19 December 2014

Sarah Raven - How to Create a Christmas Wreath Vase Centrepiece

I have featured Sarah Raven many times before - but if you have missed my previous posts - here is some background information about Sarah. 

To begin with Sarah trained as a doctor, then as a florist before becoming a gardener, a BBC Gardner's World presenter, a teacher, the writer of many both gardening and cookbooks and she also runs her own business. I have done some of her workshops and I can tell you she's also a lovely lady and lots of fun.

Here is a brand new video where Sarah is showing you how to create a Christmas wreath vase centre piece for the table. As usual she is using a few different and exciting ingredients. The wreath also has a lot of colour and will work for both Christmas and any New Year festivities.

This wreath has beautiful combinations of plants and foliage and I think its just lovely - I hope you like it too!

Have a Lovely Floral Friday and a Great Weekend!

See you next week!

~ xoxo ~


17 December 2014

Floral Media - Pure Passion E-Magazine by Ewa Szymczak

I just found this lovely brand new Polish e-magazine called Pure Passion and it's available to read for free on the internet.

This is the first issue - out just in time for Christmas.

The editor-in-chief is Ewa Szymczak - who also writes the lovely Minty House Blog.

Pure Passion is only published in Polish - but the images are so beautiful that I still wanted to show and share this magazine with you.

It's featuring a mix of light and airy Scandinavian interiors all decorated for Christmas. For those of you who speak Polish there are recipes and DIY projects - as well as suggestions for books and movies.

For the rest of us there are 156 pages full of lovely Christmas inspiration. 


Have a Wonderful Floral Day!

See you later this week.

~ xoxo ~  


[Styling and photography by Ewa Szymczak/Minty House Blog.]

15 December 2014

Tiny Blooms - # 4 - Big White Cyclamen

I'm back with another 'Tiny Blooms' - this series of blog posts are about small arrangements. Small - might be the size of the container or it could be the size of the flowers or the amount of stems in each container. It will also be that the arrangement is minimal both in presentation and that it's quick and easy to do. Apart from that there are no other strict rules - I will allow myself a lot of creative freedom!

This arrangement is one of a few in the month of December - all about inspiration for making a 'Black and White Christmas' - well mostly white with some black additions - and mixing contemporary elements with some vintage. 

As my 'tiny bloom' I have used a potted Cyclamen and I have simply put the plastic pot in a zinc container - to save myself the time to re-pot it.

Two vintage black wooden frames - in the background - frames the white Cyclamen flowers very nicely, some light grey twine, a Finnish Iittala candle holder filled with white, black and silver Christmas tree baubles and a little tea-light finishes off the black and white scene.

So - a super quick and easy 'Tiny Blooms'!

Have a Lovely Floral Day!

I'll see you later in the week!

~ xoxo ~


[Styling and Photography © Ingrid Henningsson for Of Spring and Summer.] 

13 December 2014

A Bunch for the Weekend - # 33 - Red Poinsettia

This week on 'A Bunch for the Weekend' - I'm featuring some bright red Poinsettias.

I'm using them here mostly as cut flowers - but I also have some potted mini ones. Nowadays you can buy large pots of Poinsettias very cheep in the supermarkets or DIY stores - and they make fabulous cut flowers.

All the ones I found are British grown - not flown in from far away - so that is very nice.

I wanted to display them in a very simple and neutral setting - and I didn't want to add any more colour - I felt the red was bright enough - so I just added some seasonal white and silver. 

You'll need:

- 2 large pots of Poinsettias with about four to six flowers on each plant
- 3 mini pots of Poinsettias with just one small flower on each
- lots of different size clear glass apothecary jars and containers or similar clear glass containers
- some tea-lights in candle holders with a bit of sparkle
- 10-12 small silver Christmas tree baubles 

For conditioning the flowers - you'll also need:

- a pair of florist scissors or snippers
- a florist bucket
- a container with boiling water

Cut the stems at an angle - to increase water absorption. 
But when you cut Poinsettias they excrete a milky sap - so you need to stop the sap leaking out to prevent the flower from wilting - some extra little conditioning methods are needed. 

There are a few ways to stop the sap leaking out of the plant. One is to sear the end of the stem with a flame for 10-15 seconds - another is to dip the end in boiling water for 30 seconds and yet another is to after cutting put the flower in warm water and leave it there until the sap stops flowing - then change the water.

