Last week found me up to my eyeballs in blossoms. Between a launch party for Ashley Farley’s new book, Her Sister’s Shoes, and helping Madeleine Elmer of Fleur de Vie Houston with a local rehearsal dinner and out-of-towners’ brunch, I was in one heck of a happy place. My only concern ~ would all of the local hydrangeas that we had harvested for these two events survive through them?
Since Ashley’s new novel culminates around the 4th of July, she wanted a red, white and blue scheme. Blue and white hydrangeas took the starring role in the flower arrangements. Generous friends offered up bushes of blue and white, and we thoroughly conditioned these big blossoms overnight after removing their leaves and recutting the stems.
Ellen’s bountiful hedge of Annabelle hydrangeas yielded plenty of white blooms, but I worried that their long narrow stems wouldn’t keep the flowers hydrated for long. As I alternated the Annabelles with blue mophead hydrangeas, Solomon’s seal and lavender for hand-tied bouquets, a few of their stems bent and had to be discarded. Needless to say, I was more than a little anxious to see how they were holding up eight hours later when the party was set to begin.
Fortunately the bouquets sat in these marvelous pitchers and had plenty of water. By the time I said goodnight to Ashley, the hydrangeas were still going strong, and they looked just as good the following day. We were fortunate that by the end of June, Annabelle hydrangeas are reaching maturity and are longer-lived than if we had harvested them earlier in the month.
Bright and early Thursday morning, Madeleine gave Ellen and me our gathering orders for additional flowers that she needed to give her nuptial arrangements that Virginia touch. Hydrangeas don’t grow in far southern climes like Houston, so Madeleine was thrilled to use our local ones. Ellen again offered her voluptuous crop of Annabelles (this time the greener blooms), and I again got to fretting. We wouldn’t have the luxury of giving them the overnight soak that I was certain they required. With so many other arrangements to prepare, the hydrangeas were being arranged that afternoon and some of them in oasis no less.
To my surprise and delight, after a dip in alum the hydrangeas survived the night and looked fabulous for the following evening’s rehearsal dinner. The Annabelles are definitely made of sturdier stuff than their lean stems would suggest. I am doubtful that the local mopheads are quite to that point in their maturity yet, so I am glad that Madeleine’s designs did not require the blues that are often requested in wedding arrangements.
mophead hydrangeas starting to shrivel in this Sunday’s altar arrangement while the Annabelles are holding their own
So cheers to the surprisingly sturdy Annabelle hydrangea!
(try a blueberry mojito this 4th of July)
If these hydrangeas survive the beat down of a summer rainstorm, they should bring you long-lasting pleasure in your cut arrangements. Now more than ever, I want my own hedge of them – deer be *$%&ed. Fortunately for the posse, Ellen is a gracious sharer.
June 30, 2015