Having company in town is often the highlight of our summers, but the planning can quickly become an all-too-stressful process. From cooking and cleaning to creating the perfect itinerary for your guests, it’s easy to run out of time for one of the best ways to welcome company into a bright and beautiful home — flowers!
Sybil Sylvester does more than arrange flowers. She creates innovative and creative pieces that complete any space. Sybil possesses a lifelong passion for flowers, and she shares her knowledge by traveling the country to give lectures and floral demonstrations. She even offers a class at the Wildflower School, where students can learn the ins and outs of floral arranging. Her work has been featured in major publications including Southern Living, Coastal Living and Birmingham Magazine. Today, the owner of Wildflower Designs, author of the recently released book, Fresh, and all-around floral guru gives us the inside scoop on creating arrangements that will wow your guests. She’s talking simple yet striking arrangements, how to style herbs, must-have summer flowers and her favorite vases for the home. Here are Sybil’s best tips and tricks for simple flower arrangements to welcome company. Take it away, Sybil!
Summer has arrived and the time is here for fun, lazy nights with family and friends. I love this time of year because it is so easy to quickly put together flower arrangements that welcome your company while keeping it simple on your side. Whether you go out into your own garden and pick a few blooms, ask a gardening friend to share, purchase a mixed bouquet from a vendor at the farmers’ market or head to the country to forage for a few treasures — summer is the time of abundance! Even one magnolia blossom floating in a bowl can transform an entry hall with its beautiful scent!
Choose the right container — the correct size and shape for its final destination — that works well for the flowers you have on hand. And consider the number of flowers you have to use. If your supply is limited, do not choose a wide-mouthed container that will swallow them all up, and make sure you leave at least a single stem for the powder room! (I consider at least a single flower with a touch of green to be a must for the powder room.) And, at the end of this article, I’ll show you some of my favorite vases I use at home.
5 Simple Flower Arranging Styles with Major ‘Wow’ Factor
1. Drop simple garden flowers in bud vases or small bottles.
I can’t say enough about how important I think it is to collect various small-mouthed vases for this method of floral arranging. They can vary from casual to elegant and also can stand alone or happily gather together in groups. My good friend Shane Connolly calls multiples snaked down the center of the table a “table meadow.” Just think various heights, just like nature gives us.
Tip: Be sure to strip all the greenery from the bottom of your stems so that you keep everything very clean and prevent bacteria from forming in your water to ensure that your flowers last as long as possible. Also, notice the water level in your vases — these small vessels get empty much faster than you would think.
2. Capture summer in a pitcher or vase.
We all have — or have access to — a few locally grown hydrangeas — French blues or pinks, snowflake or Annabelle hydrangeas — along with Queen Anne’s lace and handfuls of other flowers, such as zinnias. Just find a good container and cluster your flowers together to create an arrangement that looks as if you scooped up the garden and brought it right on inside. This look works great for an entrance hall, kitchen island, porch, outdoor fireplace — anywhere!
3. Showcase the simple beauty of fresh herbs.
So many of us grow herbs even if we don’t grow a single flower. Clusters of fresh herbs make adorable small arrangements that are easy to make and are impactful. I suggest lining three to five of these beauties in little pots down your table. Everyone will think you went to a ton of trouble, but don’t worry. We won’t tell how simple this was!
Tip: Once again, the greenery must be stripped off each stem below the water level. The herbs’ stems tend to be small and flimsy, so I separate them into similar bundles and tie each off with raffia or twine. Treating each of these bundles as if it were an individual flower, I combine them to form the finished nosegay. The prep work is the key. In this mix, I added some small pieces of seeded eucalyptus and Hypericum berries with parsley, rosemary and thyme bundles.
4. Delight in dahlias!
Our ultimate summer flower is beginning to bloom — the dahlia! Multi-petaled and beautifully colored in varied faces and sizes, the diverse dahlia blossom is like an ever-changing work of art. They are available from individual growers (check out your local dahlia society) and often from vendors at the farmers’ market — just dive in and embrace dahlias! One giant dinner plate dahlia all on its own in a vase is a showstopper!
5. Collect clever containers.
Don’t forget about the vase! Forego the classic glass and opt for something in a unique shape or color. Pitchers, pots, cups and even bowls can work with the flowers to create a fabulously creative home accent. A colorful container will also take your flower arrangement to the next level. Go for gold to create an elegant and bold arrangement or choose an abstract painted vase to turn your arrangement into an art piece. Here are a few easy options!
Thank you, Sybil, for your fabulous tips and tricks! Learn more about Wildflower Designs and the Wildflower School by visiting wildflowerdesigns.net, and be sure to check out Sybil’s recently released book, Fresh.
Want the best of everything local? Download our SB App. It’s FREE!