This amaryllis tree is a sophisticated, scaled-down way to decorate your hallway or bar, or bring Christmas cheer to a space too small for a tree.
5 'Hercules' amaryllis
'Grand Prix' roses (15–20 stems) makes a good substitute, if you can't find 'Hercules' amaryllis.
tall cube vase
5 garden stakes
1/2 block floral foam
black pebbles or gravel
Choose a streamlined opaque container or vase that is about half the size of the flower stems to get the right proportions. We use a clear vase in the instructions, below, to show how to place the materials inside the vase, but a black vase looks particularly striking for your arrangement at home.
If you have left the amaryllis stems to stand in water before you arrange them, be careful when you take them out. Their hollow stems soak up a lot of water, and you will want to make sure that the water inside the stems doesn't flood out and damage your working surface or other materials when you recut them for this arrangement.
Cut or tear off the small brown sepals around the base of each amaryllis flower head; they wither and look unattractive if they are left on the flower.
Arrange the amaryllis stems in a bunch with straight stems and tie them with a length of raffia just below the base of the flower heads so the raffia remains hidden. Trim the ends of the stems to the same length.
Insert a garden stake inside each hollow amaryllis stem. Each stake should be longer than the amaryllis stem. Trim the stakes so that they are all the same length.
Pack the lower half of the vase with scrunched-up cellophane or recycled plastic bags. Fill three-quarters of the vase with water. Trim the soaked block of floral foam so it fits the diameters of the vase and put it into position on top of the cellophane or bags. It's important to layer these pieces as instructed rather than using all floral foam in the vase; too much floral foam will make the vase too heavy.
Push the amaryllis stems and garden stakes down into the foam until the stakes disappear from view and the flowers can stand by themselves.
Fill the rest of the vase with black pebbles, almost to the rim. These pebbles will also help support the flower stems. Top of the vase with water. Tie a length of seagrass neatly around the fixed stems as an extra detail, if you prefer.
If you have any stems of amaryllis left over, cut the stems short and arrange the flowers in a short matching vase to stand near the main arrangement. Alternatively, make up separate stems in small vases as individual place settings for a meal.
This arrangement will last for seven days if you mist the flowers regularly and keep the floral foam wet. The buds on amaryllis stems open up in sequence, so you can carefully cut off the older blooms when they are past their primt to make room for the newer buds to open up.
Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2011