25 July 2014

A Bunch for the Weekend - # 16 - Pink Dahlias

This week on 'A Bunch for the Weekend' - I'm featuring pink Dahlias.

Dahlia is a tuberous plant and native to Mexico and Central America. There are 1,500 different varieties and they come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and in an amazing array of vivid colours. The varying sizes are from dinner-plate-sized to small button-size flowers.

Dahlias are great as cut flowers - but make sure they look fresh when you buy them or they will not last very long. Outer petals should be firm, not shrivelled, and the foliage should feel crisp.

During the summer months mix them with other summer flowers and towards the autumn they will mix perfectly with other autumn flowers.

On the other hand they are stunning on their own - and I have made an arrangement just using these gorgeous pink Dahlias in an old terracotta pot. 

You'll need: 
- 12-15 flower heads
- a terracotta pot
- a jam jar that fits inside the terracotta pot
- natural twine

To condition the flowers remove any of the lower leaves that would end up below the waterline in the container and cut the stems at an angle to maximize the water uptake. Put in a clean container with fresh water over night or at least for a few hours before making the final arrangement.

Change the water frequently and the Dahlias will last much longer.

I have used an old terracotta pot that is a bit weathered - it just adds to the charm of the arrangement.

After conditioning the flowers - start with tying the twine around the top of the terracotta pot. Double up the twine so you have about 4-6 strands, measure around the put so you have enough twine to go around the pot, make a knot and leaving a bit of the twine hanging down the side after you've made the knot.

It's a casual arrangement so I would not bother making a bow with the twine - just leave the end hanging casually down the side of the pot!

Fill the jam jar with water and place it inside the pot - you need to cut the flower stems quite short so that the outer flowers rest on the edge of the pot. Fill in with a little bit taller stems in the middle so you end up with a nice dome shaped arrangement.

I have not used any of the little buds - most of the tight buds usually never open up into flowers. In this particular arrangement I didn't add them as they would have made the arrangement a bit 'dotty' - and that was not the look I was after. But they will make a small interesting little arrangement on their own or mixed with some other flowers.

The contrasts between the delicate yet strongly coloured flowers and the weathered rustic terracotta pot with some casual twine tied around the middle is great for a summer lunch on the veranda. 

Have a Wonderful Floral Day!

I hope you are having a great summer wherever you are. I'm still in go-slow mode over the summer - I will be back mid August with another 'A Bunch for the Weekend'.

But before that Titti and I will be back on the 6 August with another FLOWERS. 

Till then - have a wonderful time in the sun!

xoxo Ingrid

18 July 2014

A Bunch for the Weekend - # 15 - Helenium

This week on 'A Bunch for the Weekend' - I'm featuring Helenium.

Helenium is a perennial that you can grow yourself in the garden and it will come back year after year. You can also buy it at the flower markets or farmers markets.

What is brilliant about this flower is that if you keep picking - it will keep flowering - so it produces flowers over a long period of time.

They make very good cut flowers and bees love them - BUT wear gloves when you pick them as they can cause allergic skin reactions. 

It has mahogany-crimson flowers with a large chocolate-brown centre. Combine it with some of the smaller sunflowers or like here just on their own.

You will need:
10-12 stems of Heleniums
-  a wide-necked glass bottle (in my case it's a vintage milk bottle)
- 4-5 strands of raffia
- brown paper or wooden luggage tags  

Like always condition the flowers by removing any of the lower leafs that would end up below the water line in the container and cut the ends at an angle to maximum the water uptake. Put straight away in a clean container with fresh water in a dark, cool place preferable over night or at least for a few hours before doing the final arrangement.

I tied a few strands of raffia around the neck of the milk bottle and attached a wooden tag also with some raffia underneath.

Mix already fully open flowers with semi-open ones as well as others that are still in 'button' stage. It's a very informal and kind of 'just picked from the garden' arrangement. Colourful and charming in its simplicity.    

Have a Lovely Floral and Creative Day!

I'm still in a go-slow summer mode - but I'll see you again next week for another 'A Bunch for the Weekend'.

I hope you are having a wonderful summer

xoxo Ingrid

[The Helenium flowers are grown by Cel Robertson at the Forever Green Flower Company - on her flower farm in Norfolk.]

16 July 2014

FLOWERS by ingrid and titti - Bouquets of Herbs

The theme for FLOWERS this week is Bouquets of Herbs. 

I think we all love herbs - growing them in the garden or in pots on the window sill, picking them to use in food and drinks, chopping them up and cooking with them - in general herbs are a delight and they will brighten up any dish you create in your kitchen.

Or like here using them as flowers and making lots of pretty little arrangements.

I made myself the challenge to only use herbs when making the bouquets and not using any flowers. Above are some of them all lined up.

The herbs I used in the bouquets are:
- Chives
- Dill
- Mint
- Parsley
- Rosemary
- Sage
- Thyme

In the background - and just for pleasure and not used in the bouquets - are two potted herbs - Lavender with lots of lovely flowers and Thyme.

