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

Posies – Bouquet/Iris and Wisteria

It’s time to start creating a weekly bouquet of garden flowers to enjoy. This week I chose the wisteria and iris that are beginning to bloom in my garden. Both of these spring blooming flowers are great for arrangements, and with their substantial stems are easy to use. Remove any leaves that will be below the water line. Cut stems at an angle, and if you’re really ambitious cut straight up the bottom of your wisteria stem to allow more water to be drawn up. It’s best to choose iris buds ready to unfurl. If you cut these stems underwater they will last even longer. An added bonus is the spectacular fragrance of both these flowers. Astonish yourself and create your own springtime bouquet!

Posies – Easy Bouquet & Quick Tip


White miniature Roses, Baby’s Breath, light green Mini-Carnations and Hypericum Berries are usually available in the floral department of many grocers.


This combination, in the neutral colors I’ve chosen, or in any pretty color combination, make a fast and easy bouquet.


Quick Tip: The outer petals of roses are often browned or damaged. You will do no harm to the rose if you gently peel these petals away. Cut all flower stems on an angle to keep the bottoms from resting flush against the vase, this allows more water to flow through the stem.


A tall narrow vase works best for this arrangement. Cut the mini-carnations a few inches taller than the vase. Insert them into the water like the spokes on wheel.


Add the rose stems next, cut most of these double the height of the vase, with one or two an inch or two taller. The bottom stems of the carnation, will help hold the roses in place.


Fill in with some Hypercium Berries and Baby’s Breath. There you have it, the transformation of a few bunches of flowers into a bouquet that can rival anything you purchase in a floral shop.

Plant & Phloral Arrangements – Bargain Elegance


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.


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.


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.


Posies – Rose Centerpiece

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Local supermarkets are a terrific source of fresh flowers. Roses are often sold by the dozen in their display cases. To be assured of freshness, look for petals that are still buds, furled in a graceful urn shape. Gently squeeze the rose petals above the calyx; they should have a sense of firmness, and not feel too smooshy. Check to be sure the petal edges do not have a curled or brown tinge. If the roses are fully blown open, limp, or if the rose buds have the look of a pointy bullet, buy your flowers somewhere else. The fully open flowers will only last a day or two before dropping their petals, the limp buds will promptly droop and die, and the tight, pointy buds will never open correctly. Remember: look for a firm urn-shaped bud.

When you arrive home with your roses, recut the bottom of the stems at an angle. This technique keeps the stem from adhering to the bottom of the vase and forming a seal that might keep water from wicking up the stem. All purchased flowers benefit from being re-cut at an angle. To give your roses even longer life, fill a bowl with water before you cut the stem and cut about an inch off under water. This keeps an air bubble from forming in the stem, further insuring a rose with long life.

The roses in the arrangement above were bought at my local grocery store. They were cut and arranged in floral oasis on Sunday afternoon. I took the picture above this morning (Thursday)  the roses are still lovely after five days in a 70 degree home.

Creating a Christmas or winter arrangement is easy. Fill a vase or container with water or oasis, add a mass of fir greens and insert your roses or other flowers. Remember different levels of height add interest to the arrangement. You don’t want all the flowers at the same level as if they are numbers on a clock, place a few high, a few low, and some in between. A few catkins or other “wild” looking, frondy pieces of foliage or twigs give a look of the natural to the arrangement and are a resting place for the eye. Most of all have fun and enjoy your creation and the beautiful flowers.

Catkins and twigs in the photograph above are from a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick bush.

Plants – Gladiolus Arrangement Part I

I love gladiolus stems. They are very economical at this time of year. My local supermarket sells bunches of ten for under $2.00. They are a great flower for a Fourth of July flower arrangement.

I also took several reference photographs for future close-focus paintings. I am certainly getting a lot of mileage out of the money I spent.

Floral Arrangement Tips for Gladiolus: Cut stems on an angle with floral snips. This enables more of the stem to soak up water. To force gladiolus florets to open quickly pinch off the top tips.

More tips can be found here: Gladiolus Tips for Floral Arrangements

Plants – Hydrangeas

Ah, the simplicity and beauty of blue hydrangea blooms in a white vase. Lovely.

Blue Hydrangeas are at their peak in my New Jersey garden. I look forward to the bloom of these flowering shrubs every year. Best of all, they are long-lasting, and sometimes I manage to pick them at exactly the right moment to dry and enjoy all year.

Posies – Church Flowers

Last week, I arranged apricot roses, chartreuse mums and yellow, peach-tinged alstromeria into one-sided arrangements for our church services. The flowers were in honor of our mother’s May birthdays.

The roses bloomed quickly, the alstromeria a bit slower, thankfully it opened in time for the Sunday services. I love alstromeria. The roses are glorious, but not long-lasting; the alstromeria will hold onto it’s petals for two weeks or more.

After church, I gave one arrangement to my mother, and took the second to my mother-in-law. They were both pleased with the bouquets.

Gorgeous color combo.