Organic Appeal: Flag Irises and Horse Chestnuts

Young flag irises bloom beneath a canopy of horse chestnut leaves in a unique arrangement that highlights nature's different scales and unusual shapes. Position this display on a shelf or mantelpiece in a light, airy room.

Flag Iris and Horse Chestnut Centerpiece

Flag Iris and Horse Chestnut Centerpiece

2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Fresh Flower Arranging

DK - Fresh Flower Arranging, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials

Flowers and Foliage
30 flag irises
9 horse chestnut stems

Use half-opened irises and stems with the leaves just emerging and unfurling to capture the awakening feel of spring. If you can't find flag irises or horse chestnut stems, you can substitute standard irises, tulips or daffodils and birch twigs or magnolia branches, respectively.

Other Materials
thin, rectangular, opaque vase (3 inches deep, 15 1/2 inches long)
floral foam
florist’s scissors

Flag Iris and Horse Chestnut Stems Used in Design

2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Fresh Flower Arranging

DK - Fresh Flower Arranging, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

How to Arrange

Soak two blocks of floral foam. Trim or cut them into pieces so that they fit snugly inside the vase.

Press a straight line of horse chestnut stems of varying heights into the foam along the center of the vase.

Cut the iris stems very short — to about 3 inches — and tuck them into the foam in a line in front of and behind the horsechestnut stems so that the flower heads rise just above the neck of the vase. Put the vase in position and top it off with water.

Insider Tip
Horse chestnut stems last for several weeks, but the irises will only last for seven days. Keep replacing the irises as they start to fade. Change the water every few days by standing the vase on a draining board or in the kitchen sink and pouring in enough water so that the old, stale water is flushed out.

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