Give a living valentine

Create a romantic floral arrangement
Kathleen N. Brenzel

A living heart of flowers is a beautiful way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day, and the plants endure long after February 14 has passed.

For the arrangement pictured at left, photographer Robin Cushman purchased a heart-shaped wicker basket (16 1/2 inches long, 15 1/2 inches wide, and 5 1/2 inches deep) from a craft store and nine 4-inch pots of English primroses with flowers in shades from deep rose to hot pink. After applying a clear waterproof sealer to the basket and allowing it to dry, Cushman lined the basket with black plastic, then poked holes through the liner for drainage. She partially filled the basket with rich potting soil, then planted the primroses from 4-inch nursery pots, setting them close together and filling in around them with potting soil.

The arrangement was a hit with her family and, watered regularly, bloomed beautifully for three months before Cushman planted the primroses in garden beds.