March 20, 2015

Spring Has Sprung! (sort of)

"Spring is sprung, the grass is ris. 
I wonders where the birdies is…"

I've always loved this portion from the poem, Spring in The Bronx, usually attributed to ee cummings or Ogden Nash, but it's actually by Anonymous. Of course it is, it's so silly!

Anyway, what's REALLY silly is that today's the start of spring and we're supposed to get yet even MORE snow! Sigh… Boston already hit a record for the snowiest winter, so at this point, go big or go home, right?

To celebrate spring and to banish the dreary dark of winter, I decided that we (or at least I) needed to make a pretty flower arrangement! Off to the market I went for flowers and of course, wine. I'm pretty much an alcoholic after this winter. JUST kidding or jk as my kids would text.

Assembled here is:
my favorite Mackenzie-Childs cake plate
a block of Oasis (wet floral foam)
some real Irish shamrocks (these I had from St. Patrick's Day)
floral tape 
real Easter Basket grass
parrot tulips (love!)
Bells of Ireland (the green stuff)

Admittedly, these aren't the least expensive flowers in the world, but desperate times call for desperate measures!
 First up? Soaking that block of Oasis until it was soaked through.
 Then, because I was using a shallow cake plate, I cut the block in half so it wouldn't be too thick and high. The two pieces also fit better on the plate.
 I trimmed the corners so they wouldn't hang off the edge and kind of smooshed the pieces into the plate's ripples a little.
Using skinny green floral tape that you can easily find at a flower or craft store, I secured the blocks with four pieces of tape just to keep everything from sliding off. Easy!
 Starting with the greens when making any arrangement is always the easiest (and most cost effective) way to begin. If you make the base of your arrangement first out of your greens, then it's much easier to see where to place the flowers. These are Bells of Ireland and technically a flower, but this all green variety works perfectly for what I'm trying to do.
 To get the balance and proportion off to a good start, I placed three stems into my oasis. Then seeing that these greens would be way too tall, I decided to cut each one in half. And voila! 
I had a whole bunch more green base for my arrangement then I planned.
 Make sure when you cut a stem in half, you make the cut as strategical as possible. By that, I mean try to make the cut where it will be hidden by the plant material still on the stem. 
The more hidden it is now, the less hiding you'll have to do later!
Looks good as a base and now I can add more fun stuff!
 I had four little pots of Irish shamrocks that were perfect to add.
I simply left them in their pots and placed the four pots on top of the oasis!
 Next up? The parrot tulips! These aren't very open yet, but will only get more so as the days go on. You can see their little fringy tops :)
 I knew that I wouldn't need to have the tulips too long, so I cut all the stems a couple of inches shorter, making sure I cut the stems at an angle. 
It helps the flowers drink up.
Rotating the cake plate as I went along, I inserted the tulips around pretty evenly.
 Ahhhhh, there's nothing like the smell of hyacinths! 
That's pure spring right there!!
 Because they're bulbs, they often times are sold in bunches still attached to their bulb. 
Just snip that off.
 When I work with flowers, I like to separate all the usable pieces into piles. That way, I can see what I have to play with and try to vary the placement of all the pieces to make the arrangement more interesting.
 The hyacinth's stalk is relatively fragile. 
So handle with care all these beautifully fragrant goodies!
If I worry about stems breaking when inserting them into oasis, I sometimes use my clippers or a skewer and make a hole first. I don't want to break any parts before I get to use them.
 It doesn't look like much, but this little hole just saved my hyacinths!
 See? All happy and snug in the oasis...
I even used the little nubs and green leaves. 
They all needed holes made before I nestled them into the oasis.
 The deep purple anemones practically screamed my name at the grocery store! I couldn't pass them up and I love how they add the perfect amount of color contrast to the arrangement.
 The neat thing about anemones, aside from their gorgeous blooms, is their squirrelly (oh, wait, I hate squirrels!), their squiggly nature. Their stems curl all over the place which really adds interest.
I kept rotating the plate as I added all the flowers, looking for holes and spaces where certain colors were needed.
 Ranunculas (or ranunculae if I want to be proper with my Latin - ha ha) were next. How can you not LOVE the swirls of petals upon petals? I think they're magic and I love using them in arrangements.
 And like the anemones, they squiggle all over the place, and have extra nibs and buds that are great to use everywhere in the arrangement.
"Looking good Billy Ray! Feeling good Louis!" 
(quote from one of my favorite movies, Trading Places - sorry, I digress…can you tell that I need it to be spring?)

Anyway, the flowers are starting to look really pretty. Just a couple more additions!
 FREESIA! One of the more expensive flowers for what you get, but the fragrance, pretty flower shape and extra buds add a lot to the composition.
 Don't forget to use ALL the pieces!
 Texture in an arrangement is just as important as the color and flowers :)
Pretty is
 But wait! There's more!
I shoved the "Real Easter Basket Grass" (the box cracked me up) into the spaces where some oasis showed, and around the edges to balance it all out.
And here's the finished product! Sorry the background isn't sunny. As I mentioned earlier, we're about to get snow, so this is as good as it's gonna get for a couple of days!
And in anticipation of the season, I may have grabbed some chocolate eggs that DEFINITELY won't make it to Easter. But it looks pretty now!
And because dogs want to have fun in the spring too, I have a selection of mini-tennis balls for my grand-puppy, Oakley, who I'm currently babysitting.
She really doesn't get the whole tennis-ball-in-a-martini glass-thing. 
She finds it very annoying…