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Party arches ... blooming.

Nothing invites guests into the garden faster than festive trellises laced with bloom. The freestanding arch pictured above--built by Bill Caldwell as a backdrop for his own garden wedding and decorated by Laurie Stern Floral Art, of El Cerrito, California--is a good choice if you entertain in the garden frequently. The trellis pictured at right, made of three green-stained tree stakes lashed together with florist's wire, goes together quickly and inexpensively.

Portable floral arch

To adapt Bill Caldwell's design, buy a wood trellis ($129 to $200) at a garden supply and set it over a pathway. Some wood trellises come with bottom stakes that sink into the ground. For ones that don't, you may need to provide extra support in windy areas. Sink ends into soil, or secure the trellis to stakes set into the soil on either side.

Instant trellis of tree stakes

At a nursery, buy two 8-foot-long stakes (at least as sturdy as 1-by-ls), and one 5-foot-long stake for the top.

In windy areas, use thicker stakes (or double up the 1-by-ls). Sink the 8-foot stakes about 1 1/2 feet into soil, one on either side of the path, then position and secure the top stake to them with wire. To hold big bouquets as shown below, wire blocks of florist's foam to the trellis's top right corner and lower left stake; to help keep wire from cutting into foam, put a piece of cardboard or wood shingle between foam and stake. Or use a floral cage (a plastic basket that holds the foam, available at some florist supply stores). Spray foam with water.

Decorating them with flowers

Choose flowers and greens in your own garden (or at a florist) that can survive out of water for several hours; some choices include Sprenger asparagus, baby's breath, statice, stock, strawflowers, and yarrow. Some flowers, such as roses and sweet peas, need water to look their best; secure their stems in water-filled tubes (available at florist supply stores for about 29 cents each).

Wrap trellis with greens; secure stems with wire. Tuck bunches of about five stems each (about six to eight bunches total) among greens on each side; wire them to trellis. To make focal-point bouquets, poke flowers into florist's foam. Before the party, mist flowers with water.
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Title Annotation:Summer Entertaining; garden trellises for summer outdoor parties
Author:Lincowski, Emely
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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