Decorating with Wildflowers
Summer is upon us and the wildflowers you planted are in full bloom and you have enough to spare, maybe, for a bouquet for your table!
Wildflowers are great candidates for cut flower arrangements. Blooms can be freely cut without fear of ruining the manicured look of the typical flower bed and arrangements can be just as free and wild as the components. Make a big multicolored arrangement with a relaxed informal design that will really light up your room and give the feel of walking through a meadow. The components of your design will necessarily reflect the seasonal bloom times. Try arranging flowers along with interesting textures of grasses, ferns or branches from bushes or trees. Seed pods and even bird’s nests make great accents. The small delicate size of most wildflowers allows for groupings of similar flowers together with open spaces. Look for colors that complement each other and a variety of textures.
Favorite flowers for bouquets are Bachelor’s Buttons in shades of pink and blue, spikey Purple Coneflower, fluffy towers of lavender Lupine, tall stalks of blue Larkspur, and the striking yellows of Black-eyed Susan and Gloriosa Daisy. Think about including the multicolored warm hues of the Firewheel Gaillardia, native annual Sunflowers, and Plains Coreopsis. Tall stalks of the brilliant white Shasta Daisy, the fuzzy spikes of Liatris or tall stalks of ferny-leafed Cosmos add eye-catching interest. Poppies, although brilliantly tempting, don’t have a very long vase life. Their delicate petals tend to fall off with just a touch. Use the bobbing, white clusters of annual Baby’s Breath to fill in the spaces and unite all components. Lastly, add a few tall grass tassels reminiscent of meadows and forest glens.
When decorating with wildflowers, plan to cut your flowers for arranging in the morning hours. This is when the plants have taken up the most water and are not in the work mode of photosynthesis. Choose the freshest flowers, even choosing some that are just beginning to open up, to ensure that your arrangements will last as long as possible. Take a clean bucket, filled with 6” or so of warm water, out to the wildflower patch and cut the stems as long as possible on an angle with very sharp scissors or knife. This will ensure that the flower stem will be able to take up water and nutrients for the longest time possible. Any vessel can serve as a vase or container for displaying your bouquet. Be creative, even a basket will work with a smaller cup or bowl inside that can hold water. Keep in mind the scent of your flowers. Some of those beautiful flowers in the wild may have a very strong or unpleasant scent when in a closed room. Wildflowers with milky sap, such as poppies, release the sap into the water and stop the water uptake of the other flowers. The stems can be sealed shut by holding a lit match to the cut end of each stem until the stem turns black.
Even a ‘wild’ flower arrangement starts with some basic arranging steps.
First, start with the base layer. This can be some general greenery or the flowers that will provide the bulk of the contents. Make sure to remove all vegetation that will be below the water level which would rot and increase the bacteria in the water and decrease the life of the arrangement.
Next, add the other flower choices to your display, working with one flower species at a time, placing them at differing angles and directions. Add the larger focal flowers in odd numbers, such as 1 very tall central flower or 3 or 5 large eye-catchers.
Then, balance and fill holes with baby’s breath or greenery and last, add in odd numbers, the tall textural grasses or seed pods. Check the water level and add water daily with 1 tsp of household bleach per quart to inhibit bacteria growth. You can revive wilted flowers by re-cutting the stem end and placing in hot water.
Create an arrangement for any room of the house or porch or even your favorite reading nook. Remember to balance the size of the arrangement with the room and use, putting low arrangements on the dining table. Don’t be afraid to bring the bounty of your own wildflower meadow into your home and feel free to upload a picture of your arrangement to our website!