Edible bouquets might not be the first thing you think of when wanting to do a flower arrangement.
My collaborator Titti and I did not so long ago - 'Edible Flowers' and 'Bouquets of Herbs' - and now we wanted to do 'Edible Bouquets'.
A bit of a challenge to say the least - but both Titti and I like a challenge. I have to say that I went from thinking in the beginning "This is never going to work" - to having so much fun playing with flowers, vegetables, fruit and berries.
Sunflowers was the first thing I bought. You can eat the seeds, the buds, the stalk and the petals.
BUT - please do some research before you eat any part of a flower!
Like usual I conditioned the flowers by removing leaves and cutting the stalks at an angle and leaving in a clean container with cool water for a few hours.
I also did something that I have done many times before - I pulled off all the yellow 'petals' - leaving the central dark brown disc of tiny flowers.
It almost becomes a different flower and it's something that works very well if you don't want the strong yellow to compete with other colours in the arrangement.
I made two arrangements with the sunflowers - one with just the sunflowers on their own and one where I mixed them with Swiss chard, spring-onions, fennel tops and a little bit of trailing golden hops down the side.
It was very different buying vegetables to display and photograph as suppose to cook with. When you buy for cooking you mainly buy for taste and colour and any small bad or bruised bit you just cut off - well, that wouldn't look very good in a photograph - so you have to look for vegetables with as few blemishes as possible and you also have to buy more then you need - so there are some extra just in case things don't go according to plan.
It also became clear to me early on that it was not a traditional flower arrangement that I wanted to do with all the vegetables, fruit and berries. Instead I went for making several small individual arrangements in jam jars. Then putting them all together to make one large display.
I tied a few strands of raffia with a simple knot - around the carrots, the Swiss chard and the broad beans and plonked them into old jam jars.
I also walked around my own garden to see what I could find there that was edible. I found some golden hops, elderflower berries and bunches of grapes on the Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea'.
Elderflower berries are quite beautiful with their dark almost black berries and purple stems - and putting some in a jam jar makes a simple but interesting arrangement.
It's obviously a good year for grapes on garden vines. But 'edible' - well not right now - it's probably too early - they are still very, very sour - but look stunning - just arranged on vine-leaves and a few added corkscrew tendrils.
In all I have used:
- sunflowers - with yellow petals removed
- Swiss chard - the one with bright red, yellow and orange stems
- carrots - I used orange carrots but it would have been nice to have found some heritage purple and yellow ones
- long red sweet bell peppers
- fennel tops
- spring-onions with their long green tops intact
- golden hops - long tendrils with flowers and leaves
- elderflower berries
- grapes from the vine Vitis vinifera
- vine leaves and some of the long curly tendrils
Also go over and see what Titti on HWIT BLOGG has done. We always do the same theme but our posts are quite different in character - so you'll get inspiration from two directions.
Have a Wonderful Floral Day!