“Pink and white carnations — one desires so much more than that.”
As Wallace Stevens puts it in “The Poems of our Climate,” sometimes we want more than just carnations. Beyond the usual roses and peonies, there are many plants in our gardens that make gorgeous arrangements. I recently had some fun walking around my garden, choosing unconventional plants — no carnations — to bring indoors to enjoy.
1) Just like we mix interesting foliage with flowers in the garden, look beyond the big blooms for your bouquets. Hosta leaves, herbs and variegated foliage from shrubs all make pretty arrangements on their own or when mixed with a few flowers. Think about what you plan for in a container or garden bed and try to do the same on a smaller scale in a vase: A combination of height, maybe something trailing, colour, pattern, texture and scent.
2) Take blooms from plants where you won’t miss them. Perhaps a plant in the back corner or from an annual that will keep flowering even after you snip a few stems. Be strategic; you don’t want to disturb the plant or the look of your garden. But don’t be afraid to take from your garden — it’s yours to enjoy, indoors or out.
3) Vase life varies from plant to plant. Hosta leaves can last for several weeks, but you can switch out the accompanying flowers as they go past their prime and update the original arrangement several times. To keep your plants looking their best, use a water additive. If you don’t have any extra powdered additives left over from bouquets you’ve bought in the past, add about a teaspoon (5 mL) each of lemon juice, bleach and sugar to your vase. Clear the lower parts of stems of leaves and flowers so there’s nothing to rot beneath the water’s surface. Refresh water daily (I say that, but rarely remember to do it more than a couple times a week) and keep your arrangements out of direct sunlight.
These are beautiful ideas! I love how these tips have transformed some simple flowers into gorgeous and vibrant bouquets! I’m actually here myself because I’m trying to get some inspiration for my parents wedding anniversary. They’ve been married 30 years now so they’re having a big soiree/ evening do for it. My mum has always loved flowers so I really want to have them all around the room but I’m not good enough to pull off bouquets like this, which is why I think I will need a florist. There’s one near me called Urban Design Flowers which has had some great reviews from what I can see. Has anyone else used them at all? I’d love to see some examples of their flowers if anyone has any pictures from any events they’ve done!
Just LOVE your arrangements. They are stunning. I try to do the same with my flowers/plants. One question, for the hosta leaves – do you just cut off the leaf at the bottom of the stem? I have many varieties of hostas and love the idea of bringing them into the house as part of a flower arrangement with my other flowering plants!! Especially, when as you say, they last a long time.
Thanks for your great ideas. Love your articles and always look forward to reading them… Also thought your raised bed with the cement blocks was a novel idea. I actually did something similar in a flower bed, using the blocks as a low retaining wall and planted small plants in the holes, just as you recommended!!
Happy Gardening!! Despite the wet summer 🙁
Kat Fox says
Thanks Beverley! I cut the hosta leaves off at the bottom of the stems, so the missing leaves aren’t obvious on the plant. Then I trim the stems to the length I need. I have hosta leaves arranged in a vase that have been inside for almost a month now, and they look almost as good as the day I cut them.
I love my raised veggie bed of cinder blocks – planting things in the holes was a lot of fun. Using them as edging for a flower bed is clever. So practical, but also cool-looking! I’m going to post an update of that raised bed of mine later this week, along with some photos.The herbs and flowers have been quite happy living in the cinder blocks!
Annette Hamm says
Love these arrangement ideas from the garden. Would you like to share them with our viewers on Morning Live on CHCH in Hamilton? Let me know!