Phloral Arrangements – In a Vase on Monday – Hand Held Posy

The In A Vase on Monday challenge for this week had a twist for the ninth anniversary. The host, Cathy, asked us to create a handheld posy bouquet. I wasn’t able to attend the Zoom meeting, but I’m happy I took part in the challenge. I love the bouquet the pink-hued flowers in my garden enabled me to create. I was surprised by how unblemished these blossoms were considering the cold, rain, and wind we have experienced in the last few days. The bouquet turned out pretty. My husband complimented me on the flowers as the bouquet sat on the kitchen counter for its photo shoot.

I worked in floral shops for years and created many hand-held bouquets for proms, weddings, etc. As I design handheld bouquets, I twist the gathered stems slightly in my hand each time I add a new bloom. This allows the stems to face outwards, and keeps each flower airy, surrounded by a bit of space, creating interest and dimension. I always have a chenille stem (pipe cleaner) handy and bent into a hairpin shape before I start putting the bouquet together. When every stem is in place, I twist the chenille tightly around the upper portion of the stems, an inch or two below the first flowers.

I cover the chenille with a bit of broad ribbon. A long pin in the ribbon, pushed straight down in the direction of the stems, will hold it in place. The pin will not prick the person holding the bouquet as the point is encased within a barrier of closely bunched stems.

A good tip to keep the flowers fresh until ready to use is to cut the bottom stems to all one length and let an inch or two of the stems stay in water until ready to wrap or use. The flowers I used in this handheld post are Queen Elizabeth rose, Fairy roses, cyanotis, magenta salvia, wisteria tendrils, Mandeville blooms, and ground pine gathered on a weekend walk in the woods.

Phloral Arrangements – Monday in a Vase/Bejeweled

“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday Morning Blues are non-existent when flowers start my day. The last dahlia bud of the year has opened into a spectacular disk that for some reason makes me think of ferris wheels. The pristine white of the petals is set off by the aged blooms of magenta hydrangeas, matured now into a lovely mix of chartreuse and deep maroon. Dried garlic chive umbels/branches sprayed metallic bronze give added interest. The milk glass vase, a Victorian posy holder, seems a good match for the dahlia bloom. This arrangement is part of In A Vase Monday, hosted by Rambling in the Garden.

Garlic Chive Umbels, dried perfectly on the plant.

Garlic Chives – This is a strong recommendation, a definite 10 out of 10, for this wonderful plant. The leaves are great as a garnish and taste delicious snipped into soups and salads. Even better, the starry-white flowering stalks are stunning in late summer. Left alone, they dry into strong, dried flowers. After shaking out the seeds, which I will save for next year, I sprayed the dried umbels with paint in a metallic shade. I have another project in mind for these, but that will have to wait until later in the month. If you have a chance to cultivate this plant in your garden, you won’t be disappointed.

Phloral Arrangement – In A Vase on Monday/Halloween Hedgerows and Garden Beds

This Autumn Bouquet arranged for ‘In a Vase Monday,’ was created using flowers from my garden and hedgerows surrounding a park near my home. Flowers featured: Sedum, Celosia, Mexican Sage, Zinnias, Honeysuckle, Milkweed pods, and Dandelion Poufs. The harmony of colors ranges from the Espresso Brown of the Sedum to the bright orange tones of the zinnia. Purple seems to be a popular Halloween shade and was a good addition to the bouquet.

“Already the dandelions are changed into vanishing ghosts.”- Celia Thaxter

The spooky quote by Celia Thaxter seemed doubly appropriate for Halloween and the bedraggled appearance of one of my Dandelion poufs.

The other was still in good shape when I came upon it. Both are included in my bouquet, their weak stems supported within the twisted rows of the Celosia.

I was surprised to find a stem of honeysuckle in bloom, out of season, but very welcome in the cooler days of Autumn.

“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” —Robert Brault

Phloral Arrangements – Lilies Extraordinaire

I think the ‘extraordinaire’ in my title fits this lovely vase of lilies. The bouquet is still going strong 10 days after the purchase of the flower stems. Most of the buds were closed when I brought them home, but a diagonal cut along the bottom, a bit of flower food in warmish water, and several lilies unfurled within 24 hours. Arranging each stem opposite another, giving the vase a turn before continuing on, creates an intricate design aspect through the glass vase rather than a bunched-up mass. Today, I cut away the first of the faded blossoms. There are still many flowers left in bloom, and a couple of promising buds still ready to burst. The fragrance is strong and distinctive of lilies.

