I love working with flowers and listening to each stem tell me how it wants to be displayed. Living in Westchester NY, I go into Grand Central Station when I travel into the NYC. There are tons of great shops in Grand Central, but one of my favorites is Dahlia Florist. They have a wonderful selection of flowers that at reasonable prices and that last long. And as with shopping for food, I don't usually go there wanting to buy a particular flower. Instead, I see which ones look the best and have a common theme. I try to go in the morning because Simone is there and she knows what is the freshest or will tell me if I can or can't combine particular flowers together in one vase.
I can tell you that I am more of a purist when it comes to floral arrangement. I like to keep the colors simple, sometimes even all one color but using different flowers. I find this style can create a powerful impact. I have also found that this monochromatic or zen approach can elevate the elegance factor even for the most common, inexpensive flowers, like carnations or mums.
Hence the title of this post, Mums the Word. But in this case, I am not keeping quiet about the beauty of Mums but instead declaring that indeed they are The Word. When using several variations of Mums of the same color and displaying them simply and abundantly they can create drama. I also picked up some Alstroemeria because I thought their purple hue and subtle green tones would play well off the white Mums.
When I chose these flowers I knew that I wanted to make one big arrangement, as opposed to many small ones, which I have done in the past for party tables. This one was intended to bring spring cheer to our dining room, so one statement piece was in order. Picking out a large glass vase that had a wide opening meant that I would probably need a flower frog at the bottom. With such a wide mouth it's a bit more difficult to arrange without having some stability. The frog holds the first batch of stems exactly where I want them to be so they establish the center.
I started by cutting the stems to the length I wanted.For this arrangement I knew that I wanted to create a ball of white in the middle. To do that effectively, the stems need to be cut at relatively the same length and slightly higher than the lip of the vase. The challenge sometimes with Mums is that they have flower stems that shoot off at different levels of the main stem. Often times you have to be creative with the cuts to get the height you want trimming those bottom stems and leaving the main bunch as one stem.
I started building the center using all of the same kind of Mum. Once I had a good amount, I began placing the next type of mum all around the perimeter and continued the same method with the last type filling in all the spaces.
The final layer was placing the Alstroemeria on a severe angle at the very edge of the vase. The angle allowed them to sit out as opposed to straight up which helped shape a wide circle around the burst of white mums.
Once I had a complete ball, I kept filling in any empty spaces. I really love the strong statement that the Alstroemeria make as they corral the mums in a purple lasso.
Since there were leftover mums, and plenty of vases, I composed small white bunches that would accompany the main arrangement.
Heres' an overhead angle of the finished centerpiece with the smaller vases flanking it. It delivered on the promise of bringing spring cheer to our dining room. Cheerio!
Sometimes a few buds break off. I don't like throwing those away. Each flower has it's purpose and beauty. So I always try to find a way to show it off. Here's a zen way of letting the buds shine. I used a wooden sake cup, filled it with small pebbles and water, and began placing the buds to float together.
I hope this demonstrated just how beautiful an inexpensive flower can blossom into a magnificent centerpiece, or even a little bud garden. Spread the Mum word!
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