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How to Create Summer Wildflower Arrangements


I have been attracted to wildflowers for many years.  I think my attraction may have begun many years ago while visiting my grandparents who lived in the heart of Texas Bluebonnet country…true wildflower country.

However, my attraction is currently focused on black-eyed-susans (no…not like the ones at Pimlico Racetrack).  Paraphrasing from “Mr. Google,” Rudbekia is a plant genus in the sunflower family that claims black-eyed-susans.  They are cultivated in gardens for their showy yellow or gold flower heads.

I was very thrilled to find them at a local farmer’s market, and immediately began to think about containers that would best showcase their casual, wildflower character!  It didn’t take long for me to decide on a classic galvanized tin watering can that has a very rustic feel.

Color drove my decision to use the small brown bottle.  My mother gave the little brown bottle to me in the mid-seventies.  She found it buried in her back yard while digging up weeds.  I didn’t know, and I don’t think that she knew that it is actually a snuff bottle.  The bottle has 3 dots on the bottom, which online reports say may be an indication of the strength of the snuff.  I love knowing the bottle’s history, but my true attraction to it is purely color driven.  To me the brown tone of the bottle enhances the gold petals of the black-eyed-susans.  The weathered, green-painted bench sets an overall rustic, casual feel which seems perfect for showcasing wildflowers.

I was careful to hydrate the flowers for at least 1 hour, since I purchased them at an outdoor farmer’s market on a very warm day!  As usual, the stems should be cut under water.

So let’s begin with the tin watering can.  It will definitely need a plastic liner, for two reasons.  One reason is the shape of the watering can.  The second reason is that metal containers generate metallic ions which are harmful to cut flowers, seriously reducing their lasting time.

I was fortunate to find a plastic liner that is a perfect fit for the watering can.  It is a 1.5 liter Fiji water bottle that I cut down to 5″ tall.  Although I could have used Oasis, the branching pattern of the black-eyed-susans was perfect for holding both the flowers and the variegated liriope in place inside the watering can.

Each stem of black-eyed-susans has about 4-6 open blossoms, plus buds.  I started the design by placing the tallest blossom stem in the center at the top.  The two side stems were added next.

In all, I used about 7 stems of blossoms plus 6 stems of Liriope to complete the arrangement.

The handle height of the watering can is 9.5″ and the width from the handle edge to the sprinkler spout is 16.5″.  The finished height of the watering can arrangement is 14″.

Now on to the little brown bottle!  The bottle itself is 4.5″ tall.  I comfortably holds 3 stems of black-eyed-susans.  The finished height of the charming little bottle with it’s blossoms is 10″.

I hope that you will enjoy designing with wildflowers this summer!

by Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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