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Life is like a Bud Vase

Have you ever tried something new only for it not to go right? You had an idea, worked up the courage to try it, figured out the steps, and … well, it didn’t end up quite like the image you had in your head, the pictures on Pinterest, or YouTube videos. Then you get trapped by comparison, start piling on the should-have or meant-to thoughts, and spiral into self-doubt until you just give up.

My friend, I’m right there with you! I have been sharing the progress of my indoor tulip growing experiment and this is exactly how I am feeling. This is how I came to my epiphany about bud vases.

Let me back up a second because I know this sound a little funny.

I’ve been struggling to grow tulips outside for years. My soil just doesn't get and stay cool enough to grow amazing tulips. Often, they come out super short and "unsellable".

This year I started growing tulips indoors naively thinking I won’t have that problem. Growing indoors means that I don’t have to worry about fluctuating soil temperature all winter so no short stems, right? As you have probably guessed, this is not the case. Some tulips are coming out short. Like really short.

While I try to manage my expectations during trials, seeing these short blooms feels like a failure. Then I go outside and look at my first set of anemones which always start out short but stings every year, nonetheless.

Double whammy of disappointment.

First tiny anemones of the year. This bud vase was made by the talented Pottery by Karin in Albuquerque.

Why does this sting so much? After all, they are flowering in February and that is incredible by itself. Isn't that enough?

Here’s the thing, flower farmers learn from day one that people want long stems. Several market variables have created this expectation and demand which has led me to become trapped in the mindset of short = worthless.

What this really means is that a certain type of buyer doesn’t want short stems because they can’t use them for their purpose. Of course, in my mind, this translates to no one wants short stems. But is this true? Short flowers are beautiful. Just as beautiful as the same flower on a long stem. So here’s where bud vases come in.

A bud vase is a small vessel with a narrow opening intended to hold a few flowers. Maybe just one perfect bloom. You have probably seen them around as they have become exceedingly popular in the last few years and here is why.

Bud vase trio with my favorite found-in-the-kitchen option: empty spice containers!

Its purpose is to showcase beauty. It doesn’t matter if a bloom is short. In fact, bud vases were designed to be short. They were originally made to hold the first spring buds like crocus or hyacinth which are tiny.

Bud vases bring focus to one amazing flower. Foliage and filler flowers add wonderful elements to bouquets and arrangements, but sometimes a flower just needs its own space. It's like a magnificent piece of art in a museum or gallery. White space allows the art to breathe. It needs to be viewed free from distraction or overwhelm by other colors and textures.

This is equally true for daily life. Who doesn’t need the equivalent of white space so that you can breathe freely?! Who doesn’t want to focus more on the important things like health or relationships? I certainly want less distraction and overwhelm so that I can focus on what’s most important to me. I have feeling you feel the same.

Technically not a bud vase as the opening is too wide. But I made it and it's great for showcasing blooms.

Lastly, bud vases are small but capable of big impact because of their simplicity. Big things can be wonderful focal points and fill up space, but they can also be distracting and get in the way. Big ideas are dreamy and exciting, but also scary and overwhelming. Those bulky things end up getting cleared out, and those big ideas have to be broken down into small, manageable pieces in order to execute.

A bud vase with sweet little anemones makes its own special impact. Their simplicity is stunning, but they can be overlooked when surrounded with other blooms. However, in a bud vase they are center stage and can be appreciated for their elegance, clean structure, and the fuzziest center you’ve ever seen. In a bud vase, they are perfect.

Again, just like life. I want to feel like this is manageable, not be crippled by overwhelm. I want to see things for what they are, not just their association with or comparison to something else. I want to value something (or someone) for its wonderful, innate qualities not because society tells me I should or shouldn’t.

A uniquely shaped salad dressing container makes a perfect bud vase for taller stems.

So, thank you little bud vase for being the vessel of this lesson in a moment in which I need it. I can’t say that I’ve been cured of my short-stem anxiety because it’s never that simple. Instead, it’s about the reminder to take a step back and think:

  • This isn’t a failure, it’s not the right perspective. This time and place isn’t the right fit, so try something else.

  • Don’t get lost in the fluff or fillers. Find a little white space to breathe and focus on what matters today.

  • Something small can have so much impact. It’s about timing, placement, and being open to observation.

Here’s my invitation to you, my friend: add a bud vase to your space and see how it makes you feel. Spring is coming and there will be leaves and flowers budding out ripe for cutting.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Maybe it’s the reminder or change of perspective you need today to reframe the challenges you are facing.

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