3 DIY flower arrangements for Valentine's Day
Vintage hand-tied posy
Is your lover the sweet old-fashioned type? This loose bouquet of hydrangeas and roses will be perfect.
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You will need: A selection of long-stemmed hybrid tea roses, still tight in bud or just beginning to open • Small decorative dahlias • Pink mophead hydrangeas • Blue gentianas • Dianthus (we used 'Green Trick').
Step 1: Prepare your flowers by stripping off any foliage that's likely to sit below the water line. Remove rose thorns.
Step 2: Use the hydrangeas to support the blue gentians and pompom dahlias simply by poking their stems through each mophead.
Step 3: Assemble the posy by holding the first bunch of roses and hydrangeas in your left hand while adding new stems with your right, twisting the bouquet around as you add in more stems on an angle.
Step 4: Tie the posy together with natural twine.
Step 5: Use sharp scissors or clean secateurs to neatly trim the stems to the same length. Don't try to cut through all the stems at once as this can end up damaging and crushing their ends, reducing their ability to uptake water once in the vase.
Dazzling summer bouquet
Want to give your secret crush the message that they're the hottest thing on two legs? This bold bouquet of lilies, dahlias, alstroemerias and bottlebrushes in dazzling hot hues should do the trick.
You will need: Red or orange asiatic lilies • Alstroemeria 'Red Baron' • Geum 'Fireball' • 'Bronze Bicolor' Hypnotica dahlias • Flaming katy kalanchloes • Copper-flowered evening primrose (Oenothera 'Sunset Boulevard' or 'Endless Orange') • Red bottlebrushes (callistemon) • Nandina domestica 'Fire Power' foliage.
Step 1: Prepare your flowers by stripping off any foliage that's likely to sit below the water line, and by trimming the lilies and alstromeria stems to suit the depth of your water-filled jug.
Step 2: Scrunch up a ball of medium-grade wire chicken mesh to fit inside the jug. This holds the stems in place in the centre of what is a fairly top-heavy arrangement, allowing the alstroemerias and lilies to be splayed out on an angle.
Step 3: Push the lilies and alstromeria stems into the mesh, alternating them to create a ball of orange-red blooms.
Step 4: Add accents of gold and copper by inserting the dahlias, geums and flaming katy flowers between the lilies and alstroemerias.
Step 5: Finish with a few orange evening primrose stems, red bottle- brushes and a fringe of nandina foliage around the base. This easy-care shrub is often scorned because of its overuse in bland commercial landscapes, but nandina comes into its own for floral work, with vibrant foliage and sprays of red berries, both of which last for weeks in a vase.
Cool and casual cottage centrepiece
If you want an arrangement to display on the table during a romantic dinner for two, combine an armload of pale flowers with contrasting variegated foliage.
You will need: • Single-flowered white roses such as 'Wedding Day' • 'Bridal Bouquet' hydrangeas • White annual cosmos • 'Divinity' gladioli • 'White Magic' inticancha alstroemerias • Bishop's flower • Variegated hosta leaves • Deutzia x magnifica
Step 1: FIll a large glass jar with water and conceal it inside the enamel tin. This will anchor the large arrangement to prevent it tipping over, and offers extra support for tall flowers such as gladioli or delphiniums.
Step 2: Remove rose thorns easily by pulling the stems through a double-folded tea towel. Prepare the rest of the blooms by removing any foliage that will eventually sit below the water line.
Step 3: The bulkiest blooms – hydrangeas and roses – go in first. Add a few stems of clean hydrangea or rose foliage around the base of the tin.
Step 4: Fill in the gaps between the bigger blooms with annual white cosmos and lacy Bishop's flowers (Ammi majus) and perennial alstroemerias.
Step 5: Pop in frothy fillers around the top and sides of the arrangement. Tuck a few variegated hosta leaves in at the front, then slip in a few tall spikes of white gladioli or delphiniums.
- NZ Gardener