When we visited the market last week we were hoping to find the ingredients to show you how to put together a late summer floral arrangement. As we walked around for our first look at what seasonal goodies were available, we noticed that actual flowers were in short supply. We weren’t in the mood for sunflowers, dahlias were already sold out, and nothing else looked all that great. Then we saw them. Strawflowers usually don’t impress us much, but this particular bucket had a beautiful blend of warm colors and our minds immediately went towards gradation. Alongside this week’s other big winner, heirloom tomatoes, we were able to create a palette-perfect tabletop setting to transition us out of summer and into fall.
The thing that first stands out about strawflowers is their texture; appropriately enough, strawflowers feel like straw. The have the same texture as most flowers do after they have been dried, which means they are long-lasting and hold up well for projects. This flower loves long, hot, dry summers, so by the time Indian Summer rolls around strawflowers are in their prime.
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And everyone knows that summer is the season for fabulous, flavorful, burst-in-your-mouth tomatoes. As the season winds down everyone should be running out and grabbing as many tomatoes off the vine as they can carry right this second. We did exactly that and ended up with a selection of tomatoes in every size, color and flavor. We paid particular attention to choosing colors that would blend well for our tomato “wreath”. Reds with a bit of green and orange ones with yellowy stripes worked particularly well for bridging the gaps between solid colors.
Then the real fun started. We snipped the heads off of our strawflowers and arranged them in color groupings on the table. You could leave the flowers flat on the table, glue them onto a wreath form, or string them into garland form like we did. The flowers are sturdy and easy to string, and their dry nature means that this garland will last into fall.
With a few serving plates strung along next to each other we were able to lay out our end-of-summer tomatoes in a similar gradation, although don’t count on this arrangement to last quite as long. Delicious, freshly cut heirloom tomatoes don’t stand much of a chance on our dinner table.