Summer Arrangement with Chris
Summer blooms offer a perfect opportunity for informal arrangements -- an effect that appears easy to achieve but actually requires some skill and planning. Chris Giftos, a long-time master florist at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, joins Martha to offer a few hints and guidelines.
To create informal arrangements, Chris recommended unassuming containers to hold flowers and greenery, such as geranium leaves, snap dragons, yellow garden roses, astilbe, salvia, scabiosa, delphinium, and sweet peas. Begin with a bleach-sterilized container filled with fresh, cold water that's been enriched with cut-flower food or a floral preservative. The flowers are clipped early in the day, when they contain the most moisture and are especially fragrant. Keep the height of the arrangement slightly below eye level. To determine the proper height, make a fist, and rest your elbow on the table. Hold your arm upright, and use the tip of your knuckles as an approximate limit.
Eschewing artificial bases and supports, let the flower stems provide stability, starting with the most rigid flowers and edging the stems in at a tilt so each flower resembles a spoke in a wheel. Then, fill the extra space in the structure with more flowers. Finally, select blooms in a range of cool color tones, to provide a sense of calm and refreshment during the warm summer days.
Chris Giftos, master florist
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
We used Fresh Flower Food Powder from Floralife (phone: 800-323-3689).