Back in, hmm, maybe 2010 I spent a few days in Guatemala City with my friends Jennifer and Mark who were living there on assignment with USAID. I have a lot of good memories from that trip, but one that has had a surprisingly long lasting impact is of an enormous vase of stargazer lilies on their dining room table. The massed flowers were visually stunning and powerfully fragrant, and I decided then and there that cut flowers would be a necessary luxury for my own living space from then on.
And so for more than a decade I’ve been bringing flowers home, or cutting them from the garden, and taking enormous pleasure from having them in the house. But aside from the occasional birthday bouquet from Justin, or the extravagant armloads I brought home from my trips to the Columbia Road Flower Market in London, I’ve always just stuck with a handful of a single type of flower—typically lilies; tulips in the spring; maybe some simple alstroemeria when I’m feeling the need to economise—basically whatever looked best at the flower counter at the grocery store.
But what if I did more than that? I’ve been reading books on floristry and cut-flower farming, and have been itching to learn more of the theory and techniques, and to try my own hand at it. And now Justin, ever thoughtfully attuned, has gifted me an online floral arranging course taught by a British florist in Madrid . . . what could be more fun!?
This weekend I tackled the first project: a vase arrangement. The instructions called for hydrangeas, baby’s breath, delphinium, and a bunch of other flowery things—exactly none of which were available at the local Trader Joe’s this January morning in Seattle. So I abandoned the recipe and focused on the principles: find something bushy for the base, high points for structure, and something pretty and mid-height to flesh it out.
Here’s what I came up with. I think it turned out okay, but the test will come when the lilies open up—I’m curious to see how the proportions play out then (and please let the lilies be white and not pink!).