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.




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.