entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorweeders digest

weeder’s digest: simple hydrangea arrangement

by Grace Bonney

Today I would like to talk about making a little flower arrangement for your home. You know, something simple. Because you cleaned the apartment…or, you meant to. Because you went to the dentist. Sometimes I just want to make my friends jealous, as in, “Wha? Oh, the flowers. No, I just picked those up the other day after my appointment with my colorist. Huh? Yeah, I’m getting my color assessed. Oh, haha…no, she’s not taking new clients.” Whatev’s. Point here is that a little flower goes a long way towards making you feel like a classy broad. And the truth is you deserve that.

In the days before Saipua I would buy individual stems from a lovely shop around the corner for me. It’s where I found my first hydrangea, an “Antique Hydrangea” to be specific. One of my very favorite things. No two are alike. Unusual, mottled coloring. Spots on some. Each flower head is approximately the size of a softball, so they fill a vase quite nicely. And they dry well, meaning you can hoard them forever and ever.

Last week I found myself with a shop full of Pepto-Bismol pink flowers. Mystified, I went about sourcing vessels and filler material that would dampen the pink impact. I cut some pieces from a hibernating cedar tree outside, and pulled a rust colored tea canister down from the shelf. Voila! An unlikely match for bright pink flowers, but then again, color can be such an illusive thing. You sometimes won’t know how two colors will react to each other until you put them side-by-side.

Here’s what my little arrangement needs: 1 hydrangea ($10-15) 3 ranunculus ($2-3/each) some clippings from an evergreen tree (cedar in this case, but juniper would be nice as well). Hydrangeas need a lot of hydrating. To promote water uptake, I usually make a slice in the bottom of the stem with a sharp knife. (Misting the big flower head with water also helps to keep them fresh.) To prep the ranunculus, cut away the buds that stem from the side of the main flower – I find it’s easier to manipulate the small buds separately. Then “thread” the ranunculus and buds down through the top of the hydrangea flower head, varying the height of each bloom and bud. When you’ve got it looking good, go ahead and grab that dark green evergreen you snagged from the yard and “cuff” it around your handheld bouquet. Last, cut all the stems even and sink them down in your vessel. If it needs it, use a rubber band to keep the stems in place, then place the bouquet in your vase.

Remember; put the flowers away from the heat and out of the sun. Change the water everyday if you can. Next week we’ll do Valentines Day for all you players (or haters).

And lastly, take a minute to think about your succulents; I’m so concerned about them! When I suggested last week we all bring our plants to the shower I should have clarified! You don’t just shower with anyone. Or any plant.

If you water your succulents once or twice a month and allow them to get completely bone dry in between watering, then a quick shower is great for moistening the soil and cleaning the dust off all the surfaces. Weekly watering is too much for succulents. Root rot is the most common way people kill plants – and it comes from over watering. Any other questions I’ll try to answer in the comments section.

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  • What a wonderful arrangement!

    Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers; they grow in the humid parts of Portugal but we can´t seem to find them for sale at florists…

    I love this new flower feature! It’s great to be able to learn about the ‘gentle arts’ online… that’s truly tardition with a twist.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  • I love this new column! Can you do one on making a bouquet? I might tempt to make my own and would really appreciate any advice! : )

  • I just came upon your site and love,love your flower arrangements. It’s one of those things I love to dabble in. Also, love your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing!!

  • A month ago I have planted a new cedar tree. This is about 2 feet tall. Now it appears the leaves changing to black color from the bottom and gradually going up. I am wondering if it is over watering the tree or else. My question is how can I save the tree and make it re-root?

  • I know cedar tree is a slow growing tree, but don’t know how long it takes a 2 feet tall tree growth up to 5 feet tall. I saw the label that sticked on the tree when I brought it, it said this tree will be 2.5 wide and 13 feet tall

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