When bright Icelandic poppies and tulips are in season, Kevin Sharkey's sweet tooth guides his arranging. "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.
Jump-start spring by forcing branches of early-flowering trees and shrubs. Massed at eye level in a rustic trough, pink cherry blossoms join white dogwood and spirea to give armchair nature lovers a breath of fresh air. The branches stand in chicken wire that has been bent to fit the container's liner. Moss and lichen from a florist mask the wire support in sylvan style.
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.
Unless they're down on hands and knees for an outdoor egg hunt, people tend to overlook the exquisite shapes and tones of minuscule spring flowers. Give these plants the close-up they deserve by using eggcups as vases, which can hold pink lilies of the valley, species tulips, grape hyacinths, narcissus, violets, pansies, bleeding-heart leaves, and other small wonders. Try several cups on a tray for an Easter centerpiece or a single one to cheer up a desk or a bureau.
Teeming with an assortment of brightly hued blooms, this lush, festive arrangement makes an ideal centerpiece for a Mexican-style fiesta or Cinco de Mayo. These dramatic, almost explosive colors are sure to make your guests feel as if they're dining on the beaches of Cancun or at the Mazatlan carnival.
Late January and February is the time of year when the arrival of spring flowers such as hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips can be seen at flower shops, markets, and grocery stores. Pair these spring blooms with unusual leaves to make beautiful one-of-a-kind arrangements for your home.
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.
This unusual arrangement features five open peonies floating in a transferware punch bowl. When floating flowers in water, first cut the stems to less than an inch; if a flower has trouble floating, use a flower float -- or cut a circle of Bubble Wrap and thread the stem through the center bubble.
A vintage tole basket makes a charming container for these pink peonies framed by broad hosta leaves. Because the metal basket isn't watertight, we hid water-filled jars inside it to hold the flowers. Although built one stem at a time, this is a quick and casual arrangement: Start with the largest blooms, and tuck in the hosta leaves last.
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.
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).
Tulips join their spring garden companions in a display by Tineke Geerlings, a Dutch floral arranger. ‘Cairo,’ ‘Apricot Parrot,’ ‘Princess Unique,’ ‘Sensual Touch,’ ‘Teletubbie,’ viburnum, apple blossoms, hosta leaves, and hellebores fill a vase by designer Hella Jongerius.
The long-awaited drama of a cluster of hyacinths and daffodils pushing up from the earth doesn't quite carry over to a few paltry blooms in a vase. Imitate this spring ritual by rearranging several bouquets of same-color blossoms in clay and terra-cotta pots and urns.
How to Fake Planted Bulbs
Fill a waterproof vessel halfway with water and place it inside a slightly larger clay or terra-cotta pot or urn. Add flowers to the vessel, using a floral frog or a grid of floral tape to hold them in place.
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