Flower Arranging Step by Step by Gayle Shell

Christmas goes so quickly after all the preparation involved, and I am always sad to take down the decorations and cards and pack them away for another year. When it is all done I like to cheer myself by making a flower arrangement that helps me to look forward to spring. Tulip and daffodils were in the shops long before Christmas but the season for bulb flowers is so short that I resist buying them until after the festive season, though I have been requested to make a bridal bouquet with White tulips in mid August!

I had planned to buy daffodils, but when I got to the shops these orange Tulips were so eye catching and warm that I chose those instead.

Daffodils are usually sold in tight bud, but a couple of days in warm water sees them develop quickly, almost like watching Spring arrive. Bulb flowers need to have the white part of the stem cut off before placing them in a design. Tulips continue to grow and develop once that are picked and placed in water and will change direction, seeking the light. I quite like to exploit this trait and place them en mass in a glass container with marbles or pebbles and just let them do their own thing.

In this design I have held the stems in place by securing them to the branches with wire. I have used a little wet foam at the bottom of this shallow brown dish. Daffodils and Tulips will last longer placed directly into water, but the use of foam gives more control over the placement of the stems.

First I placed the lichen covered bare branches, collected in the Autumn on a country walk, to form an outline with lots of spaces for Tulips. Some of the flowers I left in bud, others I carefully opened to make a bolder shape to provide contrast. I tried to place the flowers at different levels so that the foam was well hidden, where the foam was visible I used some of the looped Tulip leaves to disguise it. Finally, I wound some orange string through the design for movement.

The tulips will last about four days indoors, but I had bought a bunch of fifteen Tulips and kept the remaining flowers in a cold garage. These will be used to replace the dead Tulips without disturbing the design, and I shall remember to top up with water to keep the foam wet.

Now the house does not seem so bare and I have an arrangement which makes me think of the better days to come.

Happy New Year – Happy Flower Arranging.