by Flo Whitaker
Brighten up your Easter table with a beautiful, and easy, flower arrangement. From a vibrant bunch of daffs to a miniature posy, bring colour and happiness into your home.
Cut flowers give a lift to any environment and are especially welcome after the dark days of winter. Professional floral art takes great skill but, even at the most basic level, we can all use flowers to bring colour into our homes.
Your container doesn’t have to be a conventional vase, but it does need to be thoroughly clean, so a good scrub and rinse is the order of the day. A drop of bleach added to the flower water will keep it sweet-smelling and deter bacterial build-up. Vintage teapots, cups and saucers, bottles, stoneware jars and enamel jugs all make excellent containers – anything that is capable of holding water.
Eggshells make charming holders for tiny flowers. If you have guests at Easter, an eggshell posy placed on a bedside table is a thoughtful and welcoming gift. For a quirky kitchen dresser display, utilise a small egg box and group six eggshells together, placing a different flower in each one. A table centrepiece can be made in minutes by taking a wide water-filled glass bowl and floating pansy and hellebore flowers, plus a few ivy leaves on the surface. They’ll gently move about, ‘arranging’ themselves. Add floating candles, (tea lights float too!) to create the perfect dinner party mood.
A collection of jam jars lined up in varying sizes make eye-catching ‘vases’. Glass paints can be used to decorate the jars – an activity that children seem to enjoy as they can personalise them for family and friends. A few of drops of food colouring in the water adds a fun touch.
Most children are fascinated by growing things and eggshells can also be used to make ‘Cress Heads’. Clean and dry some empty shells, then draw funny faces on them. Dunk cotton wool balls in water and squeeze out the excess moisture – you want them thoroughly damp, but not sodden. Place two balls in each shell, sprinkle in a pinch of cress seed and stand the eggshells on a brightly lit, (not hot) windowsill. Keep the cotton wool moist and, over the course of 7-14 days, comical cress ‘hair’ will sprout – it never fails to amuse! Because cress is short-lived, it can survive on the moisture held by the cotton wool and the meagre nutrients contained within its seeds, but if you use potting soil instead of cotton wool, you can grow more adventurous things. A pinch of chive seed will rapidly germinate, making a hilarious spiky punk hairdo. Cut-and-come-again lettuce is also quick to sprout, as is beetroot. Eaten at the seedling stage, beetroot leaves already have that distinctive colour and taste and are delicious in sandwiches. Got the grandchildren coming this weekend? Buy eggs – you’ll probably need a lot…