats. Using both hands, curve the pleated vane into a circle, and place it into the container. This will provide pockets into which the flowers will be tucked, and it will help keep the Anthurium leaves pressed against the glass inside the container (Step 5). 

NOTE: Whenever I use vertical-blind vanes in a design, I include a preprinted card with the arrangement that offers the client/recipient a few stems of flowers if they return the vanes to the shop.

Step 5

Fill the container with properly proportioned bulb-flower-food solution. Then, position white-veined Anthurium leaves around the inside perimeter of the container, pressed against the glass. Next, arrange tulips into the container. 

DESIGN TIP: Cut the tulip stems in groups of three to five at a time, at the same length. This will give the finished design a compact rounded form. 

Step 6

Arrange a few branches of flowering almond into the design for increased visual interest and as a structure upon which to hang the twig garland (Steps 7 and 8).

Step 7

Cut the thicker stem ends of red-twig dogwood branches into 2-inch-to-3-inch sections. With a small-diameter drill bit, drill a hole through the center of each dogwood branch section (twig). 

Step 8

String twigs onto 24-gauge copper wire. After stringing each twig onto the wire, twist the wire several times to add space between the twig that follows.

DESIGN TIP: Vary the spacing between the twigs to give the garland a more organic appearance.

Step 9

Drape the twig garland throughout the arrangement by laying it over sections of the blooming branches, allowing some of the garland to cascade onto the table.



• Tulipa spp. ‘Milkshake’ (tulip)

• Anthurium clarinervium (white-veined Anthurium, velvet cardboard Anthurium, Queen Anthurium)

• Cornus sericea (red-twig dogwood, red-osier dogwood)

• Prunus dulcis (almond, sweet almond)


• Fat Bowl Vase from Accent Décor

• 24-gauge copper wire

• Hog rings and pliers

• One vertical blind vane (slat)