I really liked the idea of making it all look a bit rustic and I wanted to try to re-cycle as much as possible when styling for the shoot.

So I re-used old jam jars and an old zinc pot, I planted up a weathered terracotta pot and adding some little pebbles from our garden to hide the visible soil in the pot. The garden fork with lovely patina is from the 1930's.

As background I used an old hessian coffee sack from my grandfathers country store and a rag rug woven by my great-grandmother, and I even found my aunts old school writing slate board and wrote 'HERBS' on it.

Conditioned the herbs I did more or less the same as I do with flowers - except that I left a lot of the leaves lower down on the short stems. 

I tied a short piece of different coloured ribbon around each jar but kept the colours to green and grey. The ribbons are from Jane Means ribbon collection. 

When I arranged the herbs in the jars I wanted to have as many different textures as possible - so I happily mixed large leaves with small leaves and added long chives, dill and stems of rosemary for height.

The dill flowers had such a phenomenal texture and so much grace that they got their own little vintage bottle.  

Titti over on HWIT BLOGG is also posting about herbs - so please go over there and have a look at what she is doing.

Here is a link to all the previous FLOWERS Titti and I have done so far.

You can also find all the images on my Pinterest

Have a Wonderful floral Day!

I hope you are having a lovely summer!

See you on Friday for 'A Bunch for the Weekend'.

xoxo Ingrid

11 July 2014

A Bunch for the Weekend - # 14 - Triteleia

This week on 'A Bunch for the Weekend' - I'm featuring Triteleia.

Triteleia is an early summer flowering corm and it's a native of North America and Central America - but most common in California. The flowers are very similar to Agapanthus and the two are easily mixed up. They are also called 'triplet lilies' and the old name is Brodiaea laxa. 

Triteleia has deep, rich bluebell blue flowers - all growing from the top of tall stems.

You can find them at florists, flower markets and farmer's markets or if you live in warmer climates you can grow them yourself - if not you might have to grow them in pots.

They are good value for money as they can last for a good two weeks.

You'll need: 
- three stems of Triteleia
- a tall blue glass bottle to match the colour of the flowers

Condition the flowers by cutting the stems at an angle and put straight away in fresh water in a clean container over night or at least for a few hours in a cool, dark place.

The leaves die down before the flowers appear - so no need to remove any foliage.

I wanted to make a tall arrangement - so I have used a fairly tall bottle. The flowers and the container needs to be in proportion with each other - so to get the right height - what you can do is to put the vase at the edge of the counter where you are working and hold the flower stems in your hand next to the vase to estimate where to cut the stems   
These flowers are stunning on their own and you don't really need to mix them with anything else - the beauty of the blue graceful flowers and the light reflecting through the blue glass is enough - simple and easy.

Again - I got the flowers from my friendly flower seller at the farmer's market - Cel Roberton and her Forever Green Flower Company.

I'm in summer mode - so I'm not posting as often as usual - but I'll see you again next Wednesday for another FLOWERS from Titti and I - and I promise you it will be something a bit different!
Have a Happy Floral Day!

  xoxo Ingrid

6 July 2014

Florets - Floral Quote - # 71 - by Tricia Guild and Elspeth Thompson

"I cannot imagine living without flowers - the repeated rhythms of buying, conditioning, arranging and re-arranging them has become an integral part of my life. Like many domestic tasks, this can be done quickly and efficiently, without a second thought. But I glean much more satisfaction from lingering over different stages - from selecting the right blooms for the space and the season to choosing the best container to complement their shapes and colours - and I'm certain the extra time and effort shows in the result. Over the years, I've picked up tips on cutting and conditioning flowers from experts in the field and from my own experience, and am delighted to pass on this wisdom."

~ Tricia Guild and Elspeth Thompson  ~

[Tricia Guild OBE: British interioe designer, founder and Creative Director of Designers Guild; and author of fifteen books.]
[Elspeth Thompson (1961-2010) British autor of fifteen bookson gardening, interiors and crafts; and journalist for The Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian and the observer - writing on gardening and interiors.]
[Quote from: Flowers by Tricia Guild.]
[Flower: Two different pink stock flowers.]
[Vase: Turquoise blue vase from charity store.]
[Other props: Pink and white fabric.]
[Styling and photography © Ingrid Henningsson for Of Spring and Summer.]

I'm taking a break from writing Florets. I will be back in mid August again with more wonderful floral quotes.

I will continue writing FLOWERS with Titti and I'll be doing A Bunch for the Weekend most Fridays - over the summer.

Wishing You A Happy Floral Sunday!

xoxo Ingrid

4 July 2014

A Bunch for the Weekend - # 13 - Alstroemeria

This week on 'A Bunch for the Weekend' - I'm featuring Alstroemeria.

Alstroemeria is also called Peruvian lily and it's easy to understand why. The flowers resembles lily flowers - only much smaller. It is also originally from South America.

Some of it's petals are striped and others are solid. It comes in many different colours - pink, white, yellow, orange and red - as well as some multi-coloured.

It's affordable and long-lasting - it can last for up to three weeks so you'll get you moneys worth! 

