Why I Buy $6 Tulips

Tulips have been on sale for the past two weeks at Whole Foods, two bunches for $12. We’ve written before about the great cut flowers there; tulips are my favorite, and I buy them every week while they’re in season. 1. They’re cheerful and low-key, not like roses, which always seem to warrant an explanation. (“It was my birthday.” “They’re left over from a party.” “We had a fight.”) 2. Tulips are pleasantly unpredictable: Some orange buds in my dining room recently spread their petals to form huge, spectacular bowls, while another bouquet, spilling over its vase like a weeping willow, gradually rose into a riot of perfect cups. One odd bunch is doing its best poinsettia routine in the kitchen right now, hanging on for week number four, the blooms all opened into stars.

It’s popular to try slipping them pennies or capfuls of bleach, but a wise man in the Whole Foods flower department told me this gives the flowers a quick energy burst that only kills them sooner. Daily fresh water is all they need.