Wednesday, May 30

Garden Pics of the Week: Hibiscus & Flower Arranging

I have 2 garden pictures for you today plus instructions on how to do your own flower arrangement!

First up: a photo of my very tall Hardy Hibiscus!
Hardy Hibiscus comes in red, pink and white. It's a very good investment for the garden because it comes back from the root every year as tall, leafy stems that bloom all summer. Multiple stems.
Being so tall, Hardy Hibiscus is a good background garden plant, though it looks best against a structure, a fence or needs staking to keep it upright. It also tends to re-seed itself readily, however, here in the deep south, mine don't spread themselves around. They just come up from the same ol' root every year. However, my Mother leaves in Indiana and hers spread themselves by seed everywhere. They will thrive in any soil and prefer full to partial sun, that is more sun then shade.
To avoid this you just have to dead-head the finished blossoms.
Now my Hibiscus in this photo below are unusually tall---7 to 7 1/2 feet at least, but are perfect next to the Pampas grass as sort of a "visual fence" blocking the our neighbors view of our front lawn and driveway fairly nicely.

Next pic is of a typical flower arrangement for this time of year on my table comprised of gladiolus and rubeckia plus some gardenia leaves.

The main goal in having a flower garden is so I can have free cut flowers in the house.
Did you know having a bouquet of flowers on your table or counter or anything blooming will make you happier? There's something cheerful about those smiley little flower faces.

How to Make Your Own Flower Arrangement:
The secret to making a flower arrangement is weaving the stems in a criss-cross fashion as you insert more and more stems, so your flowers will stand-up and stay in place in your vase.
Stems should be cut at an angle so you're flowers will be able to drink water easily.
How to Make an All-Around Oval Arrangement: 
What you'll need: 
A good size store pack of flowers with at least 15 to 17 flowers, a vase and some greenery you can cut from your own shrubs.
Fill your vase with warm tap water.
When you cut your flower stems, cut at a 45 degree slant. This helps them drink and live longer.

First Step: Create a base weave of greenery
You'll need 6 to 7 stems 8 to 10 inch stems of greenery cut from your own shrubs or trees in your yard. These should be long enough to lean slightly out of the vase.
 Remove any leaves that will fall below the water line, then arrange them in the vase on at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock, then the last two or three stems set upright in the center.
 This forms the base that will roughly hold your flowers in place.
Here, I used gardenia greenery.

Second Step Begin Inserting Flowers:
First insert a taller flower set straight down into the center of your greenery. 
This tall flower should be approx 1 1/2 times taller then the vase you're using.
I used glads, but you can use a mini-carnation or a miniature rose or even a regular carnation.
 (You may have to re-position this center flower to keep it in place until more is added.)

Next: Choose & cut 4 flowers to fit the the middle height between the tall center flower and top of vase. 
Keep in mind an imaginary oval sitting above your vase that you're aiming to fill with flowers.
Insert these 4 flowers at a slight outward angle around the clock at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions

Length really depends on the your vase size, arrangement size you're aiming at & number of flowers you have to create that.

Now select 4 more flowers: These will form the base of your oval arrangement shape sticking out around the top of the vase. Cut these stems and insert them on the clock at 2, 5, 8 and 11 o'clock, so they alternate with the middle height flowers.
These flowers should only extend far enough beyond the base to be create an oval look that works with the flowers already inserted. 
They should NOT out a mile or look leggy.

Now you're created your arrangement framework!
Last Step: Fill in the Remaining Spaces of Your Framework 
Cut and insert all remaining flowers in the spaces in-between and among the flowers already in the vase while keeping in mind NOT to extend past the imaginary lines of your oval shape!
If a flower has many heads, such as a daisy stem will, you can remove 2 or 3 and then poke them into spaces along the top of your vase to fill in along the bottom.
A slight height variation between the various flowers in your arrangement helps them look more natural, so it's okay form some flowers to be a tiny bit taller and others a tiny bit shorter.
Your flowers do not have to be

That's it. It takes a bit of practice to visualize that imaginary shape and judge the length for cutting your flowers, but with practice, you'll get it!

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