I'm following Sarah Ravens suggestion of using the boiling water method. Cut the stem at an angle - have a bowl ready with boiled water - dip the bottom 5 mm/1/4" of the stem and hold it there for 30 seconds.

Arrange the flowers in the clear glass containers - I have used vintage apothecary bottles and jars with just one stem in each - super simple.

Among the bottles I have then arranged the three mini Poinsettias, some tea-lights in sparkly little candle holders and scattered quite a few small, silver Christmas tree baubles.

Quick, easy, minimal (except for all the red!) and as it turned out very cheep. Above all very seasonal and very much Christmas - but with a new slant on how to use a traditional Christmas flower! 

Here is a blog post I wrote two years ago - quite interesting that I used the same Christmas baubles and the same kind of mini Poinsettia in little silver pots. Back then I didn't know that you could use Poinsettia as a cut flower - you'll find that there is a bit more information about Poinsettia and some interesting links. 

Here is a link to what is called Stars for Europe - a European website with lots of information about Poinsettia. 

Have a Happy Floral Saturday and a Great Weekend!

~ xoxo ~


[Styling and Photography © Ingrid Henningsson for Of Spring and Summer]

10 December 2014

Floral Media: Blossom Zine E-Magazine by Dana Frigerio

The Winter issue of Blossom Zine e-magazineis out and it's available to read for free on the internet. 

Blossom Zine is about flowers, gardening and gardening design as well travel, cooking, art, design and lots of gardens from around the world.
The magazine is bilingual - Italian and English.
The Editor-in-Chief is Dana Frigerio - who is also a garden designer and she writes the blog Dana Garden Design.

In this issue you'll find an interview with the people at The Garden Gate Flower Company an organic flower farm in the UKThere are articles about - a flower store in Milan, how to make pomander for Christmas, a dress and a wrist corsage made from natural materials, a magical white Christmas and a feature of a press event in Hamburg showing how to use Poinsettias in new fresh ways. 

Have a Wonderful Floral Day!

See you later this week.

~ xoxo ~  


8 December 2014

Take 3 Flowers! - # 4 - White and Yellow Paperwhites

I'm back with another blog post in the series 'Take 3 Flowers!'

Where I will show you how to make easy but beautiful and stylish flower arrangements - just using three different flowers. Often one of the three will be some kind of foliage.

Using just three flowers will sometimes be a challenge - but it will also keep the cost down. Cut flowers can be expensive but foliage on the other hand tends to be cheep. You can use lots of it to help fill out the arrangement and to provide support and structure for the other flowers.

Finding seasonal cut flowers at this time of year is not always easy - but Paperwhites is definitely one flower that we always associate with Christmas. The white one is the more well known but there is also a yellow one called 'Grand Soleil d'Or'. What a great name - 'Big Golden Sun' - it might not be very big but it certainly is very bright!

All the flowers are grown by Cel Robertson who owns Forever Green Flower Company - an organic flower farm in Norfolk. I buy them from her at my local Saturday Farmers' Market. I know they will always be fresh and in beautiful condition.

You'll need: 

- 15 stems of white Paperwhites - Narcissus 'Tazetta' 
- 21 stems of yellow Paperwhites - 'Grand Soleil d'Or' - also called Golden Yellow Paperwhites
- 5 stems of small dark leaved Eucalyptus foliage 
- 3 small vases or containers - in this case I have used three small vintage cream jars with narrow openings
- 2 small elastic bands
- black and natural coloured twine
- a selection of tea-lights in small candle holders, a lantern, some silver coloured Christmas tree baubles, a few extra cream jars and a fabric with a winter theme.

For conditioning the flowers - you'll also need:

- florists snippers or scissors
- a florist bucket
- a sharp knife and a cutting board

As always - condition the flowers by removing any leaves that would end up below the water line in the vase. Cut the stems at an angle - to increase water absorption. Put in a clean container with tepid water and leave in a cool, dark place over night or at least for a few hours before making the final arrangement.

Sorry, about always repeating this last bit - but it's probably the most important thing you can do to make your flowers last longer! So I'm afraid you have to put up with me always repeating myself.

