Gift bouquets from the garden

See how to make simply beautiful bundles of blooms
Kathleen N. Brenzel

These pretty bouquets, designed by Jill Slater for quick decorating or for gifts, have humble origins. Easy to assemble, each starts not with blooms from a florist but with flowers from cool-season bulbs and bedding plants--cyclamen, dianthus, narcissus, pansies, primroses, and stock.

To make one, gather about 10 flower stems (more for violets and narcissus) from the garden or buy 4-inch plants at a nursery. Arrange the stems at the same height so the bouquet takes on a rounded shape. Around the flowers, add leaves with stems. Wrap a rubber band around all stems just under flower heads. Then cover the rubber band with tulle or wired ribbon.

Present the nosegay in a water-filled glass vase (about 4 inches tall with a 2-inch-diameter opening). Or prepare it as a simple bouquet to give as a gift: Wrap the stems with floral tape (available at craft or florist shops) and finish with a satin ribbon.

Fairy primrose with sprigs of Douglas fir (A); 25 stems of narcissus (B); Primula obconica with foliage (C); pale yellow stock (D); fairy primrose with sprigs of grevillea, Geraldton waxflower, and eucalyptus (E); cyclamen blooms with foliage and eucalyptus buds (F); and pansies (G). Except where noted, each bouquet uses about 10 stems (or about two blooming stems each from five 4-inch nursery plants).

Hello doily!

A nosegay of violets (30 stems) can be presented in a paper doily with a decorative bow. Cut a hole in the center of the doily and insert the bouquet stems through the hole. Wrap a length of floral wire around the center of the bow, then around the flower stems just under the doily. Wrap floral tape to close the doily's center hole around the stems and the bow wire, then wrap the stems down their entire length. Cut off excess tape.