Sweet Williams

IMG_0016At this time of year Sweet Williams are plentiful and affordable.  Part of the Dianthus, family they share the same long-lasting qualities as carnations.  They can be mixed with roses, stocks and other early Summer flowers or just used on their own.  I like to add some lime green foliage or flowers to brighten the deep magentas, violets and reds.

For this design I used some spotted laurel from my garden, which also added a shiny element to offset the fluffy texture of the Sweet Williams.  It is really easy to create a rounded dome design with these flowers.

For another design with Sweet Williams that is more compact and even quicker to make have a look at Quick Flowers for Summer Dining

How to create

Unwrap then remove all the lower leaves from the Sweet Williams, there will be a lot of them!  For this size of design I used two bunches.

Prepare any foliage in the same way.

Starting with the heavier stems, start creating a bunch in your hand, keep adding stems to create a roughly domed circle.

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Either intersperse your flowers with some lime green flowers or foliage – or add around the outside at the end to create a collar effect.

Hold your flowers against the vase to judge how short the stems need to be.  Then cut the stems, if you can cut diagonally.  Put in the vase then fill with water or if available diluted flower food.

These flowers should last for at least a week.

 

 

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6 quick and easy ways to arrange Tulips

Tulips are easy to find in the shops, affordable, come in every colour and suit a wide range of designs.  Follow the links for more ideas, and step by step instructions on how to quickly create a beautiful tulip design to suit your home, from cool simplicity to a riot of movement and colour.

  1. Tulips in a bowltulipglobe
  2. Tulips CubeIMG_0102
  3. Hand tie in a globe vasetulipvase
  4. Mix with other Spring flowersimg_5503
  5. Tulips inside Cylinder Vase tulipcylinder
  6. Tulips and bark, vase inside a vase img_5496

Tulips Cube

IMG_0105Tulips are at their height right now in our parks and gardens.  This is a quick and easy compact design that celebrates the vibrant colour range and variety that tulips offer.  I grouped the colours together to create impact but you could scatter the different colours through the vase for a softer look.

How to Create a Tulip Cube

IMG_0102I used a small 9 cm glass cube for a dozen tulips so they would be tightly packed.

I held one tulip against the vase, so the head of the tulip was just above the top and cut to length.  I then used this as a guide to cut all the other tulips.

Grouping the colours together I filled the vase.  Finally I added the grass that came with this bunch of tulips, letting it fall across the flowers.

Add cold water to the vase, or use diluted flower food.

 

 

Tulips inside a bowl

tulipglobeThis is a very simple, but eye catching contemporary design, all you need are some tulips and a fish bowl vase the grass is optional.  The purple version below is in a smaller vase so only used one bunch of tulips.  You can also add pussy willow to complement the tulips.  The glass magnifies the tulips, drawing your eye to the beauty of these Spring flowers.

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How to create

Make sure your fishbowl vase is clean.

If your tulips have been in water leave them out of the water for 1/2 hour so the stems are more flexible

If you are using pussy willow or bear grass, cut off the thicker ends leaving the more flexible stems and curl this into the vase first.

Remove any bulky or damaged leaves from the tulips.  Cut to a length that will allow you to curl into the vase.  Then add your tulips one by one, making sure the stems are towards the bottom.

Turn the vase slightly each time so the flowers are spaced around the vase, vary the heights of the flowers – it looks good if one or two poke out above the rim of the vase.

Dilute your flower food in cold water and pour into the vase, make sure all the stems are in water.

 

Early Spring Scents

IMG_5520By the time I got to the supermarket this week the best flowers had sold out, so instead I looked at what was in my garden.  At this time of year flowers are delicate and sometimes inconspicuous and can be easy to miss, but brought inside and put in a little vase or cup can be really appreciated.  They also can have an amazing scent, just a little sprig can fill a room with fragrance.  I found Winter Box, Sarcococca confusa which is coming to an end of its flowering, but still had some of its tiny fragrant flowers and shiny black berries.  I also cut a piece of Daphne, whose pink flowers fill my garden with a strong scent.  The hellebore although unscented, I floated in a small cup so I could see its lovely subtle colouring.

IMG_5523Other scented flowers you may find in your garden are, Winter Iris, Witch Hazel, Viburnum bodnantense, hyacinths, daffodils, some crocus and a little later some varieties of tulips.  Just pick what catches your eye or nose!

 

Making the Most of Valentine’s Flowers

img_5514If you should receive some lovely flowers for Valentine’s Day here are some tips on how to show them off to their best, and how to ensure they last.

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Hand-ties and Aquapacks

handtie-vaseA hand-tie simply means the florist has arranged the flowers in their hand, spiralling and angling the stems to create the rounded design you see above.  To show off this type of design to its best choose a vase which is wider enough for the stems to remain angled – the more squashed the stems the more the flowers will push together at the top.  I find a fishbowl vase works well, or you can buy a specific hand-tie vase like this.  If your flowers arrive not in water, remember to recut the stems before placing in the vase of water.

Some hand-ties come in an aquapack – which is a cellophane wrapping that holds a ball of water around the stems.  This has the advantage of keeping the flowers constantly in water, with no immediate rush to get the stems into water.  This is how my flowers were packaged.

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It is possible, but not ideal to keep the flowers in the aquapack – but remember to top up the water level by holding the bouquet over a sink and slowly pour water into the centre of the flowers.  It is better if you can to remove the aquapack and put the flowers in a vase.

To remove the aquapack hold the flowers over a sink and pierce the ball of water – let the water drain away.  Remove the outer cellophane packaging, but do not cut through the twine underneath that binds the actual flowers. You will only need to recut the stems if they are too long for your vase.

All Roses

img_5517Whether you receive a bouquet like those above or a single rose, the general care advice is the same.

  • Recut the stems using sharp scissors/secateurs ideally on an angle
  • Remove any lower leaves
  • Use rose flower food if possible – diluted in lukewarm water
  • Find a clean vase that suits the shape of the flower arrangement
  • Keep away from direct heat and sunlight, drafts and fruit
  • Keep the water level topped up
  • Enjoy their rich, velvety beauty

 

Heavenly Hyacinths

img_5501Hyacinths a flower that divides opinion due to its powerful scent; I personally love the fragrance, the delicate bell like florets and the colour especially those in the blue to violet range.  This bunch of soft blue hyacinths and orange tulips create a complementary colour scheme.  I added some twigs for interest, but also to help support the heavy flower heads of the hyacinths.  I used a small fishbowl vase, you could also use a jar, jug or any vase that has quite a small opening that will support and hold together the heavy flowers.

How to Create

Unwrap the flowers, and gently wash off any grit/soil from the stems.  Remove any damaged leaves, but leave some around the bulb flowers to give them extra strength.  Cut some twigs so they will be just longer than the flowers.  Put the twigs into the vase so they point outwards, crossing over in the middle to give a framework.  Add any foliage into the centre.  Cut the hyacinths so they will be just above the top of the vase, put in the vase so they are evenly spread.  Add the tulips, again trying to distribute evenly around the vase.  Dilute the flower food and add to the vase.

Hyacinth Vase Life

Hyacinths will last longer if you are able to leave on the basal base of the stem – however this isn’t always possible if you need them to be shorter you will have to cut the stems!