The View From Halcyon Farm: Simple Flower Arranging From the Garden

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peonies (8)[3]

If you’ve been reading this column for more than a few weeks, you might have picked up the fact that Halcyon Farm grows a lot of flowers. We have a big cutting garden, plus swathes of peonies, hydrangeas, zinnias and in the late summer, dahlias. There are always flowers in the house. Always.

But the perennial issue with flowers is what to put them in. We all have loads of vases that arrive with flower from the florist, but we immediately discard them, rearrange the flowers and use a more interesting container. We going to use the word vase as a generic term for a container holding flowers, to make it easy.

And the container is where the fun begins! Don’t limit yourself to a traditional vase, think outside the clear glass and let your imagination loose. Walk around your house and see what you can repurpose for a vase. Anything that holds water is fair game – and even things that don’t hold water. For those, you can put a glass or a can inside to hold the flowers.

One of the tricks of the trade is using a flower frog. They’re sometimes hard to find, but you will find that once you start using one, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Flower frogs are glass, ceramic or wire and they have some arrangement of holes to hold the stems and give them support. If you don’t have one, you can improvise by putting strips of tape across the opening of the vase in a grid.


For a Hunt Cup tailgate arrangement, Stiles used one of his father’s riding trophies, which later appeared holding gorgeous flowers for a holiday arrangement.


If you have big flowers with long stems, like peonies, a champagne or ice bucket makes a perfect vase, because the depth can support the weight of the flower heads.

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Here’s a similar arrangement, same container, but autumn tones on dahlias and cox comb.


Once they start dying, back clip the still-perfect ones and put them into a smaller vase, or use a teacup. Here, we’ve used a tiny silver pitcher, which fits one blossom perfectly. Can’t you see one of these at each place setting at a Sunday brunch?


Small silver pieces, like pitchers, sugar bowls, double-handled vases, finger-bowls, tea pots and julep cups work beautifully for smaller arrangements. Here’s one with pink and white azaleas, mixed with some pale purple lilacs. This arrangement is only about ten inches tall.


For small arrangements, or just a spray of flowers, you can use virtually anything. Here, we’ve put some mock orange blossoms into a blue and white sugar bowl. This arrangement is tiny – no more than five inches tall!

mock orange

One suggestion is to use vases that complement the flowers that you have. We used these tall skinny glass vases in the shop to emphasize the height of these yellow tulips.


Our advice is to look around your house – do you have some fun drinking glasses, an interesting pitcher, a baby’s drinking cup? They can all be used to make a vase for your flowers!

The View From Halcyon Farm is sponsored by Halcyon House Antiques located at 11219 Greenspring Avenue in Lutherville, and open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information visit the Halcyon House website or call 410-828-8889.

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