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.

 

 

Early Spring Scents

IMG_5520By the time I got to the supermarket this week the best flowers had sold out, so instead I looked at what was in my garden.  At this time of year flowers are delicate and sometimes inconspicuous and can be easy to miss, but brought inside and put in a little vase or cup can be really appreciated.  They also can have an amazing scent, just a little sprig can fill a room with fragrance.  I found Winter Box, Sarcococca confusa which is coming to an end of its flowering, but still had some of its tiny fragrant flowers and shiny black berries.  I also cut a piece of Daphne, whose pink flowers fill my garden with a strong scent.  The hellebore although unscented, I floated in a small cup so I could see its lovely subtle colouring.

IMG_5523Other scented flowers you may find in your garden are, Winter Iris, Witch Hazel, Viburnum bodnantense, hyacinths, daffodils, some crocus and a little later some varieties of tulips.  Just pick what catches your eye or nose!

 

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!

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.

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.