06/26/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Entertaining Secrets: Park Avenue Tulips Inspire a Spring Setting

Who knew that a tulip bulb could be like a light bulb and energize an urban landscape? Thirty years ago, the late New York philanthropist Mary Lasker, an early advocate of city beautification, helped fund a charity to plant tulips on Park Avenue as well as luminous cherry trees and colorful begonias in the summer. To celebrate this milestone, Scully & Scully, New York's fine home furnishings store, asked the Fund For Park Avenue committee members to design table settings inspired by spring tulips.

Because of the Fund for Park Avenue's success, not only has New York City planted over three million tulips but over eight million bulbs all over New York. "It's basically a flower for every New Yorker," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "This is a program that has been imitated but not duplicated in many cities." In fact, flowers have a calming protective power. "I've never heard of a fist fight in front of tulips," he quipped.

Why not use spring's tulips as inspiration to set a table at your own home, As poet Silvana Krculic wrote, "If I was a tulip, And you were wind's wings, I would not count my broken dreams, But bless the coming spring."

Hopefully this will inspire you to have this floral theme at your own dinner table to mark the new season. Tip-toe through these tulip designs and see the ways celebrated designers and hostesses mixed and matched dinner plates, florals and objet d'art to create pleasing presentations.

Entertaining Secrets: Tulip-Inspired Tablesettings

All photos from Laurie Lambrecht for Scully & Scully