The blue vase

The blue vase with others, © 2014 Celia Her City
I seldom arrange flowers in the blue vase, despite its being one of my favorites.  In fact, I hesitated to buy it when I found it in an antique store several years ago, even though it cost only 50 cents.

I loved it at once on account of its brilliant translucent blue.  I liked its scalloped rim and the bunches of grapes pressed into its sides.  I even thought the vase, given its relatively crude style of manufacture, might be older and more valuable than it seemed.  Its height and footed shape make it perfect as a base for a centerpiece.  Arranging flowers in it, though, can be challenging.

Blue vase with daisies, © 2014 Celia Her City I take on the challenge about once a year.  I love the sight of this vase filled with flowers when the weather is lousy.

A metal frog is essential to keep the flowers from flopping out of such a shallow bowl.  To keep the frog level against the slanted sides, I place a piece of thin fine foam rubber underneath.  The flimsy sponge stays put underwater, gripping the bottom and keeping the frog centered and straight.

Because the flowers must fan out from the center to some degree, it’s best to choose stems that are firm rather than droopy.  In any event, one will need a fairly large number.  The arrangement above used two large bunches of daisies, whose stems were cut very short—less than six inches.

It’s good to have plenty of foliage or flowers that grow in clusters on their stalks when making an arrangement in a wide-mouthed vase.

Yesterday I used the blue vase for a mixed bouquet.  It worked out well because the bouquet came with many ferns that could be used to fill in the spaces between the blooms.

The bottom line is that I love looking at flowers in the blue vase!

The blue vase filled with flowers, © 2014 Celia Her City

Tulips and traveling

Tall tulips in a brown and white vase, © 2013 Celia Her City

A week ago yesterday, I bought these tulips at the outdoor farmers’ market, and enjoyed them for a day.  Then we went to Michigan for the weekend, had some amazing adventures there, and by the time we got home Barbara and Krystina had thrown the tulips away.  Because by that time they were dead, I am sure.

So it has been, more generally, with our spring.  Slow to arrive (and with the temperature today still little better than fifty), the season came and went all too swiftly.  The leaves are all out on the trees, the daffodils and tulips are spent, and Memorial Day is upon us–all suggestions that we are on the verge of summer.  Yet I wish I could have enjoyed my tulips just a little longer.

A special-occasion centerpiece

A special-occasion centerpiece with tulips and lilies

My husband gave me some flowers for Valentine’s Day.  We were having dinner at home last night with another couple, so I decided to make a special-occasion centerpiece.

Like my photography, my flower-arranging is an amateur undertaking.  What I know about it I’ve learned from trial and error.  I’ve picked up tips by looking at professional arrangements and from articles in magazines.

Here’s my approach to making a centerpiece for a dinner table.

1.  The goal is to make a small but showy arrangement low enough for your dinner guests to see over.  This means selecting a low vase, preferably opaque.  I look for something wide-mouthed, so that the flowers can be placed at an angle, creating a wide, lively arrangement large enough to hold its own on the table.  The “vase” in this arrangement is an old cachepot that I had bought used.

2.  It’s good to have more foliage than flowers, and to combine plant materials that are rigid and flowing.  Forming the backbone of this arrangement are two stems of lilies, combined with draping eucalyptus, inexpensive baby’s breath, and several tulips, whose broad green leaves were as important as the yellow heads in achieving the effect that I was after.

3. Use a florist’s frog.  The one I have is from a flea market; they are also available on Amazon.  The frog is the anchor that keeps the flowers standing up straight or drooping over; without it, they would inevitably flop out of the vase.

4. Don’t be afraid to cut the flowers short.  For this arrangement, I had to cut off the lilies’ long stems.  I used to be timid about cutting flowers short.  No more!  You want the arrangement to be full, with the flowers forming a harmonious visual whole with the vase.

This bouquet will grow in beauty over the next couple of days, as the lilies and tulips open further.


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