The Walking Dead: Look at the tulips

Photo Credit: Gene Page,, TWD Productions LLC
Photo Credit: Gene Page,, TWD Productions LLC /

The Walking Dead‘s season 6 mid-season finale opened with a record player spinning “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”. Contrary to popular belief, it was not Tiny Tim’s version of the tune, but rather one by Nick Lucas according to But I digress.

The song had me thinking about many occasions that flowers have been used throughout The Walking Dead. You can see that I combined two such occasions in the title of this post. Some instances have had more meaning than others. Some could be considered Easter eggs for which many fans are always on alert.

Let’s take a look at each season to see how flowers have played a role in The Walking Dead.

Photo Credit: Scott Garfield,, TWD Productions LLC
Photo Credit: Scott Garfield,, TWD Productions LLC /

Season 1

While Rick is still in a coma, Shane brings flowers to Rick’s bedside, flowers given by his colleagues at the police station. As Rick later awakens from the coma, we see the same vase of flowers all dried with fallen petals.

Clearly the change in the flowers is a device used to show the passage of time. But one might also suggest that the dead flowers represent the death of the world Rick knew before his hospitalization.

Season 2

In season 2 we were introduced to the Cherokee Rose. It even earned the title of an episode. As Daryl tells Carol the story of the flower blooming where the Cherokee mothers’ tears fell, he is expressing compassion for Carol and hope at the same time over Sophia being lost. A bond, whatever it may be called, is formed between the two.

Later in the season, Daryl takes Carol to the site of the flowers and she expresses confidence that they will find Sophia. Of course, we know the story ends with walker Sophia coming out of the barn. And the next time Carol goes to the flower site, she uproots them in anguish.

Season 3

I do not recall a lot of flower imagery in season 3.  But the Governor’s garden is one that did come to mind, as well as the flowers at Woodbury Town Hall.  The beauty of the flowers along with lemonade and a cookout made it difficult for Andrea (but not Michonne) to recognize the Governor’s duplicity.

Season 4

We see several flower scenes in season 4. As Carl and Michonne search homes for necessities, Michonne admires a painting of a sunflower. The next painting she sees is much more ominous. It is a woman (with a hairstyle eerily similar to Terminus Mary) covered in blood. One might suggest that the pretty sunflower followed by the bloodied woman foreshadows the horrors that Michonne finds in the next room.

Photo Credit: AMC/The Walking Dead - scree
PhotoCredit: AMC/The Walking Dead – screen capture from S4E11 /

Season 4 also brings us the story of Lizzie and “look at the flowers”, first at the prison when Lizzie’s father must be put down, again when Lizzie and Mika are waiting for Carol and Tyreese to clear the house at the pecan grove, and one more time when Carol shoots Lizzie. In all cases, the flowers serve as a distraction from something very painful.

Speaking of distraction, remember the sunflower and bloodied woman paintings? Perhaps these were a foreshadowing of Terminus where we find sunflowers at the entrance and then Mary. The sunflowers at Terminus were part of its long con of pretending to be a sanctuary. It most certainly was not.

Season 5

Season 5 brings us Carol’s fabulous sweaters, one of which was famously floral patterned. Once again, themes of distraction and duplicity are represented by flowers. Carol goes undercover in her floral sweater playing the role of a happy homemaker, all the while sizing up her neighbors in Alexandria.

Photo Credit: AMC/The Walking Dead - screen capture from S5E13 'Forget'
Photo Credit: AMC/The Walking Dead – screen capture from S5E13 ‘Forget’ /

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Season 6

In the first half of season 6, we see more flowers in our survivors’ stories.  Eastman had some sunflower decor in his cabin, perhaps harkening back to Terminus and secrets. While Eastman turns out to be a decent man, he definitely held secrets that he finally shared with Morgan.

The Cherokee Rose makes another appearance in season 6 episode 6 on the walker who charges at Daryl while he famously struggles with the duffel bag. Somehow he manages to defeat said bag and retrieves his crossbow for protection.

And, finally we have the song “Tip Toe Through the Tulips” playing while walkers storm Alexandria. Perhaps the song represents Sam’s naïveté and innocence before having to face the bloody, gory, and terrifying reality of the “monsters”. The lyrics could be perceived as a bit stalkerish, but nevertheless create a stark contrast between a child’s innocence and the horrors of the undead.

What other ways have flowers been used in The Walking Dead to help tell the story? Are there are other devices used similarly throughout the series? Do you enjoy analyzing the imagery and looking for so-called Easter eggs? Or do you enjoy the story at face value and think that some of us read too much into it? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section!