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Spring Floral Arrangement by Swallows & Damsons

by Grace Bonney

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In a desperate attempt to hold onto a fleeting spring, I went on a wild rampage cutting all the remaining blooms for one last party. An unseasonably hot May week in England brought great celebrations to most folks, but not for me. This being the first year I have successfully grown my own flowers in the garden, I simply couldn’t bare witnessing the big, blousy or delicate and papery blooms being frazzled in the midday sun. Nothing was left unscathed in my garden, the same for my neighbors and even my friends. I wanted them to last forever; I wanted to freeze time, which is the antithesis to my usual mantra that flowers are transient, impermanent and fading. Quick to ditch this belief, it seems, when the flowers in question are ones that I have grown by my own fair hand!

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Reluctantly, I took the buckets of remaining tulips, narcissus, hellebores, blossoms and lilacs with their heady scents out of my cool cellar to capture their last breath before we make way for the new summer season and all its bounty. —Anna

Photography by India Hobson


The Flowers

La Belle Époque tulips
Black Parrot tulips
Brown Sugar tulips
Cairo tulips
Black hellebore
Hawthorn blossom
Apple blossom
Cherry blossom
Salmon Trout narcissus

The Arrangement

I took a shallow glass bowl and placed my old lead flower frog in the center. I would highly recommend hunting one of these down online or in a thrift store — they allow room for error and for a more simple, minimal structure, rather than being too concerned with hiding foam or chicken wire.

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I started by creating the basic shape and structure of the arrangement. Single branches of sycamore and hawthorn blossom are all that was required for this design. I then followed the lines that I had created with my blooms. The heavy headed La Belle Époque tulips totally stole the show with their layers of ruffled petals — and the dramatic black stamen and the more coppery Cairo tulips created shapes and bends all on their own accord and dictated the next steps of the arrangement.

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I used the Salmon Trout narcissus with its perfectly peachy trumpet and the blackest of hellebores to fill in spaces, weaved between the tulips. Then, I finally dotted more fragile branches of blossom to complete the overall shape and add a delicate texture to the composition.

Heads snapped, petals fell and there was a light covering of blossom snow scattered around the room. India and I were a hot mess after carrying flower buckets up and down three flights of stairs, picking up cherry blossom petals after us as we went, and with each step and each petal I could feel the closure that I needed to move on. Spring had sprang and sprung and it was an utter delight.

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