summer florals: milk glass fantasy picnic

Hi guys! Sarah from Blossom & Branch here. Perhaps I have mentioned that summer is my most favorite season? Today I conjured a little summer picnic fantasy using feminine, classic milk glass.  The idea of lounging around with prosecco and fruit and being surrounding by adorable floral arrangements seems the perfect remedy to the hectic pace of life here in the Big City.  With the help of Jennifer Davis, photographer extraordinaire, I captured a glimpse of a leisurely afternoon on a blanket.

Milk glass is a popular container for florals and other decorative elements in spring and summer.  First created in Venice in the 16th century, milk glass became a collectible for nobility and rose to the height of popularity in the “Gilded Age” toward the end of the 19th century in both Western Europe and the United States.  Now you can find vintage milk glass (from Depression era 30’s and 40’s reproductions) and also more modern fabrications (they still make it!) all over flea markets, antique shops and online at ebay and Etsy.

CLICK HERE for the rest of sarah’s post (including tips for creating these arrangements on your own and more beautiful images) after the jump!

Milk glass can be a wonderfully affordable container that adds whimsy and charm!  For several years, it has also been a trendy alternative to traditional centerpieces at weddings and events.  I get many requests from clients wanting to use milk glass for outdoor events or even to bring that quaint, romantic feel inside.

For arrangements like these, I like to use flowers that look like they came from an “heirloom” garden: a curly hydrangea variety called “Ayesha,” queen Anne’s lace, strawflower, scabiosa, etc.

If the milk glass container has an awkward shape, try using strong, rubbery floral tape to create a “tape grid” across the opening of the vase.  Stretch the tape across the mouth in a cross-hatch fashion until you have created smaller openings in which to place each flower as you go.  You can use this grid to prop up the individual flowers in the arrangement until it fills in more completely and gets sturdy!

HINT: Create tape grid on dry vase and carefully add water to the vase after.

All gorgeous photos by: Jennifer Davis

Flowers and styling: Sarah Brysk Cohen

  1. Tina says:

    Absolutely gorgeous pictures – love it! :-)

  2. I love milk glass and I have a few pieces from my mother. The pictures are beautiful and inspiring. I love the combination of light and dark.

  3. what a wonderful posh picnic! i share the same love affair with milk glass…it is charming in every sense of the word.

    happy weekend!

    sylvie of silver lining

  4. Brittany says:

    What are those round bluish purple flowers? The ones that look like blue sweet gum (in the fourth photo down)?

  5. anna says:

    so beautiful! these floral arrangements are fantastic. i would love to be on that picnic.

  6. wishful nals says:

    i’ve never even heard of milk glass, yet i love it. these are gorgeous photos, too. i’d love to be at that picnic. xo!

  7. this post is a pure delight! so beautiful flowers! have a nice weekend. xo

  8. We love how unashamedly romantic and frilly these milk glass arrangements are. *sigh*

  9. Thanks, everybody!

    @Brittany: Those blue-ish purple flowers are called Echinops…they are a kind of thistle. They are a little spikey but working with them is a blast. Blue thistle is more commonly found (with a similar look) in flower shops.

  10. Unbelievably gorgeous photos! My favorite is the bluish purple arrangement- so pretty in the milkglass!!!

  11. Natalie says:

    I love milk glass. Always on the hunt for more modern looking pieces. I use mine for spontaneous wildflower picks. Those arrangements look beautiful.

  12. Karen Bowers says:

    oh my, those flower arrangements are just gorgeous. i had to spend 10 minutes studying that amazing florist’s site!

  13. JLH says:

    The lilac and tiny tulip combination makes me swoon. Gorgeous!

  14. Alice says:

    Wow, what fantastic photos. And the flower arrangements are gorgeous! I like to collect milk glass and these photos have inspired me to use them for future flower arrangements.

    Thanks for this wonderful post!

  15. Maria says:

    one of my favorite vases I use at home is a pink milkglass vase. it looks so creamy and always makes flowers look gorgeous!

  16. Yvonne says:

    Sarah, In the garden, what’s the sweet purple tree under which the picnic blanket is spread? I think it’s a cherry, but exactly what kind because it’s uniquely sweet and not ominously HUGE. Thank you! Yvonne

  17. Meg says:

    Beautiful flower arrangements, styling and photos!! Meg, La Partie Events

  18. Douce France says:

    These are very inspiring!
    I collect Milkglass and I have a garden that is just waiting for an arrangement ! Very nice post!

  19. Katie says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!!
    Would you mind telling me what kind of flowers are in the second photo? They are pale yellow and so delicate looking.

  20. jessica says:

    it’s as if milk glass wasnt gorgeous enough… ahh lovely!

  21. Hi again!

    @Katie: The flowers in the second photo are “Tanacetum” in the aster family. Sometimes they call these flowers “tansy” flowers and they come in 70 different varieties, most of which are white or yellow. Some varieties look like little daisies and others like tiny buttons. They are inexpensive but tend to only last a few days. Clean the leaves well and they will last a bit longer.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I also have a nice collection of milk glass and this beautiful spread makes me want to get every piece of it out and filled with flowers! Also, I am in love love love with the little suitcase – style bag – would you mind telling me where it came from? Thank you!!

  23. Syndi says:

    My sister collects these. I am forwarding this article. It’s like eye candy :-)

  24. amya says:

    it’s like inviting some lovely, quiet, and very polite birds to join in your picnic … i just love this idea so much.

  25. So Classy! I want to go on that picnic!
    I’d love to see an edible arrangement to go with my prosecco!

  26. Kelley says:

    When I “click here” to see the rest of Sarah’s post, nothing happened. Wow. I just love all these ideas!

  27. These photographs are divine. So romantic and summery. Thanks.

  28. Hi again, Lovelies,

    @Yvonne: I believe the tree is a Japanese Plum tree.

    @Jennifer: That vinyl suitcase actually came from Pier 1 in Seattle about 4 years ago!

  29. JoyAnn says:

    This is a great post!! I love love love milk glass. I have pieces all over my house. There is something so elegant and beautiful about milk glass. It is just like a great pair a jeans you can dress it up or just keep it simple.

  30. deborah says:

    oh, this is such a lovely post! milkglass is a year-round delight, and just perfect for a picnic! stemmed cake plates I found @ a yard sale are right at the top of my collectables list! your pieces and photos are gorgeous! thank you for sharing!


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