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Ornamental Containers

Martha Stewart Living, September 2007

Don't look to the garden just for flowers. The ornamental containers used there can often beautify homes as well. Take this classical, terra-cotta garden urn, which we set in front of a window to backlight its architectural form. A brimming bouquet of freshly cut sunflowers is in scale with the vessel and equally dramatic.

Urn Arrangement Tip
Urns are too deep for most flower arrangements, so you'll need to devise an interior support structure. Find a bucket that fits inside the urn, and if necessary, invert a second bucket to act as a pedestal.

Wearing gloves, snip a square of chicken wire that's four times the size of the bucket's opening. Form wire into an orb that fits snugly in the bucket. Cut blooms to various heights, and position them in the wire orb. Place the display in urn, and fill bucket with water.

Rotating Displays
Given their size and weight, urns aren't as mobile as vases. But by varying the contents, you can create different effects with the same urn throughout the year. Potted plants, such as a leafy caladium, below, are easy to slip in and out. Remove the pot weekly to water, and prune any faded leaves.

Come springtime, fill the urn with forsythia, below, employing the wire orb and buckets used for the sunflowers. Trim the bottom of the spikes to help keep the water clean. For these arrangements, the urn should be set by a window that receives indirect sunlight.

Lemon Arrangement
A stack of lemons makes a lively scene. To reduce the number of citrus needed, find a round tray that fits inside the rim of the urn (wrap the lower edge of the tray with plastic to protect it and the container). Fill the tray with lemons, balancing each layer. We used about eighteen pieces for this arrangement. Lemons with leafy stems intact top off the display nicely.

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