a fairy tale

He grew up climbing up and tumbling over boxes of flower bulbs, learned to count one flower bulb at a time, earned his pocket money packing and planting flower bulbs, and now spends his days learning about new varieties, tracking shipments and checking on the progress of bulbs in his customers’ greenhouses.         

Needless to say, nobody was surprised when Ednie Flower Bulb’s vice-president Jeffrey den Breejen proposed to his girlfriend in the Netherlands…in the middle of a field of bright yellow tulips.  And when Jeff and Lauren got married this past May, they were surrounded by family, friends, and, of course flowers— most of them bulb flowers.             

The preparations began last fall, with Jeffrey and Lauren (yes, he’s taught her well!) planting ‘Menton’ tulips at the bride’s house, the church, in the gardens of the country club they’d chosen for their reception, and in crates in Ednie Flower Bulb’s coolers: 15,000 in all. 1,000 of the Asiatic Lily Cannes went to Crickets and Crows in Delaware for forcing; 1,200 Oriental lily ‘Laguna’, white and peach ranunculus made their way to Farmhouse Flowers in Maryland and David Fischer in Maryland promised to grow Calla aethiopica for the wedding.            

A week before the wedding, the bulbs returned as flowers just about ready to bloom, joining the ‘Salome’ daffodils and ‘White Parrot’ tulips forced at home in NJ and the callas, iris, freesias and ornithogalum flown in from the Netherlands and Israel.  Ednie Flower Bulb’s warehouse floors and coolers were no longer visible under the colorful mass of cut flowers, but acquiring them all was only the first step.                 

Fortunately, there was a professional on the premises who knew where to start.  Business contacts had resulted in Lucas Jansen of Floweracademy.nl flying in from the Netherlands to help with the preparations.  Lucas is an expert on cut flowers and arranging who teaches courses around the world.  This time he got to do the arranging himself, assisted by a local horticulture student, Kristen Prommel.                    

In anticipation of the enormous task awaiting him, he had arranged for a number of materials to be sent from the Netherlands with a shipment of bulbs.  The cone-shaped flower holders were fastened to four by fours in buckets of cement, forming the framework needed for the large arrangements.  Bulb baskets, used many decades ago when gathering bulbs from the field, hid the cement foundations and completed the arrangements.  Rectangular and wreath-shaped oasis with hooks were needed for the arrangements hung on the church sign, on the horse-drawn coach, on light posts leading up to the country club, in the main entrance of the country club, and on the arbor in the gardens.        

Sixteen-inch tall glass cylinders (6 inch diam.) supported the table flower arrangements which extended upward, allowing guests to see each other easily.  Each centerpiece featured a different flower in the wedding colors of peach, dark red or white.  Guests found their name cards attached to a bud vase containing one stem of their table’s flower; searching for one’s table meant taking a good look at the centerpiece!             
One of Lucas Jansen’s last tasks was making the bouquets.  Lauren had her heart set on ‘Mozart’ callas, and although the thick stems didn’t make Lucas’ job easy, the result was worthwhile!  The maid of honor’s bouquet consisted of ‘Cannes’ lilies and albo maculata callas, and the bridesmaids carried ‘Cannes’ with ‘Pallade’ tulips.  Jeffrey wore a ‘Mozart’ corsage and each of the girls was escorted by a groomsman whose corsage matched her bouquet.                        

As they left the church, Jeffrey and Lauren were showered with ‘Menton’ tulip petals before heading off to take pictures in the country club’s ‘Menton’-filled gardens.  Later they entered the banquet room through an arch of flowers and ended their reception by cutting the cake…complete with flowers.            

In the words of one guest, “It was a fairy tale. And whenever people think back on this wedding, they’ll always remember the flowers!”