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Rethinking Honeysuckle: Casual Vines for Charming Arrangements

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Rethinking Honeysuckle: Casual Vines for Charming Arrangements

August 3, 2018

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:

Flowers and styling by Chelsea Fuss. Photography by Sanda Vuckovic Pagaimo.

A fragrant meadow arrangement of honeysuckle, dried grasses, wild flowering oregano, and cow parsley adds a bit of green to a whitewashed room.
Above: A fragrant meadow arrangement of honeysuckle, dried grasses, wild flowering oregano, and cow parsley adds a bit of green to a whitewashed room.

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.

Honeysuckle adds warm tones and a subtle, not overpowering fragrance to a room.
Above: Honeysuckle adds warm tones and a subtle, not overpowering fragrance to a room.

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.

Condition honeysuckle in a lot of water (particularly long vines) to make sure they are fully hydrated before you work with them.
Above: Condition honeysuckle in a lot of water (particularly long vines) to make sure they are fully hydrated before you work with them.

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.

Use different tall stems of dried grasses to bring lots of height and space to the arrangement, without bringing extra weight.
Above: Use different tall stems of dried grasses to bring lots of height and space to the arrangement, without bringing extra weight.

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.

Honeysuckle makes long-lasting arrangements.
Above: Honeysuckle makes long-lasting arrangements.

See more of Chelsea’s floral arrangements:

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