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Spring Flower Arrangement


Spring arrangement.
Welcome spring with its wonderful flowers by creating an arrangement like the one shown in the adjacent photo. If you have an excess of spring flowers in the garden, it is a splendid way to celibrate spring indoors. Often as spring progresses there is an abundant supply of daffodils and tulips in the markets and shops giving opportunities to experiment. The flowers of forsythia bloom before its leaves appear so its stems make beautiful golden yellow lines that can frame or form backbones to an arrangement.

But how can you use forsythia in an arrangement when they may not be in flower at the same time as the daffodils? The secret, described below, is to force stems cut from the shrub to flower early.

Cut the forsythia branches when they are in bud anytime throughout February and March. Ideally when cutting the forsythia branches from the bush, take with you a bucket or bowl of water. Immerse the stems in the water as they are cut.

 

By keeping the stems in water they will not seal. If the bottom of the stems cannot be kept wet immediately they should be trimmed back indoors to expose a fresh surface before immersing in water. This method of collecting forsythia stems should also be used if picking one's own tulips and daffodils.

 

Forsythia stem in bud.

Scrape end of stems.

Crush end of stem.
 

Ensure that the forsythia stems take up plenty of water while being forced to flower by treating the stems as follows. Cut the stems with a slant so that there is more stem area exposed to take up the maximum amount of water. Scrape the bark off the first few inches and make a slit up the middle with a sharp penknife. If the stems are too woody to slit easily, they should be crushed by a blunt instrument such as a hammer.

To force the forsythia to flower early, place the stems in a vase or similar container of water in a warm place such as the airing cupboard or even a warm windowsill exposed to diffused sunlight (especially behind double glazing). Always ensure that the bottle or vase containing the stems has plenty of water.

 

Put stem in jar of water.

Warm windowsill.

Forsythia forced in this way will normally take two to three weeks to go from bud to flower stage. The period of time will vary though, depending on how early or late in the season the stems are cut.

 

Daffodils and tulips are best bought or picked in late bud stage, just as the bud is about to open. If the flowers are obtained at this stage they will last longer as they will mature in the arrangement.

In order that the flowers last as long as possible they should be conditioned before use by cutting off the bottom inch of their stems, then immersing the bottom of the stems in warm water. Leave the flowers standing in this water in a cool and shady place for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Condition the foliage by immersing it totally in water for a couple of hours. If necessary clean the foliage with a damp sponge. Choose a shallow bowl type container to house the pinholder and water. The diameter of the bowl should be a third of the height of the arrangement. Fix the pinholder firmly to the inside base of the container with oasis fix.

 

Famework of curved forsythia stems.

Yellow flowering forsythia stems make an ideal framework to form the oval shape of the arrangement. Normally, suitable curved stems can be found growing ot the shrub itself, however its stems are flexible, enabling them to be bowed as required. To bow the stems bend them over the whole length of the stem, rather than at one point, which will snap the stem.

Cut two main stems three times the width of the bowl. The length of these stems now sets the height of the arrangement. Place these stems on the pins in the outer ring of the pinholder at opposite sides to form an arch. Add to the outer curves of the arching forsythia stems with further ones, about three quarters the height of the original ones. Place thse stems evenly around each side of the pinholder.

 

Placing tulips and daffodills.

Towards the center back of the arrangement place a tulip, cut slightly shorter than the tallest forsythia stems. If the tulip flowers are at different stages of development, between bud and bloom, choose the one with the tightest bud for this topmost flower. Place a daffodil close underneath it, forward and to one side. Balance this daffodil with the heavier head of another tulip further down on the other side.

Gradually fill in the arrangement with the daffodils and tulips spraying out from the center and encased by the curved forsythia stems. Use tulip leaves and short cut daffodil heads to hide the rim of the container.

 

Finished arrangement.

Ensure that there is always enough water in the bowl. If the tulips or daffodils wilt remove them from the arrangement. Re-cut the stems in water. Stand the stems several inches deep in a container of tepid water to harden them. When the stems have straightened return them to the arrangement. Wilting is usually caused by an air bubble in the stem which prevents water being taken up. The period of time the arrangement can be kept can be prolonged by keeping it under cool conditions at all times. If the arrangement is kept in a warm room by day remove it to a cool room by night.

 

Buy and plant your own forsythia bush

Each year give yourself an abundant supply of forsythia flower stems by growing your own forsythia bush in your garden.


Flower Arranging Books

Triangular Spring Flower Arrangement

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All rights reserved. (c) B V & T M Wood

 
 
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