This past weekend we entertained some guests from England (Chef Kev’s Aunt and her husband) and it inspired me to do a casual country bouquet as a centrepiece.

To start, I went to my local garden centre and picked out $20 worth of the blooms I wanted. No filler, no branches of leaves, no fuss, just straight pretty blooms. I don’t mind that (filler etc.) for certain arrangements but really wanted to create a contemporary take on the traditonal ‘english garden’ as a nod to our guests :). So no room for extra fluff here.

I chose (from left) a soft green viburnum, pink peonies, and white and pink dahlias.

Here’s a neat little design tip that may be of interest. I learned it when I was in design school (I’m a Graphic Designer) but find it comes in very helpful for pretty much anything visual…

Things look better in ‘threes’. And along that same thought, odd numbers.

For example, this bouquet looks like a collection of random blooms. But break it down and it is purposefully made up of a combination of the following ‘three’ and ‘odd numbered’ elements:
3 viburnums
3 peonies
5 dahlias (odd number)
= 11 blooms total (odd number)

Look a litle closer and you may also notice that those 11 blooms are made up of 3 colours – green, pink and white.

Now let’s get to arranging these little pretties!

First up I chose my vase. I picked a simple one that wasn’t too tall since it was being used as a centrepiece. It’s kind of important that the guests can talk to each other rather than a large bouquet that they can’t see past. Ha. This vase had a nice wide opening which fit in with the vision I had in mind.

I taped off a grid – done simply with regular scotch tape – as I did here. The grid offers some structure and support (so your flowers don’t flop over) and allows you to plan out placement a bit easier.

I cut each bloom before placing it in the vase. It’s a good idea to always cut (at an angle) above any spots where a new shoot or branch would come out. I was told once that fresh water can get up the stalk faster/easier by bypassing this ‘intersection.

I started placing my flowers in, beginning with the viburnum.

See how the flowers are trying to flop over? I placed all of my blooms in the middle four sections of the grid since they are large and wanted to ‘hang loose’. Keeping them towards the centre ensured that when they did naturally flop down, they ended up where I wanted them (grazing the edge of the vase) and not hanging down over the sides.

The dahlia’s went in next.

Again, I kept all of these in the centre four quadrants.

As I trimmed the peonies to add in, I noticed a few petals that had begun to turn. It’s okay to remove them, and actually a good idea. Even if a petal is on it’s way out, it’s taking vital water away from the rest of the bloom so don’t feel bad removing the offenders.

In went the peonies and I was done!

Peonies open really fast so even though I made this the day before our guests came, that ‘ball’ of a peony was open wide and gorgeous by the time we had dinner they day after I arranged this.

Viburnum detail…

getting up in this dahlia’s face…

And some face-time with my favourite flower – the peony.

This arrangement was simple, fun to make and (in my opinon) beautiful!

Entertained any overseas guests lately? Used it as a (good) excuse to buy flowers? I did. Guilty. But in a good way.

Cheerio. Chip Chip.

Weekend Bloggy Reading