From the Garden: Floating Heart
Photography: Roland Belo
Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2008
Flowers have always managed to say a lot, but they've rarely expressed sentiments so clearly and directly. This "floating" heart is made with pale shades of common, easily obtainable blossoms, such as carnations, mums, and hyacinths.
Flower Frogs are made of lead, pottery, glass, or bronze and sit at the bottom of a bowl or a vase to hold even the trickiest flower arrangements firmly in place. Keep several kinds on hand. The spiky variety are good for thin, flimsy stems, ones with holes are suited to the thicker stems of tulips and lilies, and hairpin frogs with wire loops are best for stiff stems and branches. They can be found at flea markets and garage sales, where they usually cost less than $2.
For flower frog: Chicken wire
Ball up a square piece of chicken wire. The ball should be large enough to press against the sides of the container and stay snugly in place. Or secure a smaller ball to the bottom with floral adhesive.
Using a variety of flowers adds textural interest. Arrange 5 spiky frogs into an approximate heart shape, affixing them to the bottom of an empty shallow bowl with floral adhesive (or use floral foam cut into a heart).
Cut the stems of 12 to 18 assorted flowers to the same height as the rim of the bowl. Fill bowl partially with water and insert flowers, following the heart shape.
The nosegay arrangement is made directly in your hand. Strip the foliage from 2 bunches of carnations in different colors (we used white with pink, but you can also use pink with red).
Cut all stems to 6 inches. Holding on to 3 or 4 paler flowers, form them into a heart. Surround them with darker blooms, and then wrap the stems tightly with floral tape. Cover stems with squares of glassine or tissue paper, and tie with a bow.
Fragrant carnations, which last a long time out of water, are ideal for reviving the Victorian custom of handheld nosegays. Tucked in the middle is a sweet floral message of affection.