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.


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.




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

Simple Quick Gerberas


This week I wanted to create a quick versatile design using Gerberas.  I bought my flowers at Springtime Nurseries, Crews Hill near Enfield, North London.  This garden centre has a refrigerated room full of quality and affordable flowers and foliage as well as some floristry equipment and accessories. It is worth a visit if you want to find something different or if you need to buy a bigger quantity for an event or party, and unlike the wholesalers it is open to the public.

Springtime Nurseries

I wanted to create a natural prairie look so added some grass from the garden to add movement.  You could alternatively add some dried accessories, in this photo I have used the bizarrely named “ting ting”, which comes in numerous colours – you can sometimes find it or similar dried accessories in Wilkinson’s or other household shops.

img_5409You can display these vases in numerous ways, in a line down the centre of a table, on a windowsill, mantlepiece or clustered together in a group.

How to Create

Find a group of vases, bottles or other containers and make sure they are clean – Gerbera are sensitive to bacteria more on this below.

Cut at various heights on the diagonal each Gerbera stem, cutting some just above the rim of the vase. I put 2 in each vase but there aren’t any rules. Cut your grasses or dried accessory, add to the vases.  Dilute flower food and add to each vase, not too deep.  Arrange the vases to suit your home or occasion.

Gerberas – how to look after them

gerberaThese daisy like flowers come in a wide range of vibrant colours, also available as Germini – mini Gerberas.  They do have a tendancy to wilt with a “bent neck”- to avoid this,

Look at the stems not just the flowers when you are buying them, check they look strong and undamaged.

Make sure your vases are clean, after using vases wash with warm water and very diluted bleach.  Keep your scissors clean, put them in the dishwasher occasionally.

Use flower food if possible, it contains anti-bacterial agents.  Don’t make the water too deep, but keep the level topped up.

As with all flowers they will last longer if kept out of direct sunlight, in a cool room away from fruit (which release ethylene which speeds decay)

Wiring Gerberas

If you buy your flowers from a florist they may offer to wire the Gerberas for you.  This is to support and strengthen the stem to help prevent the “bent neck” problem Gerberas are prone to.  I would say this is worthwhile if you want to display the flowers with long stems or use them in a floral arrangement which needs precise placement of the flowers, but outside of this should not be necessary for a more casual design.

Quick Flowers for Summer Dining


If you are having friends round for dinner and want to decorate the table with flowers I find it is best to choose a low compact design.  By using a set of vases you can group the flowers to suit the space on your table, whether it is in a line or clustered together.  For this design I chose “Sweet Williams” but you could use bloom carnations instead.

How to create

I used 3 glass cube vases only 7cm tall, but you could use any shaped vase providing it is low and open topped or mix a collection of small vases – odd numbers tend to look better.  Make sure the vases are clean, cut one of the stems so the flower sits just above the top of the vase – then use this stem as a guide and cut all the others.  Remove any remaining leaves.  Fill the vases with water and place on your table.

Sweet Williams

Are a variety of the Dianthus species shared by carnations. Their flat clustered heads lend themselves to this design.  They can have quite a traditional cottage garden look, but used on their own in simple vases become contemporary blocks of colour.  They have a light clove fragrance.

Introducing Flowerclippings

Each week I will add a simple flower design I have made for my home with tips on how to create for yourself and look after the flowers I have chosen.  The flowers will usually be from a supermarket or local market so should be easy to buy and affordable.  I try to use seasonal flowers or at least reflect the seasons in the design.  If I use something more unusual or from my garden, I will offer alternatives.

Vibrant Summer

IMG_5373This week, Summer finally arrived in the U.K. so I was inspired to buy some vibrant orange LA lilies,  I wanted to add some movement and height to the design so picked some ornamental grass from my garden.  If you can’t find this you could buy some grasses or palms from a florist, or add some dried accessories, anything to create height.  This design looks great on a kitchen island but could also go on the table – anywhere with some space around it.

How to create

I used a tapered square sided vase 30cm high, but you could use a column vase instead. Make sure your vase is clean.  I added some stones in the bottom of the vase this helps hold the stems in position and makes the vase more stable.  Just put a few in the bottom at first.  Remove all the lower leaves on the lily stems – any leaves below the water line create bacteria and reduces how long your flowers will last.  Recut each stem on the diagonal before placing it in the vase.

As my design was going to be mainly viewed from the front, I started with the stem with the least open flowers, this I placed centrally towards the back of the design.  I then added the other stems at staggered heights finishing with an open flower facing me.  (If your vase is also going to be viewed from the back, make sure some of the blooms face out this way too.)  I then added some more stones around the stems.  Again I removed any lower leaves on the grass and placed these around the lilies pushing into the stones.  I diluted the flower food that came with the flowers and poured into the vase.

IMG_5377A little extra…as one of the flower heads had bent over I cut it off and put in a small open vase with some the grass twisted around it. A nice neat centrepiece for the table or maybe a desk.  You can enjoy watching the bloom open up.

LA Lilies

These lilies are a hybrid of longiflorum lilies and  asiatic lilies, they don’t have any fragrance which some people find overpowering in other lilies and have big open flowers. You still need to be careful of the pollen marking fabric – although it adds a lovely contrasting reddish brown if left on the flower – it is best to remove the pollen just as each flower opens.  Just pick it off, if the pollen has gone powdery protect your fingers with a tissue to avoid staining.

Remember lilies are toxic if eaten by cats.