As an alternative to the usual flowery branch arrangement, leave the limbs on the tree and cut just a few short-stemmed flowers. The fringed, full petals and glossy brown leaf tips of this 'Kwanzan' cherry are all you need for a hot-pink teacup arrangement. Almost any blooming tree or shrub â€“ apple, magnolia, mock orange, deutzia â€“ will also work.
A few crab-apple boughs fill a bathroom window. They are sheltered from harsh sun by a gauzy, light-diffusing curtain and benefit from the room's humid air, which helps maintain the blossoms' freshness. A semitransparent cylindrical vase shows off the lines of the lower branches while providing a clean counterpoint to the splay of blooms above its rim.
Unless you get down on the ground to scrutinize small woodland flowers, it's easy to overlook their exquisite shapes and patterned petals. But clip a few stems of each for a pair of antique lab beakers, and details suddenly become clear; the mini-orchard stack of epimediums, the variations on bell-like fritillarias.
Add some flower power to your next spring table with mini arrangements of seasonal lilies of the valley for each guest. (A cluster of them in the center of the table would also look very elegant.) Choose a small glass or votive, and fill it most of the way with sheet moss. Arrange the flowers in your hand first (we used several blooms, along with a couple of leaves), and then push them down into the moss. Secure their upright position by covering with more moss, and add water to keep them fresh. Let everyone know they can take one home as a party favor -- the flowers will last a few days if kept hydrated.
Enliven your next buffet with an arrangement of eggcup bouquets displayed on cake stands. Choose small-budded flowers in similar hues, such as the tulips, lily of the valley, paperwhites, and daffodils we used. Trim the stems so the blossoms will peek over the rims of the eggcups. Place a small round metal floral frog in each eggcup to help shape and weight the arrangements. Fill the cups three-quarters of the way with water, and then add the blooms. Arrange the mini bouquets on and around stands. Water daily for a long-lasting centerpiece.
Saucer magnolias and Eastern redbuds burst from a simple glass container on an end table, exuding warmth; stems of purple calla lily, whose inverted bell shape pairs nicely with the fleshy magnolias and willowy redbuds, hint at exotic garden planting that must wait for warmer weather.
When bright Icelandic poppies and tulips are in season, Decorating Editorial Director Kevin Sharkey's sweet tooth guides his arrangement. "Candy-colored blossoms resonate unlike any other for me," he says. "I can almost taste the blooms." He began building this array with tulips, filled it out with ebullient poppies, and then softened the mass with frothy mimosa.
Occasions such as Mother's Day call for the floral equivalent of a big hug. Candy colors, mixed textures, and varied sizes radiate homey spontaneity, especially when the "vase" is endearingly improvised from a flea-market find. A yellow teapot, with ample room for water below a narrow opening, becomes the perfect vessel for clasping a generous bunch of tulips, hyacinths, peonies, and, of course, forget-me-nots.
Mingle dainty Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) with fluffy chive blossoms (Allium tuberosum) for textured arrangements. They're unexpected but perfect partners: They coordinate in color and reach full bloom at the same time, in May. To add a touch of green -- and even more visual interest -- we tucked some fuzzy lamb's ears into the bouquets. A pair of matching ceramic vases anchor them gracefully.
Though it is the quintessential color of spring, somehow green only seems to make it into a bouquet incidentally, through a stem or a leaf. Combining different shades of green, these floral arrangements demonstrate that the color is truly worthy of its own display. The small vase holds a bouquet of green hydrangeas; behind it is a mix of euphorbias, hydrangeas, and bells of Ireland (available almost year-round through florists).
At an event that celebrates a new season, flower bulbs are fitting decorations. They're also an inexpensive option, since bulbs generally cost less than cut flowers. To make a centerpiece, pour a thin layer of small white stones into a clear glass cylindrical vessel. Rinse dirt off bulbs, then insert them into the gravel, adding more stones until the stems stand upright.
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