Book to Know: 'Bringing Nature Home'

Celebrate the beauty of character this Earth Day by bringing it to the house. A 2012 publication, Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature, by Ngoc Minh Ngo (Rizzoli New York), provides page after page of inspiration on how to do so. The arrangements she photographed “strive to capture the organic gestures of blossoms and plants.” A number of the more fascinating photos of Ngoc are those of cut branches. While flower arrangements often steal the show, cut branches have a simple, elegant look which has a lot of modern allure. If you’re blessed with an abundant garden, all you will need is a sharp pair of shears and a hardy vase to get an artful botanical centerpiece. Otherwise, a good garden or flower shop can urge hot cut branches of the season.

The best way to keep cut branches fresh:
Make a 1- to 2-inch slit at the bottom of each branch and then smash the ends to keep the resin from sealing the plant off from water.Place the branches in a tub of lukewarm water for several hours. This will help acclimatize the plant into its environment.Keep them in a cool area away from bright light to avoid withering.Change the water every day.

Rizzoli New York

Arrange flowering branches within an awkward space. The sweetly flowering branches of the plum and cherry flowers are among the simplest cut branches to operate with. “The yummy plum blossomsbrightly colored in white, rose, or deep crimson, are a treasured subject of Asian paintings,” writes Ngoc. Snip several sprigs randomly varying lengths, and you have an attractive arrangement that is certain to liven up a room. The branches of those trees beg to get a larger arrangement which may fill an awkwardly vacant distance.

Hint: Because these branches practically burst with flowers, exhibit them in a simple vase. Stark vases in white, black or grey, or ones with an earthy wabi-sabi end are greatest.

Rizzoli New York

Make a sculptural arrangement. Fruit may have a sensual appeal considerably more subtle and powerful than that of flowers. Just look at a few of our most enduring myths: Eve succumbed to the apple, and Persephone into pomegranates. A vase of tapered fruit branches may give that touch of color and life a minimalist space requirements. In this case, fig branches include an earthiness into the primitive fireplace mantel ensemble. Note how the form of the branch arrangement complements the adjacent art piece.

Hint: For tall arrangements, select a vase that is half as tall as your branches.

Rizzoli New York

Mix florals with the bounty of fruit. For an extravagant screen, pair a bright, leafy plant like the kumquat with fairly accents in basic colours. Here, kumquats are “combined with paper whites, dark berries of mature English ivy, and lacy ferns to make a beautiful and fragrant bouquet.” There is another reason to bring kumquats into your house — they’re a sign of good fortune in Chinese culture and are often given as gifts during the lunar new year to bestow blessings for the next year.

Hint: Let nature be the centerpiece. Cut branch arrangements may steal the show, so be tactical in setting them. For best effect, pair them with nonbusy art that complements rather than competes with them.

Rizzoli New York

Select branches which have unexpected curves and forks. Ngoc says, “Look at a plant closely and it will show its secrets.” Plants include organic charm to ordered rooms, so take it easy on the pruning and then keep them wild. This Italian prune plum arrangement is a case in point: Its unruly twists and turns amplify the intimate ambiance of this room.

Hint: Fat, Exotic vases balance big, lush arrangements and keep them steady.

Rizzoli New York

Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature

Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature, by Ngoc Minh Ngo, $45

Ingredients of some Beautifully Wild Bouquet

Fresh-Cut Flowers for Each Room

Bring the Outside in With House Plants

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