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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Flower arrangement

What is the right proportion of cut flowers to create a nice arrangement in a vase? Can you give me some other suggestions about flower arranging?


The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies website lets you look at selections from their journal, online. Fusion Flowers magazine also has information online.

The Miller Library also has many books about flower arranging, two of which I've listed below:
Flower Arranging from the Garden (1989), by Daphne and Sid Love
The Complete Guide to Flower Arranging (1995), by Jane Packer

Date 2017-06-08
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Kochia scoparia, Spartium junceum, Cytisus, Flower arrangement, Noxious weeds--Washington, Corylus

While living in Japan and practicing flower arrangement, I often used a branch known as ossified broom. It was always available at flower stores there. The color is gray-green, has the typical multiple straight stems as Scotch Broom but also had some thick and twisted branches that are very attractive in arrangements. I would like to plant it so that I would have a ready supply. Can you help me find the correct name?


I consulted a number of books on Japanese flower arrangement, including The Art of Arranging Flowers: A Complete Guide to Japanese Ikebana, by Shozo Sato (Harry N. Abrams, 1965). 'Broom' may be the common name of a number of different plants, such as Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), and broom cypress (Kochia scoparia). Unfortunately, these plants are considered noxious weeds in the State of Washington.

You may want to consider a type of broom (Genista or Cytisus) that is not considered invasive.

From your description of the branches, I wonder if the appearance would be similar to Corylus avellana 'Contorta' (Henry Lauder's walking stick).

Date 2017-06-09
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Flower arrangement, Syringa

Has the sweet aroma of lilacs tempted you to cut a few twigs for the house? Lilacs and other woody flowering shrubs can be disappointing in an arrangement unless they receive special treatment before they go in the vase.

As you cut the branches, place them in water. When you get them in the house, submerge the branches up to the flower in coolish water let them sit for 30 minutes or so, this is a sort of curing step and is very important. Before putting the lilacs into the new water, strip all but the most necessary leaves, and then break the stems at the bottom. They should be split at the ends to open the capillaries so water can reach the flowers. Ideally you should cut the flowers early in the morning, as that is the best time to cut and then don't arrange them till you get home from work. When you are ready to put the branches in a vase add a tiny bit of bleach and a little sugar to the water, its best if this water is also cool.

Then just enjoy them. Add more water daily keeping the level high and change it if the water gets cloudy or smelly, but the bleach should keep this from happening. Also moving them to a cool location at night, like a back porch helps even more. Processing woody branches takes more time but it is worth it in the long run.

Date: 2007-04-03
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May 31 2018 13:14:08