Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hydrangea happens...

I love hydrangeas. There is nothing better than these big moppy blooms in a bowl or vase. They are seductively simple by themselves, or dramatic teamed with other garden flowers or orchids. They are also a little finicky. I heard someone compare them to children in a family: "Some turn out, some don't!" meaning that while you prep a bunch exactly the same way for an arrangement, some will make it, and others may wilt before your eyes! I've learned that you need more stems than you think, just in case you end up with a 'black sheep', or two in the family bunch! The photograph shows a sample table centerpiece I did where I teamed these beautiful white hydrangea with yellow oncidium orchids and 2 satellite arrangements of yellow and white roses- talk about WOW!

This weekend past, I was preparing for a photo shoot for my website that's being built, and I thought, "Aha! I'll use hydrangeas as the centerpiece!" I called and reserved 10 stems of an "antique green" variety to use in my grandmother's blue Canton bowl. This variety is a very pale green and has a slight blush to it with a bit of mottling on the petals that I really like. In the blue and white Chinese bowl, they'd be perfect! In addition, I picked up  2 stems of green cymbidium orchids for a pair of nautilus shells I've been meaning to try out as vases. These would look great teamed with the delicate green hydrangeas!

The hydrangeas were huge and fresh, but in the end, too huge! When I filled the bowl and placed it on the table, there was literally no room for the rest of the table setting. "Hmm... the photographer is coming in two hours and my grand plan is not working out!" I'd by then cut the stems short, so my options had become very limited. I had already filled the shells with the orchids, and they looked great, but I had this hole in the middle of the table to fill. I grabbed a vase of roses I had on the coffee table ("Very pretty, but not quite right with everything else planned!"). Then I went hunting!

I have a great collection of antique Canton ginger jars, but there was no way if I used these that the short stems would make it in water... Then I remembered "water picks!" and these became my lifeline! Water picks are the little test tubes that have a space in the bottom for attaching a longer stem so they can be as long as you need them to be! I filled the tubes with water, re-cut the stems and placed them into the tubes! I then dug in the trash for the rose stems I had trimmed off the coffee table arrangement and fit these into the bottoms and voila! I replaced the short stems with long!

The ginger jar held only five of the blooms. Luckily I have several of them, so the stems I couldn't use wouldn't go to waste. Suddenly, it all came together and not a moment too soon. As I just finished cleaning up the mess, the doorbell rang. Terry, the photographer had arrived! It just goes to show you that "hydrangea happens!"

The P.S. in this tale is that this variety dries beautifully without loosing their color or drooping. I now have 3 arrangements in my beautiful ginger jars, 1 on my dining table, 1 on the desk in the living room and the last in the kitchen. These will last in this 'limbo time' before the Christmas holiday extravaganzas begin! So remember, when life gives you "hydrangea" make dried arrangements!

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