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You don't need a fancy vase to lend personality to a bunch of tulips—just poke around the kitchen for a suitable jug or jar.
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How to Arrange Tulips
Pick a mix of tulip types and colors—solids, variegated, parrot. Remove all but one or two top leaves from the stems. Next trim stems at an angle to varying lengths. This will create a full but casual look. Place blossoms one at a time in a narrow container to allow tulips to bend and fall naturally.
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Hyacinth and Bouvardia
A straight-sided cylinder vase or a water glass is just the right height for a tiny cluster of hyacinth and bouvardia.
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How to Arrange Hyacinth and Bouvardia
Slender, fragile stems are best snipped with small scissors. Before placing into water, tie a good-size bunch together with twine to help blooms hold their shape.
Tip: Cut garden flowers in the early morning, when temperatures are coolest.
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Delicate, fragrant sweet peas look particularly pretty when arranged in a lacy-patterned milk-glass vase.
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How to Arrange Sweet Peas
Pick sweet peas before the blossoms are fully opened. Cut some stems long and others short. Fan the flowers out in the container and display the arrangement in a cool room to slow wilting.
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Nothing could be easier than a trio of lush peonies as a centerpiece on the dining table or anywhere you want a spot of spring.
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How to Arrange Peonies
Cut the stems off almost completely, leaving an inch or so to absorb water. Place blossom heads in a bowl filled halfway with water.
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Hydrangeas and Lilacs
For hydrangeas and lilacs, choose a tall vessel with a small mouth to help support top-heavy blooms. "The painterly quality of the vase and the romantic flowers work great together," Loecke says.
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How to Arrange Hydrangeas and Lilacs
Snip hydrangeas and lilacs from the bush, slicing just above where the leaves join the stem. Recut at an angle to desired length and strip off leaves. Split the bottom of stems a couple of inches up the center with shears to allow for better water absorption. Put hydrangeas into the vase first, then add lilacs.
Tip: Include flowers with various shapes and stem lengths.
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Go mod with a few pom-pom blossoms grouped together in tinted old-fashioned glassware.
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How to Arrange Pom-Pom Blossoms
Trim the stems of six or seven alliums to two lengths—tall and short—for a free-form effect. These ornamental onions don't usually give off an odor, but if they do, add a couple of drops of household bleach to the water.
Tip: Strip off any leaves that fall below the waterline. Decaying foliage can cloud the water.
Originally published in the May 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.