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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-sized 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.
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Actually an assemblage of several smaller and more manageable arrangements, the 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.
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For these groupings of trailing sweet autumn clematis, passion-flower vines, and figs, a row of cake stands and pedestal candleholders shielded by hurricane glasses lets the greenery -- and heady perfume of summer -- flow.
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Various colors of hydrangeas take on a stately elegance when grouped together in a tall vase.
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