You might be wondering why the open blossom is missing the dark anthers that are within the bud beside it. I learned this tip while taking classes on floral design: lily anthers are staining. If the pollen dust on them touches clothing, table coverings, or upholstery, the stain is usually impossible to remove. As the lilies open, I remove the anthers and dispose of them. I love the way they look, but I know from experience, remove them.

If you like the ‘freckled’ appearance the pollen gives the petals, gently tap the anthers over the petals before removing. Be aware though, even this small amount of pollen can cause a big stain.

My vase of lilies is part of Cees Flower of the Day Challenge.

Phlower – Tuberose Begonias

I purchased this beautiful Begonia last week. Shhhhh….if truth be told, I purchased three of them and placed them in a terracotta pot to grow indoors. The plants fill a 10 inch pot, creating a gorgeous view from all sides. I’ve been turning the pot a quarter turn each day to keep the stems growing and blooming evenly. I have the plants in one of my sunniest windows.

I’ve grown begonias sold for outdoor planting, indoors, for many years. They do very well living inside the house. The one problem area I need to be careful of is not letting the top of the soil become soggy. I plan to use some of my leftover seed starter mix on the top layer. I have a devil of a time getting this medium to become wet for planting. Maybe it will be the perfect soil topping for the begonias, and keep their lower stems dry, while easily letting water reach the roots below. Another tip for growing begonias in terracotta is to frequently wipe the upper lip of the pot with a damp rag. This will remove built up salts that could eat through a stem that rests upon the pot’s rim.

I found a good site with great information on growing tuberose begonias outdoors – Longfield Gardens – TIPS FOR GROWING TUBEROUS BEGONIAS.

My beautiful pink begonia is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Plant & Phloral Arrangements – Bargain Elegance

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Page through any high-end magazine or decorating book and you will often find Phalaenopsis orchids as a main focal point in the decor. The long stems, large green leaves, and gorgeous flowers are the perfect plant for any home. Phalaenopsis orchids are my first choice for an elegant flowering plant or gift.

I worked for several years as a floral designer. When an order was placed for an orchid delivery, I often put together floral pieces much like the orchid in the photograph. These plants had a big price tag, usually $50.00 – $60.00, not including a large delivery fee. A better choice is to make your plant a DIY project.

Phalaenopsis orchids are available just about everywhere. I bought the one in the photograph for $7.99 at my local Aldi Grocery Store. I have a stash of thrift store and yard sale ceramics set aside for dressing up houseplants. The one in the photo was a $2.00 purchase.

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One drawback of most Phalaenopsis orchids is their tendency to lean. To straighten the pot I use foil wedged in around the orchid pot. Since the orchid and the potting medium is light, this works perfectly to hold it in place.

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The moss that covers the top was an item gathered near my home. Dried for a week or so, excess dirt brushed away, the moss perfectly dresses up the top of the pot, and hides the mechanics beneath it. This orchid brings elegance to any room, yet is very economical at just $10.00. Give this design a try the next time you see orchids for sale at a great price.

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Phlowers & Phloral Arrangements – Alstroemeria

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“Alstroemeria, commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands.” ~ Wikipedia

Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) are one of my favorite flowers for floral arrangements. When I trained to become a floral designer, I learned a few tips about this plant. The first step in floral arranging is to remove all the foliage that is below the water line. Alstroemeria has an abundance of leaves. One odd fact about alstroemeria is the foliage along the stem will yellow and die before the flower petals begin to fall. Most floral stems lose their flowers first. When I prepare alstroemeria for vases I remove ALL the foliage BELOW the blossoms. I keep the leaves intact that are attached to the blossoming offshoots. Your flowers will stay fresh longer if you remove the lower leaves. Alstroemeria are available anywhere you buy flower bunches and come in an amazing array of colors. They are very thirsty so check your vase and arrangement water daily to keep them hydrated and fresh.

Postscript: Thanks to Lulu for reminding me about the very best characteristic of Alstroemeria…they are one of the longest-lasting flowers to use in arrangements. 🙂