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Playing for Keeps

Playing for Keeps
 

“This versatile valentine features baby’s-breath as a feature flower.”

Floral designer Lori McNorton, proprietress of Blooms on Boswell in Topeka, Kan., takes baby’s-breath to another level in this Valentine’s Day creation, which was inspired by Danziger’s show-stopping variety, ‘XLence’. With its clusters of breathtaking (pun intended) brilliant white and extra-large blooms, this cultivar is intended to be more than just a filler, or accent, flower. In this composition, it takes center stage and makes a big impact.

Attach No. 100 wire-edge red mesh ribbon to the perimeter of a heart-shaped wire form with paper-covered wire or thin-gauge florist wire, creating occasional, equidistant ruffles as you work around the form. Attach the ribbon to one half of the form at a time, starting at the cleft and ending at the point on each side.

Clip baby’s-breath into dozens of small branchlets. The number will be dependent of the size of the wire form you choose.

Gather several branchlets to form a cluster, lay the cluster atop the wire form, and tie it to the wire form starting at the point, with the blooms facing downward and the stems facing upward. Repeat this step several times, working upward from the point, around the lobe, to the cleft, until one side of the wire form is covered. Make sure that the blooms of successive clusters overlap and cover the stems of the preceding clusters. At the cleft of the heart, reverse the last cluster of baby’s-breath so that its stems are tucked and hidden under the preceding bloom cluster and the blooms are facing downward.

Tape two hyacinth stakes with stem wrap, and wire them vertically perpendicular, or slightly diagonally, if necessary, to the backside of the wire form. Make sure the ends of the stakes can be inserted into an arrangement or plant.

Insert the hyacinth stakes into the fl oral foam in an arrangement container. Arrange baby’s-breath and three stems of roses into the floral foam to create the base arrangement. (For a vase arrangement, insert the stakes into the vase, among the flowers, after the arrangement is complete. For a plant, insert the stakes into the soil or potting medium.)

Using the same No. 100 wire-edge red mesh ribbon that outlines the heart form, make a large two-loop bow with two tails/streamers. Make chevron cuts in the ends of the two tails. Tie the bow with florist wire, attach that wire to a wood pick or piece of hyacinth stake, and insert it into the fl oral foam at the base of the arrangement.

Using a heart-shape wire form, Lori tied small bunches of ‘XLence’ Gypsophila to the frame and added a garnish of red mesh ribbon for a punch of color, texture and dimension. She then placed the fluffy heart into a cloud-like arrangement of more baby’s-breath punctuated with a trio of red roses and a tailored bow; however, it could also be effectively incorporated into a mixed flower design, a dozen red roses, a vase of tulips, or even a foliage or flowering plant.
And this is no one-night-stand kind of design idea; this one’s forever, baby. Because the baby’s-breath will dry beautifully, this frilly heart will become a cherished Valentine’s Day keepsake that the recipient can hang on a wall or door to keep the love and memories alive year-round.

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