Among the Wildflowers
Photography by Elizabeth Lewis.
“Give the flowers a nice, long drink,” my grandmother used to say as she handed me the hose. Her front yard would burst with a rainbow of flowers every spring and summer. I loved to cut flowers from her garden and arrange them in small jam jars my grandfather had rinsed out and hoarded … ahem, saved. It’s best not to pick wildflowers growing out in nature, as this can be quite bad for the environment and even illegal in some instances. But if you don’t have a green thumb to grow your own, make friends with your neighbors who do or scout out your local farmers market. Here are some tips for creating the wildflower arrangement of your dreams:
Choose Your Blooms
Wildflowers grow in all sorts of textures and colors. Some great options include cosmos, lace flower, love-in-a-mist, zinnias, sunflowers, daisies, and lavender. If you’re harvesting flowers from a garden, the best time to cut them is early morning or late evening. Use a sharp, clean pair of scissors or floral snips, and cut just above a side branch where new buds would form. Have a bucket handy with some warm water in it so you can put the cut flowers straight into the water to help preserve them.
When choosing a vessel for your arrangement, take into account the types of flowers you’re using. If you have flowers with big heads, a tall, sturdy vase with a narrower opening will be the best option. A shorter container will work great for smaller blooms. Empty Mason jars, antique watering cans, and juice glasses are great options for adding personality to your rustic centerpiece. Use a sharp knife to trim each stem to fit your vessel, keeping in mind that a variety of heights will look best.
Keep it Clean
Once you’ve cut your flowers to fit, you’ll want to strip any leaves that will sit below the water line to prevent bacteria from forming in your water.
A Little Help
If you want extra support for your arrangement, cut some strips of floral tape and create a grid by attaching the strips across the opening of your vessel.
Think balance instead of symmetry. Start with your biggest, tallest blooms on one side and a handful of smaller, shorter blooms on the other side to create not only a balance in weight but also a visually interesting height line. Experiment with different textures and color palettes. Find a good spot for your floral masterpiece, and don’t forget to change the water every two days.