In the case of Paperwhites if you buy them as cut flowers they will most likely come without any leaves.  

I didn't want to make one arrangement mixing the two Paperwhites in different colours with the foliage - but decided to put them in separate containers. 

To give the small flowers a bit more impact - I decided to do a version of what florists call Narcissus Topiary Tree arrangement.

You start with one stem in your hand and then add stems one by one - in circles going around the first one. With larger Daffodils you would position them so that each single bloom faces outwards - with Paperwhites, that has several blooms on each stem, this is a bit trickier - whichever way the blooms face - in the end the bunch will look lovely!

Hold the bunch quite high up and when you've added all the stems - tie some raffia, twine or ribbon just below the heads. To make it a bit easier you can put an elastic band on first and then hide it under a ribbon or twine. 

Measure where to make the final cut - by standing the container at the edge of your work surface and hold the arrangement next to it. You can then decide how tall you want the arrangement in proportion to the container. 

Lastly lay the bunch on a cutting board and with a sharp knife make a straight cut across all the stems. This is so that the arrangement can stand up straight in the container. You can help it along by placing some moss all around the stems inside the container.

Place the dark green Eucalyptus foliage very simply in a container on their own - just to add some greenery as a contrast and to give some texture to the arrangement.

The seasonal things around the flowers are some vintage silver Christmas tree baubles, a few tea-lights in small glass candle holders and a fabric with a winter theme - this one looks like fresh snow falling from the sky.

 Quick, easy and using just 3 flowers!

Have a Lovely Floral Monday!

See you later in the week!

~ xoxo ~


[Styling and photography © Ingrid Henningsson for Of Spring and Summer.]

[Flowers and foliage from Forever Green Flower Company.]

5 December 2014

A Bunch for the Weekend - # 32 - Amaryllis

This week on 'A Bunch for the Weekend' - I'm featuring some stunning cream and light green Amaryllis with some very simple foliage.

Amaryllis or Hippeastrums as they are also called - have for a long time been a very popular bulb to grow for Christmas. Lately it has also started to become popular as a cut flower. 

I love how you can get a lot of impact from just a few stems and you will not need any other flowers - just a little bit of foliage.   

You'll need:

- 2 stems of amaryllis with multiple buds or flowers on each stem
- a bundle of long narrow steel grass
- 3 stems of small leaved eucalyptus
- a large clear glass vase or container
- some small candle holders with tea-lights, a plate or saucer and a piece of fabric with a Christmas theme. I have used a black and white fabric with snowflakes and a black plate for the tea-lights.

For conditioning the flowers - you'll also need:

- a sharp knife and cutting board
- elastic bands
- small garden canes
- cotton wool
- a small jug of water
- a florist bucket

If you buy them as cut flowers from a florist, market or flower stall they don't come with any leaves. Look for flowers that have not yet opened up fully with no pollen showing. 

As soon as they open up remove the yellow pollen from the top of the stamens with your fingertips. Have a tissue or paper towel ready to collect them in. The pollen will stain the petals and your tablecloth. Make sure your hands are dry when you do it and wash your hands afterwards. 

Measure the Amaryllis stems against the side of the vase and trim them so that they sit a bit above the edge of the vase. In the case of Amaryllis I like to trim the stem straight across. To make sure the stems will support the heavy flower heads you can insert a small garden cane in the hollow stem.
While holding the flower upside down - insert the cane - fill the stem up with water and plug it with cotton wool. 

To prevent the bottom of the stems from curling up - put a small elastic band around the bottom - close to the end. The bottom of the stems tend to split and curl outwards - the elastic band will prevent that from happening and by cutting the stems straight across you'll have a neat finish.    

Place immediately in a clean container with tepid water and leave in a cool place over night or at least a few hours before making the final arrangement.

Place the Amaryllis stems so that they are leaning on the edge of the container - place the grass and the Eucalyptus evenly all around the flowers.

The black Mexican pottery plate has three little candle holders with tea-lights and some more of those dark mini Christmas tree baubles - all sitting on a black and white fabric with snow crystals.

This is some more inspiration for another 'Black and White Christmas' - where you just keep it simple and stylish. 

Have a Happy Floral Friday and a Great Weekend!

~ xoxo ~


[Styling and Photography © Ingrid Henningsson for Of Spring and Summer.]