The Simplest (and Cheapest) Way to Decorate With Flowers


What’s the easiest way to make any room look better? A vase of fresh flowers.

It’s also one of the least expensive ways — if you have access to a garden, a yard or a container garden on a balcony.

Assembling flower arrangements like the ones you see in magazines or on social media doesn’t have to mean spending a small fortune at an upscale flower shop, where they do the arranging for you. A simple grouping of flowers, branches, leaves and even vegetables can look equally appealing.

“You don’t have to grow, like, 5,000 peonies,” said Christopher Spitzmiller, 52, who designs lamps and ceramics. “You can put a single bloom in a flower vase, and that is often enough.”

As it happens, Mr. Spitzmiller has an enviable garden at Clove Brook Farm, the Millbrook, N.Y., home he shares with his husband, Anthony Bellomo, the owner of Orangerie, a garden shop. But they agree that simpler can sometimes be better.

“We’ll often put kale, chard or leafy greens that you would eat into arrangements,” said Mr. Bellomo, 45.

Here’s how they decorate their dining room with flowers and greenery when they want to impress their friends.

Before cutting any branches or flowers, Mr. Spitzmiller and Mr. Bellomo set the table, which establishes a color palette.

“The tablecloth, the glasses and the other things you plan to use drive the choice of flowers,” Mr. Bellomo said. “If we’re doing pink plates, we might do light tones of pinks, mauves and purples” in the flowers.

On this particular day, they covered the table with a wood-grain-patterned tablecloth before putting down green-and-white marbleized plates that Mr. Spitzmiller designed, along with green napkins and purple-and-white glasses.

For a playful touch, they added red ladybug ornaments from John Derian and gold frog-shaped salt cellars from KRB, a home furnishings store in Manhattan.

After setting the table, the couple picked out the vases and containers they wanted to use for flowers.

They settled on an antique frog tureen for the centerpiece and a pair of small square faux-bois planters to hold arrangements of flowers and leaves.

Finally, they added vintage glass beakers and a number of glass bud vases for single stems that could be scattered across the table.

Armed with pruning shears and galvanized buckets filled with water, the couple took to the gardens. Anything that’s attractive is fair game.

Mr. Spitzmiller cut towering peach-colored lilies, trimming the excess leaves and stamen as he went. (“Those stamen will stain anything they come in contact with,” he explained.) Mr. Bellomo picked chartreuse lady’s mantle and several varieties of hydrangea.

They also collected a few things they hadn’t planned on: the sprightly yellow flowers of an edible green that had bolted to seed, spherical flowers from shallots, spindly clematis vines and thick hosta leaves.

Back in their kitchen, they began filling the containers. In each of the bud vases, they placed one or two stems of chocolate cosmos and lavender.

“It’s very simple,” Mr. Bellomo said. “Flowers like that might disappear in a larger arrangement, but in a little bud vase you can really appreciate the beauty.”

Lilies received a similar treatment: One stem went into each of the glass beakers.

In the frog tureen and faux-bois planters, they layered flowers. As Mr. Spitzmiller explained: “In an arrangement, you should have three things: a thriller, a filler and a spiller.”

After stuffing coated chicken wire deep into the tureen to help hold the stems in place, they began with the filler: hydrangea, lady’s mantle and hosta leaves. (They crisscrossed the stems to help support the thrillers they wanted to showcase above.)

On top, they inserted traditional and unexpected flowers, including pink and white roses, an early dahlia and vegetable flowers.

The spillers came near the end: clematis vines that would curl out from the containers to spill across the table.

Once all the containers were filled, the couple carried them to the dining table.

Placing them on the table is always a process of trial and error — even for experienced designers and gardeners.

The frog went in the middle. Then Mr. Spitzmiller and Mr. Bellomo experimented with the faux-bois planters and glass cylinders, trying to leave enough space between the large containers to avoid interfering with sightlines around the table. The bud vases were scattered around the perimeter.

Mr. Spitzmiller paused when he spotted something on a hosta leaf.

“There are some holes from bugs here — that makes it real. You know it came from this garden, not some wholesaler,” he said.

He added: “That’s an important point: It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here.



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top