Here in London I was able to find quite a lot of beautiful flowering branches and it was hard to resist some of them - so I ended up picking three.
The first is lilacs in a beautiful dark pink colour and they also have the most stunning scent. Condition the branches by removing some or even all the leaves. Some florists say you should remove all the leaves to make the flowers last longer. If you like to have some lilac leaves- cut off a few separate branches and stick those in with the other flowering
branches with no leaves.
When you condition branches - as well as cutting the stems at an angle you also need to make a vertical cut upwards on the stem. This is to increase the surface that can absorb
water. The advise you get today is NOT to smash the stem with a hammer - that will increases the growth of bacteria.
I put the lilac branches in a white glass vase designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Alto. In the back is a painting by my sister-in-law Amy Trachtenberg and I also added a black Pueblo pottery bowl from New Mexico.
The second flowering branch is called Sorbus aria or whitebeam and has silvery grey leaves. It's often used as a foliage plant by florists and at this time of year it also has small clusters of silver grey buds.
I put the branches in a vase from Habitat that I found in one of my local charity stores. Mixed in on the table are some black objects - garden twine and a small round box that I inherited from my father - as well as some new and vintage metal objects - old keys from Sweden, a vintage Singer sewing machine oil can, a new little wire basket and a mini watering can.
I find the simplicity of just a few branches delightful and I specially like the clusters of buds and the downy underside of the soft green-grey spring leaves.
The last of the branches are some Viburnum opulus or guelder rose as they are also called. Viburnum opulus is a garden shrub - it has a woody stem and pompom-like heads made up of clusters of tiny very light green florets.
This one is a little tricky - the heads tends to hang and look a bit droopy - so either go with the flow and embrace whatever the flowers wants to do. Or you will have to support the heavy flower heads either by packing them tightly together, using other sturdy stems to make a grid as support in a mixed arrangement or by cutting the stems quite short and let them rest on the sides of the vase or container.
I call this last arrangement - 'My Grandmother arrangement' - as I have used my grandmother's old coffee tin and a handwoven rag rug that once belonged to her.
I have only used the tin as an outer container - inside is a jam jar filled with water holding the branches. Old metal tins and containers tend to rust quite easily if you leave water in them for any extended amount of time - and I don't want this tin to rust. I have cut the stems quite short and the flower heads are resting on each other as well as on the sides of the tin.
My collaborator Titti Malmberg over on HWIT BLOGG is also posting about flowering branches - so go over and have a look at what she has done.
Here is also a link to all the previous FLOWERS by Titti and I.
Have a Wonderful Floral Day!
See you soon!