Just over a month ago, my older sister and her husband welcomed the tiniest, sweetest little boy into the world. He joined us a month earlier than expected, so after I got the phone call saying all systems were a go, I rushed to my neighborhood bodega and snatched up a cellophane-wrapped cone of purple hyacinths. I plopped them into a ball jar, added white ribbon, and hightailed it to my sister's side. A few days later, when I walked into the room to visit, I was accosted by the pungent odor of opening hyacinths. Maybe an entire bunch of the springtime staple was a bit much. Here's a better idea:
Photos by Erin Boyle.
Since then, I've been thinking about a bouquet that I would prepare to celebrate a new baby if I was given a little bit of advance warning. Here's my take on a bouquet for a newborn: sweetly scented, soft, and subtle.
I gathered supplies from a beautiful neighborhood flower shop just around the block from my apartment. I'm not a mother myself, but if there's one thing that being around a brand-new nephew has taught me, it's that folks are really into gender-specific colors. For a breath of fresh air amid all that bright blue and pink, I chose stems in soft shades fitting for any nursery.
Above: At the risk of looking twee, I chose this tiny vintage baby bottle to make my bouquet. The opening was narrow, so I had to choose dainty stems that would fit in easily.
Above: I didn't want this bouquet to have the overwhelming fragrance of an entire bunch of hyacinth, but I still liked the idea of a fragrant bouquet for a nursery. I chose two small stems of tuberose to do the heavy-lifting.
Above: Optical grass seemed like the right fit for a little brush of something delicate. Muscari echoed the shape of the tuberose and was fittingly tiny.
Above: I couldn't imagine a bouquet for a baby without including a few leaves of velvety-soft dusty miller. No comparison to the softness of the baby himself, of course, but a good homage.
Above: Finally, small cuts of deliciously fragrant jasmine seemed like the perfect complement to the sweet scent of the tuberose and added beautiful shape. I could talk for days about my love of jasmine. Italian rustica helped balance things out.
I'm not a professional floral designer, but I like to play at being one. Whether I'm making a bouquet for myself or for a new baby, I'm especially drawn to collections of flowers that are left just a little bit unruly.
I started by arranging the flowers in my hand--a trick my farmer-sister taught me when she made my wedding bouquet last summer—and only made a few tweaks after the stems were in the bottle.
Above: A bow of rich moss-colored velvet ribbon seemed like the perfect accompaniment to the bouquet and was another welcome variation on the pink and blue theme.
In the end, a tiny, fragrant bouquet for an equally sweet-smelling baby.