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.

 

 

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.

 

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!

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.

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.