Brooklyn Style: D.I.Y. Floral Design
At the Kat Flower stand at the Brooklyn Flea, Hyppolite always displays an arrangement with flowers from the week's offerings to entice people to come to her stall and to advertise for her custom arrangements. This week's arrangement, which would be perfect for a holiday table, includes beautiful flowers in a loose organic arch that is set off by the bright blue of the vase. Reminiscent of a Dutch still life painting, the lush bouquet drew admiring comments from passersby all day long. In the arrangement, Hyppolite includes scented geranium leaves, ranunculus, peonies, carnations, stock, eucalyptus, yarrow, oregano, astilbe, veronica, kumquat, pittosporum, and pieris.
Bittersweet is ideal for cut flower arrangements, as the branches of the bright orange and red buds will last for days, if not weeks. Its cheery yellow-husked red berries are often featured in Thanksgiving arrangements.
In order to keep your flower arrangements at their best, thoroughly clean your vases and dry them before filling them with a water and a bit of flower food. When bringing any cut flowers home from the market, trim off each end on the diagonal with a sharp knife, remove any lower foliage that might end up under the water line, and place each stalk into the vase at an angle to help it rehydrate. If flowers gives off sap, such as poppies, the end should be cauterized with an open flame, after being trimmed, before being placed into the vase.
Sprays of astilbe, scented geranium, and milkweed (or asclepias), are grouped together for a sweet mix of pink, green, and orange stems. Feathery, fluffy pink astilbe are perfect for adding a vertical element to an arrangement. They can evoke a delicate coral reef with their unusual shape. Scented geranium leaves, the plants in the middle of the vase, have a wonderful perfume and are an easy way to bring the garden indoors—if you have any growing at home, trim several stems to use in your holiday arrangements. And on the far right, milkweed, or asclepias, has a milky sap, and needs to be cauterized with an open flame after trimming so that its sap does not cloud the vase's water, which would prevent water intake for the other types of flowers.
As you consider your holiday arrangements, stop by your local farmers' markets to discover small stands like Kat Flower, which are great sources for stylish, unusual, and in-season blooms. No matter what you choose, the result will be sure to please.