When you buy them make sure at least one bud on each stem has opened and the foliage should not have turned yellow.

You'll need:
- a container that picks up the colour in the flowers
- five stems of Alstroemeria
- string or twine

To condition the flowers remove any of the lower leaves that would sit below the water level in the vase and cut the stems at an angle to maximum the water uptake. Put in a clean container with fresh water over night or at least for a few hours before doing the final arrangement.

I have used a vintage pink jug instead of a traditional vase. It picks up the pink in the flowers and I have added a vintage fabric that also have pink flowers on it.

Make the arrangement in your hand and tie a piece of string around the stems - high up right under the flowers - to hold the bunch together.

There is no need to fill the whole vase with flowers - a few stems together leaning to one side of the vase is often enough for impact and gives an interesting silhouette.

The flowers are from the Forever Green Flower Company - grown by Cel Robertson on her organic flower farm in Norfolk. She has a stall every week at my local farmer's market in North London.  

Have a Fabulous Floral Friday!

See you again on Sunday for another Floral Quote.

xoxo Ingrid

3 July 2014

FLOWERS by ingrid and titti - Edible Flowers

The theme for FLOWERS this week is Edible Flowers. 

I have chosen seven different flowers that are generally accepted as edible - but to be cautious I will say that you should not eat any plants unless you are absolutely certain what they are and that they are OK to eat. Even so you should always look out for any allergic reactions. Any plants or flowers should also only be consumed in small quantities.

Apart from that you can have a lot of fun and do interesting things with pretty edible flowers.

The five flowers above are from top right:
  • Marigold or Pot Marigold - Calendula officinalis
  • Borage - Borago officinalis
  • Thyme - Thymus vulgaris
  • Lavender - Lavandula 
  • Pinks - Dianthus

The two flowers below are:
  • Jasmine - Jasminum officinalis
  • Rose - Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' 

Using any flowers in food you need to make sure there are no little bugs hiding among the petals - so it might be a good idea to give them a shake and/or a wash - all depending how you are going to use them.

With roses and Dianthus gently pull the petals apart from the centre and cut off any white heel at the base, it tends to be bitter. 

Rose petals have a delicate flavour and can be used in drinks and fruit dishes. You can use them to make jam and jellies. 

Dianthus make colourful garnish to soups, salads, fruit salads and the punch bowl.

Both rose petals and Dianthus petals can be crystallised and used to decorate cakes.   

Borage flowers have this amazing electric blue colour and they have a bit of a cucumber flavour. You can use them as garnish in drinks, salads, soups or desserts. Cut the stem just under the flower and they are ready to use.

Jasmine is traditionally used in jasmine tea and in Oriental rice and shellfish dishes. 

Most edible flowers are beautiful and will make wonderful bouquets - here I have made an arrangement with four of the flowers in an old French mustard pot.

Thyme is a well known culinary herb that has tiny light purple flowers. Thyme leaves can be used in stews, stuffings, marinades, omelettes or scrambled eggs and the leaves and flowers are delicious in Bloody Mary cocktails.

Lavender is another well known herb as well as a beautiful cut flower. There are many ways to use the flowers in both sweet and savoury dishes. 

You can make lavender sugar as well as adding the flowers to biscuits, sorbets, jams and jellies. In France it's often used for desserts, vinegars and in the herb blend herbes de Provence.   

Marigolds/Calendula has a little bit of a spicy or peppery taste. Because of it's colour it's also called "poor man's" saffron.

During my research I found marigold used both in sweet and savoury dishes as well as for decoration on cakes. (In the last image of this blog post is a beautifully decorated cake full of marigold petals.)

Don't confuse it with Tagetes which are also known as marigolds.

You can make really pretty flower ice cubes with all these edible flowers.

Here is one way of making flower ice cubes:

Fill the ice cube tray half full of water and add one or several flowers - they will probably float to the top - which is fine. Freeze for an hour, and then fill the tray to the top with COLD water and immediately put back in the freezer.

When you top up the water you want to use cold water and you want to do it quickly to prevent the first half to defrost - or the flower will float to the top. You want to try to have the flower in the middle of the ice cube - it just looks prettier that way.

Here are some very pretty Pinks or Dianthus as they are also called - just floating in a vintage sugar bowl. Perfect for giving some colour when decorating the table for a summer tea party.

Last year I reviewed a book called Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher. It's a beautiful book full of sweet and savoury recipes - all using edible flowers.

Please note - that the Hyacinths in the last image are NOT edible! 

Titti over on HWIT BLOGG is also posting about Edible Flowers - so please go over and see what she has created with her flowers.

Here is a link to all the previous FLOWERS Titti and I have done so far.

You can also find all the images on my Pinterest.

Have a Creative Floral Day!

See you later in the week.

xoxo Ingrid

The Borage flowers are very generously provided by Cel Robertson at the Forever Green Flower Company.

Eat flowers only when you are sure that they are edible and organically grown. Eat only small quantities and be aware of any allergic reactions. Also as always with plants and flowers consider the safety of children and animals.