Monday, August 31, 2015

In a Vase on Monday: An Experiment

The heat that plagued us last week is slowly ebbing away.  Other than my pink Eustoma grandiflorum and Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', there's not much in bloom that looks good right now.  As both those flowers have already received lots of exposure in my vases this summer, I looked around for an alternative and came up with succulents.  While I've used succulent flowers in prior vases, I haven't created an arrangement using succulent plants so I tried my hand at this on Sunday when I had time to futz.

Here's the finished product:

 


I looked at a couple of on-line videos about how to construct a floral-style succulent arrangement before I started.  (You can find one of these here if you're interested.)  Unfortunately, I didn't have all the specified materials on hand.  My husband had wire in a variety of gauges in his workshop but all were either bigger or smaller than prescribed so I improvised by cutting up a few wire hangers we got with our dry cleaning and one of the lighter gauge wires from his workshop.  I had no floral tape to make tidy succulent "stems" either but, as I selected a vase that hid these, that wasn't enough of a problem to send me to the store in the heat.

I used the wire from the hangers on the succulents with beefier bases and the lighter wire with the smaller succulents.  Two of the succulents I used had long, thin woody stems so I simply inserted pieces of those plants as is.

As shown in these photos, I inserted 2 lengths of wire crosswise through the base of the heavy-headed succulents, then bent the wires downward to form stem-like supports.  I skipped this step with the 2 succulents shown in the bottom row in the left and center photos.

 I arranged the plants in the vase without any water in the basin, starting with the largest succulents and adding the smaller ones as fillers.  I used the following plants:

Clockwise from upper left: Graptoveria 'Fred Ives', Aeonium arboreum, Aeonium 'Kiwi', Graptopetalum paraguayense, Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi 'Marginata' and a no ID succulent  (Also used but not highlighted here were stems of Oscularia deltoides)


I cut a few Aeonium and Sedum I didn't end up using but I just stuck them in the ground in the garden to root when I cleaned up.  Unlike my usual compositions, this arrangement involved no waste.

The arrangement is sitting on the dining table.

The textured white vase was a birthday gift from a friend last year.  It has an irregular opening which is perfect for supporting the heavy succulent "flowers."  My friend gave me the vase with a Tillandsia, which I managed to kill with neglect earlier this year.  Fortunately, my friend painted the vase and the Tillandsia and gave me that as a gift last Christmas so the Tillandsia has been properly memorialized.


In its position on the dining table, the vase can be viewed from multiple angles, which is good as it looks very different from each side.  I haven't been able to decide which view I like best.



The arrangement should last at least a couple of weeks but I can take it apart at any time and plant the component parts in the garden if I'd like.  I can't say that about any of my prior arrangements.

Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she's got "In a Vase on Monday" and to find links to other gardeners' creations from materials they have on hand.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

38 comments:

  1. I love this arrangement but then I'm partial to succulents. It looks great from all angles but my favorite is the top left. Beautifully done and the vase is perfect!

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  2. Wow. This is amazing Kris. The effort you put into this was well worth it... it's a stunning arrangement. Gillian at CountryGardenUK.com

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    1. As it turned out, it wasn't all that difficult, Gillian. The biggest problem was finding the right wire and sticking it through the plant's thick stems without poking a finger on the other side.

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  3. Kris, this is absolutely wonderful. Turned out amazing and I'm so glad you showed some of how to assemble such a creation.

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    1. The people in the on-line videos do a much better job at the demonstration than I did, Susie, but thanks.

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  4. Thank you for this tutorial and doesn't the finished result look wonderful. I love succulents and this vase has certainly inspired me to try something similar.

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    1. As I'm up to my ears in succulents here, I've been thinking of trying something like this for some time. Now that the flower supply on-site is low, it seemed the perfect time.

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  5. How intriguing - what a great result and fascinating to see how you have done it. Thanks so much for sharing today

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    1. Thank you for hosting this wonderful meme, Cathy, and for encouraging all of us to think outside the box.

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  6. A real lesson on how to arrange succulents in a vase, thanks, Kris! So creative and original!

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    1. Thanks Anca. After weeks of presenting the same flowers, it was time for me to try something different.

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  7. Kris this is stunning...I love the textured vase and the use of all succulents which are few and far between in my garden although I do love them. And now I know how to arrange them if I ever have enough. I love all the angles of this vase...and I think that is the mark of a great vase...it looks fabulous and a bit different from any angle. And you can plant the component pasts...now that is a bonus!

