Vase inside a Vase

img_5496Spring arrives early in the world of cut flowers – so this week the best flowers in the supermarket were these red tulips.  I still wanted to keep an element of Winter to the design so added sheets of silver birch bark.  To do this I used two cube vases and put the bark in between.  You could also fill the gap with moss, stems of pussy willow or cornus, or as we get closer to Spring lime coloured sisal or raffia. You could also use a round vase with any round beaker or jar inside.

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How to create

Find two containers of similar size, check one will sit inside the other.  Choose your material to go between the layers – if you are using stems of twigs cut them to fit the height of the vase, then add them vertically until each side is filled.  I have overlapped the bark and put it in at different angles so it wasn’t too uniform.  Hold a handful of tulips so the flowers are at a similar height then cut the stems so the flowers will be just above the vase, put upright in the vase and repeat until it is full, (I used two supermarket bunches). I kept quite a lot of leaf on the tulips to make them sturdy, break up the red and fill the vase easier.  My tulips aren’t perfectly even in height, its up to you how regular you want them to be.  Dilute your flower food in cold water and add to the inner vase.

Arranging tulips

Tulips offer us an amazing variety of forms and colours, are readily available and inexpensive.  Select the ones with nice strong stems and tight flowers, then you will get the full pleasure as they open and you can see their spectacular centres.

Tulips are phototropic and bend towards the light, to keep your stems straight to start off with – don’t unwrap the flowers straightaway keep them tight in their wrap and stand in cold water for a while.  You will also notice that tulips continue to grow even after being cut! Either enjoy the developing design as the flowers grow into new positions – or take out of the vase and recut the stems.

January Simplicity – Floating flowers

img_5477After the excess of the Christmas decorations, I went for a simple, fresh design.  I was able to keep some of the amaryllis flowers from last week’s design; as I had just a few individual blooms on a short stem the ideal design was to float them in a bowl.  A low bowl with floating flowers looks lovely on a coffee table, or as a table centre for a party.  You could use lilies or for a more fun look, gerbera.  This is also a perfect way to display hellebores, which should be appearing in gardens soon.  In this design I used glass cubes, but you could vary what you put in the vase – from natural stones to more glittery accessories.  The advantage of this design is it forces you to appreciate the flower close up – this particular flower made me think of a Georgia O’Keefe painting and of course her words…

okeefe“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the
moment.”

 

How to create

img_5478A very simple design to create.  Put your glass or stones in the bowl.  Cut off the flower heads with minimal stem. Add water then float the flowers on top.

New Year Glitter

img_5471I in fact created this design for a pre-Christmas party, but this would also be perfect for a New Year’s party.  The white amaryllis (hippeastrum) should be bought in bud, they will open into beautiful large blooms that have a pearlescent finish.  I love the combination of lime green with the white.

mont-blancI added silver glitter twigs and in the bottom of the vase, glass nuggets shaped like icecubes.  Just before the party I added submersible lights to the water – which made the whole vase light up.  If you wanted a less glittery design for going into January you could swap the glitter twigs for pussy willow or contorted willow instead.

How to Create

I used a heavy vase that would support the weight of the flowers and twigs.  I put a few of the glass nuggets in the vase.  I cut one of the twigs longer than the rest to give height to the centre of the design and put this roughly in the middle.  Don’t worry if at this stage the twigs don’t stand up.  To prepare the amaryllis, cut them to the length you want then to prevent the stems splitting and curling – put sellotape around the bottom of each stem.  Add the twigs and amaryllis to the vase checking it looks good from different angles.  To help support the stems hold in the correct position and add more of the glass nuggets to the vase directing them to the base of the stem.  Ideally dilute bulb flower food and add to the vase, otherwise add water to cover the glass cubes.

Supporting Amaryllis

After a while you may find the stems of the amaryllis can’t support the weight of the flowers and the stems fold over – in this design I was able to tuck the flower heads through the twigs to give them extra support.  An alternative method is to put a cane or stick inside the hollow stem of the amaryllis.

 

Winter Ivy with Roses

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This design has the classic Winter/Christmas colour scheme of red and green, made even more seasonal by combining the red roses with berried ivy and hypericum berries.  The dozen fairtrade roses came from a supermarket and had a lovely velvety texture, I picked the berried ivy from my garden, but this should be easy to find in local woods and parks.  The hypericum berries and pittosporum were from a previous weeks arrangement, but you could add any berries and foliage – look out for foliage that will lighten up the arrangement you could use eucalyptus or any white/silver foliage from your garden.  I chose to use a large fish bowl vase and create a round design, but this combination of flowers would also look good in any glass or metallic vase – again something with shine lightens the dark flowers.

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How to create

img_5463Remove all the lower leaves and thorns from the roses.  To do this hold the rose upright near the top and move a small knife downwards to take off any leaves and thorns, try not to damage the stems.  As it was over a week old I removed any shriveled berries from the hypericum and removed the lower leaves from the other foliage.  For this all round design I started with the largest rose and added the other flowers and foliage in a spiral – angling each stem, I grouped the hypericum and ivy together so it would have more impact.  When I was happy with the design I tied off with string to hold in place then cut the stems at an angle so it would sit nicely in the vase.  Finally I diluted the flower food and added to my vase.  If arranging the flowers this way sounds too tricky create a more casual look by arranging in the vase, start with any heavy foliage then add the rest stem by stem – again try to have the largest flowers in the centre and group your ivy and berries rather than scattering them through the design.

