October 1, 2014

Sunrise-inspired Arrangement

I couldn't believe my eyes the other morning when I woke early and looked out my window. Living on the water, as I'm lucky to do, I am used to seeing many incredible sunrises. But after living here for more than two decades, I have to admit, this sunrise may be the most beautiful ever!
Granted, that old adage "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning..." is a true harbinger of crummy weather to come (and boy did it in this case). But, if not for the bad weather, then we'd never be treated to such glorious colors in the sky.

After taking these pictures, running around my yard in my pj's like a crazy woman, I got inspired to use the same colors for a flower arrangement. So, off to the flower market I went.

And what before my eyes did appear? (no, not eight tiny reindeer) The most amazing array of dahlias in all the colors of the sunrise popped out at me the minute I walked in. I half-laughed because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  To be honest, I think I got lucky and just hit the market at the right time. Big-time floral designers usually come in for their orders on Thursdays for the weekend ahead. But seeing this was a Tuesday, and flowers are perishable, it was just my lucky day!

So, I grabbed the following:
dahlias in a bunch of sunsety colors
ranunculas (or ranunculae if you want proper Latin :) in yellow and pink
garden roses - Mariantheresia - fyi
David Austin roses - Juliet - these roses are famous for the layers and layers of petals - the taller peach colored ones
billy balls - or craspedia - the funny yellow Horton-Hears-A-Who-looking things
milkweed - or asclepias - in orange
dusty miller - the gray leaves
succulents - the weird looking plants 

You had me at dahliaaaaaah! 
 Don't David Austin roses defy logic? Just SO beautiful!
8 billion petals going round and round in these ranunculas and I love Billy Balls just so I can say Billy Balls three times fast!
Then I found an old tray with a handle, kind of like an old-fashioned trug, but rectangular and not rounded.
 I had a roasting pan that fit perfectly inside so I wouldn't have to worry about leaks.

Then I soaked three blocks of oasis or wet floral foam that you can find at craft or garden stores and made sure they were soaked through before putting them in my pan.
The next step was to use my oasis anchors that I had around the house. I could have also used floral tape to make a grid across the whole thing but I couldn't find my tape.  
I pushed the pins in to turn the three separate blocks into one big block. If you do a lot of flower arranging, these anchors are worth finding and they're cheap!
Starting with the dahlias, since they had the biggest bloom size, and thus made a great base to the arrangement, I stripped the lower leaves and cut the stems pretty short. Then, I went around the tray and filled in the corners with the various shades of dahlias.  

I love the swirly things in the center of this flower!
I also used the unopened buds to add some interest and texture. I added the darker dahlias to give the arrangement a little depth and to reference the rocks in the photo.
Then I moved on and added the two different types of roses. Garden roses, the hot pink ones here, as I have mentioned in other posts, are the best deal going when it comes to price and number of flowers you get per stem. They really are pretty. And the Juliet roses are perfect for the peach ombre shading to conjure a sunset.
I cut the stems short, stripping leaves and thorns and then placed them, working both sides of my box and mixing shades so it wasn't perfectly color-shaded like a rainbow (if that makes sense?) 

The orange milkweed was next and an easy addition. It worked so well because the blossoms were tiny and the shape of the stem added a little spikeyness to the overall look.

Dusty miller, (I wonder if a "dusty miller" gave this funny plant it's name?) was then added. For the arrangement, I liked the grey color, which sort of mimicked the deeper purple and lavender hues in the sunrise. I picked apart the leaves a little so I could place them around individually and in bunches, depending how it looked. Its starting to look like something here...

 Pink and yellow ranunculus along with billly balls, billy balls, billy balls! (sorry, couldn't resist :)
The ranunculus really added a special touch. I didn't know until recently (okay, today) that these flowers are related to the buttercup, and poisonous to horses.

 Next up...BILLY BALLS! I cut them in bunches since they can't just go in by themselves. That is, unless you're doing some high concept flower arrangement for a show - which this clearly isn't.
I continually worked on both sides of the box and mixing colors. And then I went back and added a third dahlia of a different color to each corner, just for fun!
 Finally, I added the succulents for the last nuanced-color. I only used two after looking at how the arrangement had come out. That's the fun thing about arranging - its never exactly what you planned, but better because it came out of you at that moment.
The succulents are in there - the one in this picture is hiding - a little like Where's Waldo!

I'm in love with the final product. Not because of any great skill or talent of mine, but just because of the beauty of Mother Nature. 
 other side, please

overhead view's kind of cool too!
One last look at all those colors! Even though this lobster boat is heading to work, I'm now headed to the bar for what else? A Tequila Sunrise! Cheers!

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