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    1. The trick is to have enough variety among the succulents to make the arrangement interesting. At first, I'd planned to focus mainly on Aeoniums (which I have gobs of) but the arrangement needed more color so I had to search farther afield.

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  8. Your skill in making such a marvelous arrangement should be applauded. It's great that you showed how to put it together, a lot of work! I like the upper left arrangement too, the darker florets are special. I can't seem to grow succulents outside here, I see other peoples' and think, "Oh, I'll give it another try," take home the unsuspecting cute little guy, plant it, and then watch as it turns brown and shriviels up. In San Diego I used to cut off pieces of Jade Plant, stick them in the ground, and have marvelous displays of them in no time. So I envy your abundant succulents. I do have a few in pots, Echeveria and Jade Plants.

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    1. If I had to carry my succulents inside under cover every winter, Hannah, I doubt you'd see me cutting them up into little pieces to make an arrangement. As it was, the fact that the Graptoveria had developed excessively long necks and "needed" to be restarted anyway got me rolling.

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  9. Oooooh. I'm really liking this arrangement (and the wonderful vase it is in as well). I'll throw in my vote for the top left. The darker colors and deeper cups somehow make it feel extra dramatic I think. The idea you can recycle much of it is appealing to me. That is one issue I always had with cut flowers, the idea I'm killing them to display them. It feels more like you are simply borrowing these for a run on your table.

    (Maybe your friend will paint this arrangement for you - it is stunning!)

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    1. I have enough Aeonium arboreum to stock several nurseries but I am happy that I can plant the Graptoveria as I never seem to have enough of that.

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  10. It came out beautiful. I have a few succulents that are planted....

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    1. Succulents are generally easy in my climate, which is fortunate. As our weather is seemingly getting both hotter and drier, more and more of my garden is dedicated to succulents.

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  11. Love, love, love it, Kris! It really shows off the variety of forms to be had just from succulents. Thanks for the instructions on preparing the short-stemmed types; are you saying that you don't add water at all for this?

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    1. No water at all went into this arrangement, Amy. Governor Brown would be proud of me.

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  12. Oh, I love this one, it's beautifully arranged. So very clever with those wires, as well as being recyclable back into the garden.

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    1. It really arranged itself, Alison. Those heavy succulent heads need the rest on something like the broad base of this vase so, once that was done, it was just a matter of filling in with what was left.

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  13. Great idea, and very well executed. And then you can cut off the wired bits and root a bunch of new plants. Cool!

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    1. The Graptoveria is definitely going into the ground when I get tired of the arrangement.

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  14. Kris this is just gorgeous! You're selling yourself short when you say the cuttings arranged themselves, you did a fantastic job of placing colors and shapes to draw your eye around the arrangement. All complimentary nothing taking away from its neighbor.

    Come warnings of our first freeze (a very long ways away hopefully) I've got lots of unground succulents I'll need to take cuttings of, perhaps I'll try my hand at this!

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    1. That's a great idea, Loree. As the saying goes, you can "have your cake and eat it too."

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  15. The technique you demonstrate with the wire is really useful so many thanks for sharing this. Yours is a very attractive arrangement. I did a very similar one for Vase on Monday a few weeks back, called Between a Rock and Hard Place, but not quite so artfully arranged. It has been in my conservatory ever since then, unchanged except for a change in the flower. I had never thought of using succulents before but when it got hot in our conservatory, the idea come to me.

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    1. I looked around for succulent flowers like the beautiful one in the post you mentioned, Noelle. Unfortunately, the really flashy succulent flowers are long gone.

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  16. I love this Kris, what a wonderful arrangement. I enjoy quite a few succulents but I never thought of putting them into an arrangement. Thank you for showing us how to do it. I love the vase too.

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    1. That turned out to be the perfect vase for this purpose even though it wasn't the one I had in mind when I started the project, Chloris.

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  17. That's a great idea Kris, one I think I will be copying soon, as my flowers are fast disappearing. The vase you chose really sets the succulents off to perfection. It makes an ideal centrepiece for the table and you could even dismantle it and give each guest a piece to take home. Brilliant!

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    1. I like the idea of giving away a succulent centerpiece in pieces, although prettying up the "stems" would be especially useful in that case.

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  18. So pretty. This one really speaks to my taste.

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    1. I'm glad you like it Emily. It was relatively easy to do (at least if you have succulents on hand).

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