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How do you create a gorgeous centerpiece? Keep it simple—dahlias and hellebores clustered in a glass vase speak for themselves. Note: When you use clear containers the stems become part of the bouquet, so trim neatly and arrange with care.
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Gilding the Lily
Do what the pros do when making an arrangement: Choose blossoms of different shapes and sizes but within the same color family—pink surprise lily and ranunculus, for example. Then add in blooms of a deeper complementary shade, such as purple clematis and ironweed. The result is first-class florist.
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Mix together seasonal flowers of different sizes but the same hue to create a vivid look: big-headed dahlias, medium-size English roses and petite sprigs of pink surprise lily. For highlights, tuck lime-edged red coleus leaves into the bouquet here and there.
—A clear glass vase showcases the natural charm of the blooms and stems. Or match your container to a flower color for a modern look.
—Small bouquets in glasses scattered about the table are perfect for a dinner party because they won't block your guests' view of one another like a tall arrangement would.
—To prevent rotting, remove most of the leaves below the water line. If you like the look of greens, strategically add a couple of the cut leaves into the bouquet. Or use different varieties from the garden, such as colorful coleus or fragrant geranium leaf.
—Create a tabletop still life by assembling objects from nature, like acorns, stones or driftwood.
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For a casual bouquet, trim a few perfect lisianthus blossoms to different heights so they stick out randomly amid scented geranium leaf, passionflower and purple clematis.
How to Cut Flowers
—Cut stems individually at an angle with flower clippers or a sharp knife.
—Blooms last longer if you recut stems every couple of days.
Originally published in the September 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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