A collection of glasses of many shapes and sizes will aid the arranger, for these lend themselves so agreeably to use with all kinds of plant material. A large green brandy balloon looks most attractive filled with an arrangement of green materials such as, seedheads, grasses and whatever else can be found. A cluster of gleaming berries or other fruits such as little green apples will appear to have an affinity with the texture of the glass and thus makes a pleasant link between it and the other contents.
Blue glass will add a lively touch to the soft passive greys of downyand leaves. It will bring a sparkle to foliage which is covered with a bluish or greenish bloom and to other materials. I like to see whole plants of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum arranged this way. Red glass can be used in winter to bring a warm note into the room and will carry its complementary greens delightfully. And if you want to make a complementary harmony it is usually easy to find , for example, and berries, rose hips or holly, which will match or harmonise with the glass.
Round, bulb-shaped glasses are naturally suited to those flowers which grow from bulbs. If the aperture is narrow enough sometimes all one needs is three daffodils with five or so of the green, spear-shaped leaves behind them, both flowers and foliage arranged so that one towers a little way above the one below. Nerines, irises and freesias look lovely displayed this way and it is such an easy method of arrangement.
Quite often you will find that it is best to arrange the stems in the hand and tie them together before inserting them into the glass. This, incidentally, is a method I use whenflowers in bottle-shaped containers. Indeed I have several true bottles which once held drinks (liqueur bottles are usually the most attractive shapes) which I use throughout the year as containers.
Simple table centres
A plain glass bowl can make a lovely and unusual table centre, the arrangement of which need take no longer than a few minutes. All it needs is a cluster of flowers and a few leaves arranged in just one area at rim level, like the decoration on a hat. The stems are held in a small ball of crumpled wire netting hooked by its own cut ends on the rim of the bowl. (Transparent sticky tape on the outside of the bowl can also be used for this purpose.) ‘The stems are inserted through the mesh into the water. Only a few flowers are necessary, say five roses and a little of their own foliage, or five daffodils and variegated ivy leaves, or one lovely dahlia framed with foliage and berries.
There are variations to be played on this theme. Shallow dishes or deep plates of ceramic, metal or what you will can also be ornamented with a floral ‘knot’ according to season or where they are to be placed. While some of these containers may not look as lovely as glass when filled with plain water, there are other things they can hold, such as green bun moss in the spring to complement a group of early flowers or blossom, or even an assortment of leaves. The stems of all these can go under the moss into the water, or alternatively into foamed plastic, attractive pebbles, seashore stones, seashells, aquaria stones, marbles or beads. All of these can play a part and present an interesting expanse of material within the walls of thewhich adds another quality of texture, colour or atmosphere. It can be very rewarding to experiment with some of these unusual accessories.