YESTERDAY, I asked floral-designer Erin Brady to raid my garden. Why? Because I wanted to show you how common flowers and greenery can be turned into sumptuous arrangements for the house. As a matter of fact, Erin used only zinnias, hydrangeas, roses, phlox and greenery to make the “Victorian” display for my entrance hall table (pictured above). The procedure, and lots of flower-arranging tips:
Tip: To get the longest vase-life out of garden flowers, cut them early in the morning. Then immediately plunge the stems into water.
First, select a vase! It should be tall and fairly wide. I used the cast-iron urn that has been standing — empty — in my garden for many years. The urn seemed grateful to finally have a purpose in life.
Unfortunately, the urn had an open bottom, and thus would not hold water. To be useful for flowers, it would need a liner of some kind.
It also weighed a ton. You should have heard poor Erin groan as she carried it down the hill, and into my kitchen. Probably I should have offered to help.
Okay, I carried the urn down the hill and into the kitchen. Groaning all the while.
Next, stuff your container with (thoroughly soaked) blocks of Oasis. Oasis is a water-absorbing foam.
Erin placed one Oasis block in the center of the tub, and then wedged it in place with two smaller blocks.
You can find both Oasis and florist tape at craft stores. Or, you can order them from Amazon.
It’s arranging-time, baby! Grab some lacy-leaved ferns, and plunge them along 3 sides of the Oasis block. Erin used several stems of “New York” and “Royal” ferns she found in my Woodland Garden.
Then stick boughs of cedar or arborvitae between the ferns, and along the sides and back of the block. The boughs pictured above are Thuja ‘Green Giant’ — my favorite shrub for making neighbors disappear.
Next, insert some green and white hydrangeas. Use long stems for a puddling (or “drooping”) effect at the front and sides of the arrangement. Shorten the stems to make some of the hydrangeas stand up.
And what would a summer display be without zinnias? Erin peppered the arrangement with the ‘Royal Purple’ heirloom zinnias that grow in my Kitchen Garden.
Tip: With zinnias and other hollow-stemmed flowers, be sure to cut the stems with a sharp knife. Scissors will only pinch the stems, and hinder their ability to take up water.
Shall we review the common (but uncommonly beautiful) flowers and greens in the above arrangement? Here goes:
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