Mix different crimsons to accentuate the color's many moods, from sultry to fiery hot. The blooms shown here include 'Wanted,' far left, and 'Ignace,' top.
Enhance the drama of a mixed bouquet with intense colors and blooms in all stages, from budded to full-blown. Vivid oranges and pinks assert themselves, even from a bicolor's dipped edges. This arrangement includes 'Baby Romantica' and dark-pink 'Yves Piaget,' far left, the fully open vivid 'Lolita Lempicka' and pink-and-cream 'Carousel,' center, and orangey 'Circus' and pink-touched white 'Sweetness,' top center.
A pair of roses can speak volumes about each other. With tightly folded petals evocative of ruffled fabric, the heavenly scented 'Juliet,' left, emphasizes the more delicate appearance of her equally fragrant partner, 'Sweet Perfumella.' The white-edged ivy and the viburnum berries lend a still-life quality to the composition.
When it comes to displaying lush, dome-shaped blooms -- dahlias, garden roses, gardenias, camellias, or the peonies shown here -- less is often more. Float a few big blossoms in a generous-size bowl or single ones in smaller vessels. Cut the stems at a slant, about an inch below the bloom, just before floating in tepid water.
Actually an assemblage of several smaller and more manageable arrangements, this setup offers an easy way to tame a fresh-from-the-garden mix of roses, hydrangeas, delphiniums, lady's mantle, scented geraniums, and potato vine. A pitcher in the center gives height, while kitchen crocks (sugar bowls, eggcups) allow the inclusion of short-stemmed beauties.
This luminous centerpiece is composed of three silver julep cups filled with paperwhites, roses, and star-of-Bethlehem, set atop a cake stand. After the centerpiece has served its purpose, the three elements can be separated and distributed throughout the house; try placing them on nightstands and bathroom shelves.
Stiff long-stemmed roses can seem as generic as a drugstore valentine. But a few flourishes transform the cliche into a caress. The impromptu charm of a variegated rose (here, white-and-pink 'Henri Matisse') highlights the intensity of its crimson companions. For an informal profusion of blooms, cut the stems short and at staggered lengths. Another good trick (for this and many other arrangements): Let flowers and foliage gently hang over the edge of the container. This eliminates the dividing line between vase and arrangement, resulting in a softer look.
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