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Science-y love blooms into 250-tulip proposal

True love flowers at Cornell University as a horticultural-minded grad student digs in deep to plant a colorful marriage proposal.

tulip proposal couple
Sometimes life is a bed of tulips. John Gottula

John Gottula is a patient man. His proposal to girlfriend Kelly Voll took more than six months. No, this wasn't the slowest knee-lowering in history. It was a carefully hatched horticultural plot.

When it comes to geek love, we've come across proposals involving Super Mario, iPhone apps, "Back to the Future," and Twitter. Gottula, a graduate research assistant in plant pathology and plant-microbe biology at Cornell University, turned to his science background in horticulture for inspiration.

"I've heard of men proposing by hiring a pilot and popping the question with a banner. That's expensive; plus I don't have a flair for aeronautics," Gottula tells Crave. "Planting flowers to spell out a proposal seemed more like a horticultural way of doing it."

Gottula planted 250 red tulip bulbs in a Cornell research field in October in the shape of the words, "Marry me Kelly." He then waited for the tulips to bloom in mid-April before taking his soon-to-be fiance out to see them.

"Once I decided to plant flowers, tulips were a no-brainer because like cultivars bloom uniformly and provide a solid splash of color. Astilbes or Gypsophilia don't give you that!" Gottula says.

It was an impressive enough display to get him a "yes." "When I saw the proposal, I thought it was the most amazing way to propose I'd ever seen, and I've seen a lot of chick flicks," Voll tells Crave. She was impressed both with Gottula's planting skills and his ability to keep a secret.

When asked about advice for science types when it comes to creating a unique proposal, Gottula has plenty of ideas. "A purveyor of prokaryotes can streak a petri plate with the question," he suggests, "or a physics whiz can beam a laser with the inquiry onto a wall. Astronomers can ask by taping the question to the end of a telescope shell."

tulip proposal
It took a lot of tulips to spell out "Marry me Kelly." John Gottula

(Via Cornell Station News)