Celebrate spring and summer with flowers in new and unexpected places

by Patricia Cove

Philadelphia in April is awash in green and pink, and yellow, and purple, and Chestnut Hill in May will be extraordinarily bedecked in floral blooms of all shapes, sizes and colors.

What is it about the floral form that attracts so many? Of course it is its beauty, delicacy and ability to enhance its surroundings in such glorious abundance. Spring offers us all the opportunity to experience flowers in every conceivable form, both inside-and out. From full English gardens to miniature flower boxes, from hydrangea bouquets to a single bud vase, design expression through flowers is one of the most creatively varied art forms there is!

An unadorned front lawn or an empty room is suddenly transformed when you introduce something green with’ petals.’ In an instant it becomes warmer, friendlier, more comfortable — a place where people love to be, and this is true whether you live in a country house or a city apartment.

If you are in the habit of bringing the outdoors in, you know how beautiful bouquets can be in living and dining rooms.  Try experimenting with new locations. How about a small vase on your desk, a bathroom vanity or in a guest room, even if you are not expecting any! One of the fabulous sights of European towns is people rushing home for lunch with a loaf of bread in one hand and a fresh bouquet in the other. For these people, flowers are a part of daily life, not just for special occasions, and not always done up in elaborate arrangements. If you keep it simple, you will be more likely to use flowers more often and more naturally.

To help you enjoy flowers in your home, there are some simple guidelines to remember: color, setting, size, season, and scent.

Color, which is probably the most important element to floral decoration can turn a rather ho-hum room into one ablaze in exuberant hues. Choose flowers that coordinate with the rooms color scheme, or that highlight accent colors in the space.

Keep in mind that color creates the mood and can be joyful and exciting or lush and romantic depending on the shades introduced. When time is of the essence, opt for a single-color bouquet that harmonizes with the room. The impact of white tulips in a large silver vase, or lilacs in an old blue and white pitcher, can evoke feelings of traditional elegance or country charm. Artificial and natural light affect the colors as well. You can enhance an arrangement by illuminating it separately within the room.

Whether the decor of the room is formal, period, traditional or very modern, the flowers should blend in naturally. In the eighteenth century, vases were designed as part of the decoration of the room and were never moved. Only the flowers changed. Nowadays we spend much time deciding exactly where an arrangement should be placed. Choose a focal point for a major arrangement, but do not neglect the tiny accent table in the corner. You will be amazed what a small bouquet of flowers can do!

Consider the overall size of the flower filled vase, and its scale in relation to the room. A bouquet should not overwhelm, nor should it get lost. Many are inclined to use too many flowers in a room. One or two moderately sized, beautiful arrangements, add a lovely touch, enhancing not only the surroundings, but shining on their own as spectacular design elements.

The season often determines the choice of materials and provides a natural variation of floral styles and patterns throughout a home. Spring is always a most abundant time, when daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and lily-of-the-valley make up luscious colorful bouquets. During the holidays, I love to try interesting combinations of evergreens, branches, and fruit. And you can always enjoy the results of last summer’s flowers by drying them in the form of potpourri.

The aroma of a room can also affect your state of mind and is one of the reasons why we love having flowers around us. By placing fragrant blooms wherever their fragrance will be most noticeable, you are sure to experience the glorious aroma. On

a night table, next to a favorite chair or on your desk in the office, these spots are sure to bring you much olfactory pleasure.

So as you are marching through spring and summer this year, take a moment to get yourself some posies. Do something creative with them. Enjoy their fragrance and their color. You will soon discover it’s a habit you won’t want to break!

Patricia Cove is Principal of, Architectural Interiors and Design in Chestnut Hill and can be reached through her website, patriciacove.com

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