There's a just-right point to cut tulips in the garden, in order to get maximum enjoyment indoors. I find that if I wait too long, my tulips will be spent within a couple of days of bringing indoors.
These tulips, right here, are right where I like to cut them. The buds are tightly closed, having never opened. If I cut them at this point, bring them in and pop into a vase of water, overnight, they become "perfect" barely-bloomed tulips, like the below photo.
With recutting the stems and changing the water, every day to every other day, they will be beautiful for an entire week. And yes, with tulips, I do cut the leaves with the stems, and submerge in the water, leaves and stems, all. It gives the bunch a fuller look, I think. And as tulips will only last, once cut, for about a week, anyway, I don't feel I'm shortening their "life" in the water any.
With each water change, I also give the tulips a pinch of floral preservative. If you don't have any floral preservative, there's a recipe for homemade preservative/food in this post.
Happy April, everyone! I hope you have tulips in your area now, or very soon!