Spring Flowers by Swallows & Damsons

by Grace Bonney

As the last of my tulips shed their big waxy petals, I can’t deny that it’s been a pretty glorious spring. The swallows are returning for summer and I feel like I can hear more birdsong than ever before in our little Sheffield garden. Everything is taking off. The grass is growing rapidly, weddings are in full flow, peonies are blooming and before we know it, summer will be bearing down on us. So I’m taking a moment to appreciate spring, to take a slow, close look around and breathe it all in.

This table arrangement I’ve created is an homage to this time of year. The crossover where tulips and hellebores meet roses and peonies. The foliage is young and fresh, yet bares warm autumnal hues in its oh-so-new and fragile state. The birds, insects and flowers merge in some harmonious botanical picture postcard. Flowers invade the table and there’s little room for anything else, except perhaps cake — of course, there’s always room for cake. —Anna Potter 

Photography by India Hobson

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

Mark Twain


Step 1

For the base of the arrangement I have used 3 old metal drawers from a filing cabinet, checked that they are water-tight, and then filled with chicken wire which is secured into the container with strong florists tape. Fill with water.

Step 2

Create height and movement with different varieties of foliage. Tall branches of blossom jut out to create tree-like haphazard shapes. The larger sycamore leaves can be used as coverage for the base. The murky golden privet injects color against the darker hues of the wild cherry leaves. The hellebores can be added at this point also, lifting any areas of darkness.

Step 3

Next add the focal flowers, the statement blooms that should roughly follow the lines of the foliage that’s already in place. Some tall, echoing the branches of blossom, and some tucked further back to give depth to the arrangement. Here we used peonies, tulip “Charming Lady,” tulip “Brownie,” lilac and “Amnesia” roses.

Step 4

The salt and pepper flowers are up next: the smaller headed, sprig type flowers that can fill in gaps and burst out of the arrangement without creating a dense shape. The likes of forget me nots and astrantia have a transparent quality and delicate touches of fritillaria bring a magical, storybook feel to the design.

Step 5

This can now stand alone as a finished centerpiece, or if you’re like me (where more is more) you can add another to either side to complete the spring table explosion.

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