Given the chance to dream up what the flowers might have looked at one of Jay Gatsby’s parties, I see lilacs. Lots of them. Spring is lumbering forward on the East Coast and with it, some of my very favorite flowers have begun to appear behind the iron fences and brick walls of my neighborhood. In whites and purples and even lovely two-toned varieties, lilac plumes are waving themselves all over this corner of Brooklyn.
For an arrangement befitting Daisy Buchanan, I stepped up and out of my comfort zone a bit. I knew that I needed to go big (a scale that the size of my diminutive apartment typically prohibits), and so I took my arranging outside.
A large branch of beautiful bridal veil spirea (also called bridal wreath spirea) seemed like the perfect backdrop to a Daisy-inspired arrangement. Heavy with white blossoms, the branches bend in way that makes them appear incredibly luxurious. I cut off the bottom of the branch with a pair of pruners but left the branch tall, knowing that I could fill in the bottom with lilac stems.
A one-gallon pot of Bridal Wreath Spirea is $7.67 from All Seasons Garden Shop via eBay.
Above: I added lilacs and smaller spirea branches one by one, sending them cascading over the lip of my vase. I worked with a silver-rimmed fluted vase that evokes the trumpet vases of the ’20s (without making the arrangement look too old-fashioned).
For a smaller arrangement, you could use an 8.5-inch-tall Silver Rim Goblet Vase; it’s $12.99 from Jamali Garden.
Above: Some white lilacs aren’t as heavily scented as the more common purple varieties, but I love the way their creamy white blossoms add a little bit of variety to a lilac arrangement.
Want to grow your own lilacs? A fragrant Scented Syringa Vulgaris ‘Beauty of Moscow’ is $29.95 from White Flower Farm.
If you’re channeling Daisy Buchanan on a budget, I think this arrangement of spirea and lilac packs a pretty grand bunch all by itself. Coming in at around $25 dollars, it’s still awfully glamorous.
But if you’re hoping to up the glamor just a bit, consider the peony. Peonies were a favorite of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, an inspiration for the fictional Daisy. I chose pale pink and blush-colored peonies that were already fully opened.
A Paeonia ‘Bowl of Cream’ (shipped for fall planting) is $33.95 from White Flower Farm.
Nestled between the lilac and the spirea, the over-sized peonies look perfectly opulent.
And there you have it, an arrangement for Daisy, or anyone hoping for a little dose of something glamorous.
Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for lilac with our Lilac: A Field Guide.
Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various shrubs and hedges with our Shrubs: A Field Guide.