Hellebores, camellias, magnolias, anemones…all blossoms that lend themselves to floating flower arrangements. Hellebore flowers tend to nod on their stems, their charming faces glancing at the soil and not the sky. To get a look at the freckles and the effusive fountain of stamens, floating them in a shallow bowl is a charming way to arrange them.
Flowers that are saucer and cup shaped lend themselves best to floating in water. If the petals are too far spaced, water seeps in, sinking the flower or shortening its life. The waxier the petals, the longer they last.
Start by gathering the flowers in the morning when they are fresh and cool. When you are ready to arrange, clip the stem close to where it meets and bulges at the base or what is referred to as the flower’s receptacle. Then select a dramatic bowl—one that blends or contrasts with the bloom color, depending on the look you’re after. Use the bowl like a picture frame—drawing out and playing off of the colors in the blossoms. I love a footed compote for extra drama.
There is little maintenance for floating arrangements other than replacing the water frequently and remembering that a shallow, wide container will lose more water to evaporation than a tall vase with a small opening.
© Colleen Miko, 2011