Forecourt flowers!

 

img_5457Short on time this week – I ended up having to buy flowers in a petrol station – luckily for me the shop attached to the petrol station was a “little Waitrose”, so they had more on offer than what you would usually expect in this type of shop!

I bought this lovely Autumnal bunch of flowers, which would also make a great impromptu gift as it was nicely wrapped.img_5454

There was a real mix of flowers; gerbera, roses, snapdragon, hypericum berries, brassica, solidago, alstroemeria, wax flower even the more exotic kangaroo paw!  I was drawn to the rich Autumnal shades, purple with red, orange and gold and the mix of textures.  As there was such a variety I decided to go for a casual picked from the garden look – I chose a low, thick glass pot, you could also use a collection of jam jars or a big storage jar.  The opening of my vase was possibly a bit wide so the flowers fell out to the sides a bit, but fortunately it gave the design the relaxed look I was aiming for!  You can create this with any mixed bunch of flowers the more variety the better.

How to Create

img_5461Remove the wrapping and any lower leaves.  You can either arrange in your vase/container cutting each stem and adding one by one –  or if you prefer arrange in your hand first before cutting and putting in the vase.  Either way start with the bulky foliage, in this case pittosporum, then add the flowers in any order you wish.  You will probably want the boldest flower (in this case the gerbera) somewhere near the centre of the design.  Cut each stem on the diagonal and use the provided flower food.

Kangaroo Paw

kangaroo-crop
As its name suggests, Kangaroo Paw Anigozanthos is an Australian flower – it mainly comes in reds, oranges, lime and yellow and has a lovely fuzzy texture as well as an interesting shape that breaks up the round shape of many flowers.

from Autumn to Winter

Looking outside on a clear crisp day – we are definitely moving from Autumn to Winter and I am looking forward to a change in colour palette, selection of fresh materials and accessories which will of course get more Christmassy as we get nearer to Christmas.

Autumn Leaves for Halloween

halloweenAutumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower – Albert Camus

My front garden has been full of amazingly coloured sycamore leaves, which I wanted to use in a Halloween/Autumn design.  With an inexpensive bunch of bi-colour red/yellow roses and alstroemeria from the supermarket and of course a pumpkin (expertly carved by my daughter and friend); I hope to have captured the flaming reds and oranges you can see outside at this time of year.  If you don’t have time to create the leaf collar the flowers looked good without this extra finish.

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How to Create

Unwrap the flowers, remove any lower leaves –  I also had to remove some thorns from the roses using a small knife.  I had collected some leaves the day before so they had a chance to dry out a bit.  I created a circle of roses and altroemeria in my hand, put the biggest rose in the centre.  When I was happy with the shape I tied the flowers together using string/raffia.  Choose any vase tall or short with an opening not too big for the flowers.  Holding the stems against my tank vase, I cut the stems so the flowers would sit just above the neck of the vase.  Dilute the flower food and add to the vase.

To create the leaf collar, I cut a length of decorative copper wire (you could use garden wire instead) and threaded through each leaf, (I removed the stalks first).  You will have what looks like a leaf garland.  Tuck the beginning of the wire into the top corner of the vase – you might need to push away the first leaves to create some bare wire.  Then holding the wire and leaves across the top of the vase, just separate the leaves a little so they form a collar around the flowers, it’s good to have some overlapping and different angles they don’t have to be perfect!  Tuck the end of the wire into the vase to hold in place.

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Making more of Chrysanthemums

img_5440Although available all year round, Autumn is the classic time associated with Chrysanthemums.  Unfortunately they have become associated with the last minute bedraggled bunch grabbed at the garage or a stiff old fashioned arrangement, but can be made to look interesting even stylish!

Follow these tips to get a great design with spray chrysanthemums

Avoid showing a lot of the stem – the stems aren’t very attractive so you can

img_5438Hide them in an opaque container, line the container with leaves, or cover your vase with something; could be raffia, fabric, paper…

Or cut them short and cluster together in a low vase

Or mix with other stems so they aren’t as obvious.

The flowers are at different heights

Work with this and create a casual style mixed with other flowers and maybe grasses

Cut the individual flowers off the main stem, and use in little vases like daisies – or cut really short and float in a bowl

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Mix the textures

Mix in some smooth textures, shiny berries, smooth leaves, pebbles or a shiny container

Colour

I have used a white and green chrysanth – to keep a monochromatic scheme with the green hypericum berries, but of course there are loads of more Autumnal shades available from oranges, reds through to plums.

This website has loads of ideas http://www.justchrys.com/inspiration.php

A really long lasting flower – Chrysanthemums have a vase life of seven to 14 days, sometimes longer,

How to Create

Design in glass fishbowl (top image)

Remove all the lower leaves from the chrysanths and hypericum.  Remove any lower flowers on the chrysanths put these to one side to put in a little vase.  Remove some of the top leaves on the chrysanths and hypericum that are hiding the flowers/berries.

Group the chrysanth stems together – so they form a slight dome

Group the berries together and add these to the side of flowers, angling the stems

Add the leaves around the flowers/berries to form a collar.  I used laurel from the garden but any shiny leaves would work, rolled/folded aspidistra or fatsia leaves would work well.

Tie at the binding point with some string.

Cut the stems so the flowers sit at the right height in the vase.

Dilute some flower food and add to the vase.