The first apartment my husband and I shared had a tiny white and black kitchen. A huge white porcelain sink sloped gracefully into a black tiled counter top, and black-and-white checked tiles formed a tall backsplash beneath white shelves. Where the walls were bare, our landlord had painted them a deep marigold yellow. I still dream about cooking in that kitchen. It was so narrow that our oven door couldn’t open fully, but otherwise the proportions were just right. It played host to our earliest lessons in coupledom and pie-making, both at the same time. Black and white anemones remind me of that North Carolina kitchen.
Late winter and early spring are the prime seasons for these papery flowers. Seaport Flowers near my home in Brooklyn Heights keep coolers stocked with black and white and brilliant purple anemones from Battenfeld’s Anemone Farm, in the small town of Red Hook, upstate.
I couldn’t resist an armful, even though making the bouquet was a $40 budget blow-out. Sometimes you feel like splurging. (If you’re feeling frugal this week, plan ahead: white Picotee Anemone Seeds and Black Anemone Seeds both are available for $5 per ten seeds from Winter Woods.)
I chose eight black and white anemones and a stem of white lilac, a stem of the bright green mist, and a stem of delicate astrantia to round things out.
I used a black and white West Elm Enamelware Tumbler ($24 for a set of four) to display my small bundle.
A few stones added to the bottom of the tumbler helped weigh down the lightweight cup and served as anchors for my stems. For similar stones, consider a 2.25-pound back of Black River Stones; $1.95 from CB2.
Because the mouth of my tumbler was wide, I wrapped my stems in a bit of ribbon to keep the bouquet’s shape and prevent the stems from splaying too wildly. To make my bouquet appear full and lush, I decided to cut all my stems so that the lowest blossoms were just high enough to hug the lip of the tumbler. A five-yard roll of 5/8-inch-wide black-and-white French Check Ribbon is $15 from Over the Moon.
Finding anemones in a florist’s cooler can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In the cold, anemones close themselves up, hiding their dark centers. Once out of the cooler and added to a vase of just barely lukewarm water, the petals fly open, revealing the deep purply black center.
At several dollars per stem, anemones aren’t the most affordable flower (unless you start them from seed), but I think they pack an impressive punch. By wrapping my small bundle in string, I created an arrangement that used fewer stems but didn’t look leggy or sparse.
Considering a floral arrangement? See Homegrown Flower Arranging With Sarah Raven and DIY: The Ultimate Disguise for a Plastic Pot of Grape Hyacinths.
N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published March 26, 2013 during our Belgium and Beyond week.