In the heat of midsummer, it's not hard to rob the flower garden to decorate the indoors. Why leave something outside where it's too hot for you to enjoy?
Bring the garden inside by making a bouquet that will say summer.
You'll be surprised at what you can do after a little practice.
Your first effort can be as simple as three stems of daisies or roses set at different heights in a tall, thin bud vase. A sprig of greenery will finish it off. Do this and you'll be inspired enough to do a mixed bouquet for the dining-room table.
Summer garden flowers are great for the novice arranger. Pick a dozen or so red zinnias, and you're ready to arrange something )) quick and easy for a buffet dinner on the deck. Loosely arrayed in a bowl or vase, the zinnias practically arrange themselves.
You don't have to stick to solid colors of the same flower. A mixed bouquet from the garden -- marigolds, lilies, roses, zinnias, daisies, small sunflowers, accented by salvia, snapdragons and goldenrod -- is an easy one to make.
Summer colors -- purple, pink, red, yellow and orange -- go together nicely. Tuck in some white flowers (baby's breath from the florist, perhaps), add green foliage, and you have a summer bouquet.
The tricky part is settling on the container and the height of your arrangement. If it's a round centerpiece for the dining room, the finished product should be short enough to see over; and it should look similar from all directions. If it's a buffet-table centerpiece, make it big and tall enough so the flowers don't get lost in a long table of food and dishes.
The choice of container dictates the size of the arrangement. The flowers and foliage should rise above the top of the container about one to 1 1/2 times its height. A 1-foot vase will yield an arrangement about 2 1/2 feet tall; a shorter container, such as a 6-inch bowl, can produce a petite arrangement as short as 1 foot high for a table centerpiece. A round arrangement should be as wide as it is tall. A triangle-shaped arrangement should be roughly half as wide as it is tall.
Glass marbles make an anchor for stems in clear glass or crystal bowls; green florist foam is good for opaque containers.
When placing the flowers, first establish the height and width of the arrangement with the dominant flowers, such as the roses, lilies, marigolds, zinnias or sunflowers. Then fill in -- staying within the height and width you've already set -- with smaller accent flowers and stems of foliage. If you have stems of baby's breath, feathery goldenrod or frothy small asters, you can get away without using foliage. Let your eye be your guide on this. And don't forget to fill the container with water.
Bringing blooms indoors
Cut flowers in the early morning or evening. Moisture content is highest then.
Select blossoms that are about half open. They'll fill out quickly.
Use a clean, sharp knife or shears. Don't use the type of shears that crush stems. It blocks uptake of water.
Put cut stems immediately in a pail of warm water. As soon as possible, cut the stems again under water to keep water flowing to blooms and the stems straight.
Indoors, stand the flowers in warm water in a cool place for several hours to increase amount of water in stem and flower.
When ready to arrange, cut the stems at an angle at desired
length. Strip off the foliage that would go under water. Mix commercial floral preservative in water.
Pub Date: 8/03/97