Besides flowers, each bouquet contains bright foliage for texture and additional color. These materials are often referred to as filler. “Over time, I’ve sharpened my vision on what makes a good filler as well as a nice landscape plant you can whack on to use in bouquets,” she says. “Nandina is my favorite--it’s such a versatile plant seasonally.” Pittosporum is another top contender, with its rounded, slightly waxy leaves.
• Take a bucket of water into the garden with you. Cut flowers, and immediately put them into the water.
• When done, recut stems and place them in buckets filled with tepid water and floral preservative (available from florists or www.afloral.com). Spotlessly clean buckets are a must.
• Let the flowers rest overnight in a cool, dark place.
• Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata)
• Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
• Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)
• Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)
• Garden gladiolus
• Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia)
• Spider flowers (Cleome hasslerana)
• Wheat celosias (Celosia spicata)
• Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyeranus)
(sun and shade selections)
• Sprenger asparagus (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’)
If you don’t grow your own flowers, purchase what you need from a local market. Follow Michelle’s steps to put together a wonderful bouquet.
1. Choose several stems of the same flower for the biggest impact and to direct the color palette. Here, she began with summer phlox.
2. Holding them in your hand, surround the blooms with foliage. Michelle used Persian shields for additional color and asparagus fern for texture.
3. Cut the stems straight across, all the same length.
4. Wrap an elastic band around the base to keep the flowers in place.
"Bountiful Blooms" is from the August 2008 issue of Southern Living.