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While bright flowers may scream out at you in the garden or the flower shop, mixing textured elements can also result in a dramatic arrangement. In this arrangement, Kevin Sharkey used tulips as a base and added peonies at the end.
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Capable of much more than just filling space, baby's breath is actually most impressive on its own. Buy a mass of it or set aside some from other bouquets, and then group it into a soft and blurry cloud, grounding the stems in cleverly concealed blocks of floral foam.
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Hydrangea and Clematis Arrangement
An armful of white flowers overflows a generous glazed-iron urn-shaped vase in an effortlessly elegant way. Tendrils of clematis winding through the blooms emphasize the cottage-garden feeling.
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Eggshell Flower Arrangements
Hollowed-out eggshells make naturally beautiful vases for tiny flower arrangements. Break an egg at the top of its shell, drain the contents, and carefully rinse out the inside. Next, fill the empty shell with room-temperature water and place it in an eggcup for stability. Finally, insert small cuttings of your favorite blossoms (we used lilacs, lily of the valley, and violas). Individually or grouped together in a centerpiece, these tiny arrangements make a wonderful addition to the place settings at your table.
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Here, white daffodils are arranged in a simple vase, which showcases the beauty of the flowers with their different-hued centers. Daffodils release a substance harmful to other flowers, so they are best kept to themselves in arrangements.
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Paperwhites, Roses, and Star-of-Bethlehem
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.
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An Arrangement with Tulips and Bleeding Hearts
Martha has a penchant for clear-glass containers such as this one, which shows off a wonderful mix of purple and white tulips, white bleeding hearts, and the wavy leaves of bird’s-nest fern.
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Arrangement with Sweet Fragrances
Sweet fragrances and sunrise colors fill this vase. Kumquats and limes evoke a tropical getaway, as do lush white blossoms of phalaenopsis orchids (available at many supermarkets). The perfumes of paperwhite narcissus and jasmine are a surefire pick-me-up. As you make the arrangement, insert the sturdy citrus branches before adding the delicate flower stems. For a final touch, let some jasmine trail down the side.
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Small White Arrangements
Unlike Narnia, where it's always winter and Christmas never comes, this land of ice and snow welcomes festivities (soundtrack: Louis Armstrong's "Cool Yule"). A combination of vintage and contemporary vessels holds white spider mums as well as seeded eucalyptus (available at florists) and blue Atlas cedar branches lightly frosted with silver floral spray paint. For a change of scene, line up containers across a mantel, along a windowsill, or down the middle of a table.
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A Holiday Arrangement
White and red is a classic color combination for the holidays. Here, white roses are held in place by red cranberries used as a flower frog instead of pebbles or marbles; they will hold stems in place for about a week. Use hard cranberries; wash them well before submerging in water. We used white roses for this arrangement, perfect for a holiday centerpiece or a mantel.
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Martha grows a lot of amaryllis in her greenhouse. "Because it is difficult to display the flowers with the bulbs, I often cut the flower stalks and use them in bowls (sometimes I fill out the arrangements with purchased blooms), she says. "When combined with Southern magnolia leaves, these burgundy- centered cream-white flowers make a striking arrangement."
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A Bunch of Alstroemeria
Dainty white alstroemeria make much more of an impression when grouped by the dozen. A neat dome of them -- with every leaf removed -- is softened by a cuff of chartreuse hosta leaves.
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Big, Blooming Blossoms
Silver echinops (also known as globe thistle) and spiky, steel-blue eryngium (or sea holly) mingle with feathery white flowering astilbe. All can be found in farmers' markets and are easy to grow. Cut stems at an angle and anchor them in a vase using a flower frog. Finish with astilbe foliage and sparklerlike Queen Anne's lace (if planting your own, skip Daucus carota, an invasive weed; instead, try its better-behaved cousin Ammi majus) to set off those big, booming blossoms.
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Two Modern Arrangements
Two unglazed porcelain faux-bois vases hold foxgloves, a lovely cultivated Queen Anne's lace called ammi, and the pom-pom-like flowers of echinops.
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White Pumpkin Arrangement
A white pumpkin is transformed into a homemade vase. We filled ours with two dozen white dahlias for an unique fall arrangement. When choosing a pumpkin, select one about eight inches in diameter; cut off the top, and scoop out pulp and seeds. Place a small container, such as a highball glass, inside the pumpkin. Trim flowers to fit, and arrange in the glass.
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