A Touch of the Exotic grown in the UK

IMG_5403I went to the market to buy my weekly flowers with an image in my head of late Summer English bunches of daisy type flowers which I was planning to make a natural loose round design for the centre of the table.  Instead when I went to the stall which sells flowers grown in Bedfordshire I couldn’t resist these hot pink flowers with their contrasting glossy dark stems.  As they had a tropical look to them I added a bunch of Alstroemeria in a dusky pink with a lime centre.  I found out the pink flower is an outdoor variety of Amaryllis or Belladonna lily.

I wanted to show of the beautiful stems of these flowers as well as leave space around the strong flowers so created a linear hand-tie which I then added more flowers and foliage to around the base of the design.  The design sits in a tall tapered silver vase.  The Amaryllis are an unusual flower I hadn’t seen before but you could use any flower with a strong form instead, good alternatives at this time of year would be Anthuriums, Agapanthus, Callas, or Gerberas.

How to Create

I removed all the lower leaves from the Alstroemeria, simply run you hand from just below the top set of leaves down to the bottom of the stem.  Cut a length of string ready.  Then in one hand create your design, start with the smallest flower at the top, then stagger the flowers with the biggest bloom at the base, I interspersed the Amaryllis with a stem of Alstro, with another at the base.  It doesn’t matter if you need a few attempts before you are happy and you can slightly reposition/turn the flowers even when tied.  I then tied my string around the stems below the bottom flower to hold the stems in place.

I held the flowers against my vase to judge where to cut the stems, if possible cut the each stem diagonally to improve water uptake.  I wanted to finish the design with some foliage with a tropical look, so I removed a Dracena and Yucca leaf from my houseplants!  Houseplants are a great source for a glossy tropical leaf another very useful plant is the Aspidistra, just don’t pick too many!  I rolled the Dracena leaf and created a pin with some wire (you could use any garden wire if you don’t have floristry wire or even staple in place).  I fed this stem into the string at the front of the design and put the Yucca leaf into the back.

When I put my flowers in the vase there were some gaps at the top of the vase, I put in some more Alstro cut to sit just above the top of the vase.  I diluted some flower food and poured into the vase.



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