For Jon Meacham’s visit to the house today, I needed a large, colorful arrangement for the entrance hall. After all, what better way to greet the editor of Newsweek Magazine and the author of the bestselling American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House? Anne Schomaker, a friend and professional flower-designer, volunteered her considerable skills for the job. Would you like to see how she transformed my blue and white Chinese porcelain urn, above, into a masterful picture of fragrant pink lilies and handsome greens?
Large bowl, vase or urn.
Assorted greens. For this project, Anne selected 7 stems each of leather fern, palm-, and huckleberry- branches. Your neighborhood florist can usually provide these.
One dozen Star Gazer lilies, with 4 unopen buds on each stem. Soak the lilies in a bucket of water overnight, set in the warmest room of your home. This will cause most of the buds to open. Always remove the pollen-tipped stamens from open buds — the pollen, as it falls, tends to stain whatever it touches.
1-3 blocks of Oasis.
Making the arrangement:
Soak oasis in water, until the blocks have absorbed all the moisture they can. Then insert the blocks into your chosen container.
Into the oasis, insert the greenery, always aiming for a fan-shape. You can not possibly have too many greens for a large-scale arrangement. Once all of the greens are in place, the oasis blocks should not be visible.
Insert lilies. For stems with one or two open buds, and an equal number of closed ones, insert with closed buds to the rear. This, says Anne, will keep the stems from shifting forward. Continue adding lily stems throughout the greens, always striving for a balanced effect.
If the arrangement is displayed in a room that is neither hot nor dry, and fresh water is added daily, the lilies will last for about a week. The greenery, however, will last much longer. My own special trick with such an arrangement is to remove the flowers as they fade, but to keep the green foundation intact. Then it is easy enough to replace old flowers with new.
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