From tech­ni­colour tulips to pa­per­white nar­cissi, the first flow­ers of spring are burst­ing with sea­sonal joy

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - Words by alaina binks

From tech­ni­colour tulips to pa­per­white nar­cissi, the first flow­ers of spring are burst­ing with sea­sonal joy

Con­tained beauty

This sim­ple and pretty dis­play of pot­ted vi­o­las (op­po­site) makes an ef­fec­tive cen­tre­piece for a cel­e­bra­tory lunch as well as a unique Mother’s Day gift. Trans­fer es­tab­lished plants into a cir­cu­lar dish, top with moss or straw and fin­ish by ty­ing a hes­sian strip, rib­bon and twine around the side like a cake.

Bright and beau­ti­ful

A rus­tic zinc planter or old cake mould filled with large tulip heads in an ar­ray of colours is a sim­ple way to make a vi­brant and in­for­mal cen­tre­piece (right). Place a block of damp oa­sis in­side to keep the stems wa­tered and in place, cut­ting the ones near the edge shorter than those in the mid­dle to cre­ate a bal­anced, full ap­pear­ance.

Fra­grant bunch

Hy­acinths and tulips in pretty shades of pink, blue and li­lac wrapped with a strip of hes­sian or jute make a charm­ing hand-tied bou­quet, which is per­fect to give as a gift (below left).

Cheer­ful char­ac­ter

Here, a sim­ple ar­range­ment of dis­tinc­tive spring flow­ers, such as nar­cissi, tulips and for­sythia, stands out when dis­played to­gether in tones of one colour (below right).

Last­ing im­pres­sion

En­joy flow­ers at their best for longer by press­ing them to dec­o­rate gift tags and cards (left). Use a tra­di­tional flower-press­ing kit or place the blooms be­tween two sheets of plain pa­per and leave un­der a heavy book in a cool, dry place for a week. Flow­ers with flat­ter heads and petals, such as vi­o­las and pan­sies, work best for this.

Sur­prise opening

The eas­i­est way to grow tulips is in pots, re­plac­ing them ev­ery year. Plant sev­eral bulbs to­gether in one or, for longer splashes of colour, in a cou­ple of con­tain­ers so they start to bloom at dif­fer­ent times (below left).

Es­pe­cially for you

A hand­ful of sin­gle stems tied with florist’s wire or string makes an ef­fec­tive name-place set­ting (below right), which looks pretty and is quick to make. Pick flow­ers to co­or­di­nate with the colours of your tabletop, choos­ing one to three va­ri­eties for an in­for­mal ar­range­ment.

In­di­vid­ual el­e­gance

Strik­ing spring flow­ers of­ten look best dis­played as sin­gle stems where you can see their ex­quis­ite forms (op­po­site). A clus­ter of small bot­tles, glasses and vases with a bloom in each works well if there is a con­trast be­tween the shapes and they’re linked by com­ple­men­tary tones. Al­ter­na­tively, use a sin­gle va­ri­ety with a dif­fer­ent shade in each ves­sel.

Wild won­der Or­na­men­tal daisies, vi­o­las and sprigs of for­get-me-nots en­twined with fresh green fo­liage turn a twig wreath into an eye-catch­ing dis­play that sings spring is here. Place out­side as a tem­po­rary dec­o­ra­tion for a party or keep the flower stems hy­drated us­ing in­di­vid­ual small plas­tic tubes (avail­able from florists) filled with wa­ter and wired in place. Al­ter­na­tively, use nar­cissi, which will last well out­doors.

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