Ornamental cabbage bouquet

IMG_0075[1]Cabbages aren’t the first thing we would think to add to a vase, but the ornamental cabbage offers vibrant colour and a form not unlike a rose.  This flower arrangement of ornamental cabbages, lilies and alstroemeria has intense berry shades associated with autumn.  I added some cerise aluminium wire to add a smooth and shiny texture to the design, but for a more natural alternative you could add some berries or glossy leaves.  Choose a solid vase that can support the weight of the cabbages and use flower food in your vase to help slow down the decay and avoid any cabbage smell!  You may need to change the water after a few days.

How to create an ornamental cabbage floral design

IMG_0077[1]Unwrap your flowers and remove all lower leaves.  Starting with the heavier stems of the cabbages create a group in your hand, add the lilies then complete the circular shape by filling in with groups of the alstroemeria.  As my flowers were going to sit in a cylindrical vase I tied them quite high up the stems to hold the flower heads closely together, showing off the long purple stems below.  Cut the stems so the flowers sit just above the rim of the vase – you will need secateurs to cut through the thicker stems.  Add the diluted flower food – this vase needed 2 litres.  If using the decorative wire curl it around the flower heads and tuck the ends into the design.

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2 quick Gladioli designs

1. Tall designIMG_0054

Make the most of the long dramatic spears, by using a tall tapered vase;

Remove any lower leaves, cut on the diagonal and then add a stem at a time, making sure they are in each corner and in the centre of the vase.  Twist and angle so you can see flowers from each side.  I finished off the design with some lime green dried spikes to add more height and movement – any long material would do the same – such as grasses.

2. Low compact design

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Perfect for smaller spaces – or when the lower flowers have dried out;

Remove any lower leaves and dried flowers, and cut down the stems on an angle so the blooms appear just above the top of the vase. I added stones to help position the stems then add each stem so spread through the vase with the blooms facing outwards.

Have a look at another contemporary gladioli design..

 

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!