One of the great pleasures of a flowering garden is the ability to bring cut flowers into the house and arrange them in vases to enjoy indoors. Floral arrangements can be designed by color, by size of flower heads and by types of flowers. Flower arranging is an art, and there are no rules set in stone--except to create an arrangement that makes you feel happy.
According to legend, we have Cupid to thank for the thorns on a rose. Apparently, it was Cupid who shot a flurry of bows into the stem in a fit of fury after a bee unexpectedly stung him as he admired the rose. Botanically speaking it's a different story: thorns are a form of self protection for roses. Even so, the world consistently chooses the rose as its favorite flower for arrangements and gift giving.
The rose is a member of the Rosaceae family, of which there are about 200 different species and thousands of hybrids. It has a long history, dating back to ancient China, and Egypt.
Today, there are countless beautiful roses from which to choose for flower arranging, so it really comes down to personal preferences in color, size of flower head, stem length and fragrance. It is possible to buy thornless rose climbers and vines, and a wide array of rose bushes that will yield abundant exquisite roses for flower arrangements. While roses look fabulous on their own, add baby's breath and lily-of-the-valley for an outstanding arrangement.
"Gladiolus" comes from the Latin "gladius" which means sword. This tall and graceful flower on its long, sturdy stem is commonly called the sword lily, referring to the shape of its leaves. It is native to South Africa, but arrived in Europe during the 18th century. The first hybrid, Gladiolus gandavensis, dates back to 1837 in Belgium and by 1880, there were thousands of varieties.
Gladioli are ideal for floral arrangements because they stand sturdily erect and their flowers come in an array of colors including white, pink, red, yellow, orange and purple. They team up beautifully with roses, carnations and gerbera daisies.
Hydrangeas are exuberant flowers, large and spectacular whether they stand alone in vases, or are part of a bouquet with other flowers. Their basic colors are pink, blue, red and white. Generally, they are mopheads (Hydrangea macrophylla) or lacecaps (Hydrangea macrophylla normalis) the former being fuller and the latter more delicate.
Hydrangeas are native to Japan, but today they are all over the world. As their name suggests, these beautiful flowers love water, and need lots of it to do well. Spot a drooping hydrangea and you can be almost certain that it is thirsty. Make sure that a vase of cut hydrangeas is topped up regularly so that they have enough water to stay fresh. Hydrangeas together with roses and Asian lilies make elegant floral arrangements.