Teeming with an assortment of brightly hued blooms, this lush and festive arrangement makes an ideal centerpiece for a Mexican-style fiesta. Although most of the flowers Martha uses -- zinnias, salvias, dahlias, and China asters -- originated north of the border, their dramatic, almost-explosive colors are sure to make your guests feel as if they're dining on the beaches of Cancun or at the Mazatlan carnival.
Making a Mexican Fiesta Flower Arrangement
Vase or container
Assorted zinnias, such as Z. elegans 'Radiant Orange,' 'Radiant Purple,' 'Lilac,' 'Radiant White,' and Z. haageana 'Persian Carpet'
Assorted dahlias, such as D. 'Thomas Jefferson,' 'Fern Irene,' and 'Sunny Yellow'
Assorted China asters, such as Callistephus chinensis 'Matsumoto'
Assorted salvias, such as S. farinacea 'Victoria'
Sharp knife or bypass pruners
1. Fill the vase or container with fresh, room-temperature water, and add the flower frog and the cut-flower food. Making sure to handle the flowers with care, hold each stem up next to the vase to gauge how much you'll need to trim. Using a sharp knife or bypass pruners, cut stems at a 45-degree angle, then remove any leaves that will fall below the waterline.
2. Arrange the flowers, adding each to the arrangement, stem by stem. Recondition the blooms every 2 to 3 days: Recut the stems, change the water, and add cut-flower food. Keep in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight.