The casual personality of honeysuckle flowers and vines is ideal for making bouquets at home. Unless you live at Buckingham Palace, flowers are an accessory, not an art piece. Stiff arrangements with each stem coerced into place are beautiful at an event, but at home flowers should appear a little less thought out. I love for my bouquets to appear as if they were simply plucked from the meadow behind my house (even if sometimes it takes much more thought and effort than that).
Read on to see how to bring honeysuckle (Lonicera) into the house:
For this arrangement, I used a simple terracotta drinking container from Spain. You could also recycle one of those French yogurt containers, or any warm-toned ceramic will do. In addition to vines of Lonicera japonica (with a few stems of L. sempervirens thrown in for contrast), I paired the honeysuckle with flowering oregano, dried grasses, and a few stems of cow parsley to add texture to the fragrant, smooth-leafed vines.
My trick for adding structure and a modern composition with wildflowers is to group contrasting ingredients like the oregano. When I place it in the vase, I place it in groups of three stems in differing heights; it helps your eye to focus. I also make sure to add longer stems of honeysuckle vines to keep the arrangement from being too compact.
Honeysuckle will last up to 10 days in the vase. Just make sure to let it sit in a big bucket of tall water for a few hours in a cool, dark place before working with the stems. It’s important for the long vines to be fully hydrated. Especially on hot summer days, as we work with cut stems of flowers, our body heat will cause the flowers to wilt, so be sure to get them a big drink for a few hours before you delve into arranging.
When you pick the vines, make sure to choose stems with buds, and with flowers that look freshly opened. If they have some wilting blossoms, simply remove them. As the arrangement ages, the flowers will either dry or slowly drop, increasing the beauty of the composition over time. Replenish the water every few days to keep it as fresh as possible. I’ve had honeysuckle arrangements in my home for up to two weeks.
See more of Chelsea’s floral arrangements: