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These are Sunset's Monday morning bouquets.

These are Sunset's Monday morning bouquets

Visitors to Sunset's headquarters inMenlo Park, California, often ask how we put together the bouquets that brighten tables and credenzas throughout our buildings. Arranged by gardener Kim Haworth to last a week or more, they make use of the abundant bulbs, annuals, perennials, and shrubs that grow in our gardens.

Pictured at right are three arrangementsdisplayed last July; they may spark ideas for bouquets to try with plants from your own garden. (If you plan a summer visit to Sunset's building and gardens, look for the arrangements. Tours start at 10:30, 11:30, 1, 2, and 3 weekdays.)

Each bouquet is shaped for its purpose:low, round bouquets for dining tables (or slightly higher versions for desks); long ones for credenzas; tall, spreading ones for open spaces. Beyond that, it's "anything goes.' Haworth approaches flower arranging just as a creative cook does cooking: she checks the garden each Monday to see what's in bloom and which flowers and foliage might combine well by height, color, and texture. Along the way, she has developed a few guidelines:

Choose long-lasting plants. Since softnew growth soon wilts, choose mature foliage with waxy or leathery leaves; camellia, Pittosporum tobira, podocarpus, and sword fern are good choices. For bold effects, try aspidistra, bergenia, bird of paradise, or New Zealand flax. Where arrangements call for delicate foliage, try nandina or asparagus ferns (A. densiflorus "Sprengeri' or A. retrofractus).

Summer bloomers that last a week ormore in water include alstroemeria, lilies, marigolds, phlox, statice, verbena, and zinnias. Agapanthus is a "bulletproof' favorite; it's tough, long-lasting, and especially handsome when set low in containers and filled in with other flowers.

Cut flowers and foliage early. For enduringarrangements, pick in the early morning before temperatures soar, using a sharp knife or shears. To avoid disfiguring plants, choose branches that are crossing or otherwise out of place; cut them back to a main stem. As you move through the garden, plunge stems directly into clean buckets filled with fresh, cool water. Keep the buckets in a cool, shady place until you're ready to start arranging. Soak floral foam in water for 20 minutes or more, then center it in containers.

Recut stems (make slanting cuts); stripoff any leaves that will be below water.

Mix and match greens with flowers. Combinethree or four different greens in the water-filled container; arrange low greens around the vase edges, then add taller pieces. Next, add flowers, filling in with more foliage as needed. "One or two showoff blossoms add zest to a bouquet,' Haworth says; bird of paradise, hydrangeas, or proteas are good examples. If your garden doesn't have them, you can buy one or two from a florist for special occasions to supplement garden flowers.

Keep arrangements fresh. Commercialpreservatives added to the water help most flowers last longer. But zinnias do best in clean water alone (preservatives tend to make their petals curl). Add fresh water daily.

Photo: Gardener snips white agapanthus blooms for summer bouquet.Camellia, behind, will yield accompanying foliage; both last well

Photo: Mixed greens (aspidistra, camellia, diosma, and spotted calla) make up this bouquet's foundation. Shortest sprigs edge front

Photo: Finished credenza bouquet combines blue and white agapanthus with bold, rose-colored dahlias and delicate annual phlox

Photo: Tightly clustered composition includes bright orange gladiolus and lilies mingled with purple phlox, salvia, globe thistle, and sword fern

Photo: Tall, spreading arrangement features carnations,cosmos, marigolds, and nandina leaves in an old brass brazier; spikes of flame-colored crocosmia and iris leaves fan out from center
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1987
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