By Becky Quinten
Any vessel can become a vase as long as it is clean and can hold fresh cold water.
Cans and jars are perfect for small casual arrangements. They can be grouped in baskets or boxes to create a special floral showcase.
Pitchers, creamers and urns are better for tall-stemmed and heavier arrangements. Tall, narrow bottles are great for single stems and the addition of airy stems highlight the flower. Pedestal bowls are perfect for sophisticated centerpieces.
To prepare your flowers for arranging, cut the stems at an angle and cut longer than you think you will need. You can trim them to fit after experimenting with your vase to see how the flowers will fall into place. You can cut multiple pieces from a single stem of airy branches and use the forks to fill in your arrangement. Leaves that will be underwater should be removed. You can seal the flower stems with a lighter, which will lengthen its vase life. Try it on your peonies. A dip of alum powder, available at the grocery store, or a sip of sugar will help prevent your flowers from wilting.
Wires, rubber bands and hot glue guns can be used to add support to heavier flowers. Frogs, marbles and floral tape can help you arrange and stabilize your arrangements.
When arranging, use bushy stems to create your focal foundation for your base flowers. The largest blooms are your focal flowers and the smaller blooms when grouped in clusters will highlight your arrangement. Remember the color wheel when grouping your stems to help you achieve the most impact. Vines, pods and berries will add texture to your arrangement. A strawberry frond will add drama and color to a vessel when draped over the edge.
A covered terrarium can host your delicate new plant growth while protecting them from your curious pets and add beauty to your window sill until you are ready to transplant your seeds into the garden. As long as the plants are small — anything grows.
Flowers roped together with chicken or floral wire and tape can become a dramatic door wreath or garland. Succulent plants and berries make an unusual and pleasing wreath. Tucking the succulents into small pots and anchoring them into a cedar wreath affords the opportunity to plant them in the garden at a later date.
Single stems can create a dramatic centerpiece when placed in a water tube. Use low vessels like a small wooden box with the flowers draped across it to fully expose their full flower heads or add them to your door wreath.
Don’t bypass spring wild flowers. Lambs ear, goldenrod, and Queen Anne’s lace make great fillers for tulips, poppies, daffodils, irises, violas and flowering bushes. Experiment with ribbon and bows to create an elegant look.
Alternatives to the vase include sugar bowls, tureens, baskets, painted tin cans, wood boxes, candle holders, brown paper wrapping, mason and other jars, tin and metal ware, shells, enamelware and even a bucket.
A spring favorite is the Peony. A spray of several blooms can be tied together to create a focal point. Tuck Poppies in the vase around them to add color and trim some of the peony greenery to create their foundation. Add a spray of lily of the valley to create a simple and elegant look at the same time.
By Becky Quinten