There are many ways to propose marriage—a ring dropped in champagne, a beach at sunset, a short and sweet Tweet— but graduate student John Gottula found a creative way to let a bed of tulips speak for him.

Back in October, he planted a message on the vegetable crops plot on Research North using only red tulips.

“I thought it would be an appropriately horticultural approach,” said Gottula, a graduate student working on Grapevine fanleaf virus with Marc Fuchs.

Winter was kind to the bulbs—he didn’t lose any letters to deer or squirrels—but when he took his girlfriend Kelly Voll to check on the SAGES garden plot one Saturday morning  in April, she had good reasons to refuse the ruse. It was 45 degrees with driving rain.

“It took a lot of convincing to get her out of the pickup,” said Gottula. “I had to really insist.”

However, standing on the bed of the pickup with Gottula on bended knee, she could see the real reason for their visit. His marriage proposal–“Marry me, Kelly”– was spelled out in tulips. She said yes to living happily and horticulturally ever after.