Friday, April 5, 2013

FLOWERS A-Z: “E” IS FOR ECHEVERIA, ERYNGIUM AND EUSTOMA



Welcome back, Alphabet Florists! Just to mix it up a bit, I thought I would feature three different “e” flowers this week: echeveria (succulents), eryngium (thistle) and eustoma (lisianthus). Now, I grant you, I am bending the rules ever so slightly by using the Latin names for these relatively common blooms and plants and highlighting multiple elements in one post. But the beautiful thing is that this allows us to create a whole tablescape! First, I will spend a brief moment with each individual “e” and then on to a little “how-to,” incorporating each of them.
Echeveria (succulents)
Succulents in the echeveria genus are native to a region from Mexico to northwestern South America. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors and can survive in many climates, although they do best in dry, even drought-prone soil. As a cut plant, they are wonderful for creating spare and unusual tablescapes or even for “planting” in a terrarium. For a quick decorative accent, just place a few succulents in a simple, clear glass bowl. You can add soil and “plant” them in the bowl, and add a tuft of reindeer moss or anything that strikes your fancy. In this post, I simply selected a range of colors and shapes and placed them artfully on a ceramic tray.
Eryngium (thistle)
You may have seen me use thistle a few times here in my postings. I find it so interesting and versatile and particularly appropriate as we approach the winter months. It feels somehow like a flower that might grow in snowy Narnia! Although many people think of thistle as being unique to Scotland, some form of it can be found in just about every region of the globe. It ranges in hue from silvery gray to bright blue, and despite its “unfriendly” appearance, some species are even utilized as a vegetable! Apparently the roots and leaves of certain varieties are edible . . . BUT please do not try this at home :)

You can snip off the buds from the thistle and use them as “garnish” on a tray, as decor on a folded napkin or anywhere that suits you.
Eustoma (lisianthus)
OK, so nobody calls lisianthus “eustoma” and some people don’t even call it lisianthus — I have heard it called “Texas Bells” quite frequently. It does grow in abundance in the southern United States, as well as Mexico, northern countries in South America and the Caribbean. This is another all-purpose flower that I have used several times in prior posts; it is relatively inexpensive, lasts well and creates a lovely silhouette with its delicate bloom and wild shoots.
With a modern tablescape in mind, I placed the lisianthus and the thistle in bright, funky vases.
“Color-Blocked” Arrangement for a Modern Tablescape
As above, I chose a vase with a mid-century feel for this arrangement. I gathered a cluster of greens with dark berries to use in one “block” of the arrangement.  I cut the stems short so that the greens sit just above the neck of the vase and then moved on to the next flower.
I selected some dianthus “grass” to offset the draping greens with a more compact texture. This arrangement and this tablescape are primarily about creating visual interest with unusual textures. I wanted to juxtapose varying shapes and patterns more than focusing on color.
And just like that, we have something taking shape! You do not need to get specialty greens or flowers for this. The idea is to use something more “flowy” or draping next to something more round and compact. I also like the “spiky” greens next to the “soft” look of the dianthus. Substitute whatever is available, and have fun playing with texture.
Here is where the “color-blocking” comes in. Add a bright shock of purple lisianthus for your next section. Cluster the blooms so they really stand out. You can even give some of the tendrils a “haircut” if you feel they are distracting from your lisianthus section.
And how about some thistle for the final section? Yet another unique texture . . . careful, it can be a tad sharp!
Now you can start to play with the various elements on the table. Add the tray of succulents, group the vases and place some vases on a tray with thistle “garnish.”
How about lining them up down the center of the table?
I added a white vase of strange greens that are sometimes referred to as “Croc Fern.” I call it “space grass,” but I know that is not likely its formal moniker :) I love its ruffled texture. Substitute any fern here.

Tablescapes can be great fun if you allow yourself to experiment with different elements. My favorite thing to do is mix and match pieces I already own — vases, trays, candles, etc. — and simply add a few fresh things.
Stay tuned until next time when “f” will be for . . .

3 comments:

  1. simply gorgeous thank you! I can see a lot of effort went into making this beautiful post! I have a pot of euphorbia here in my garden - beautiful bright red flowers. Euphorbia is also used medicinally - with care.
    Thank you again.

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  2. Beautiful post! This reminded me of my mom, who is an avid gardener. I've always loved succulents. And I thought I was probably the only person in the world who thought thistles were pretty. We have lovely ones in Michigan, fatter and rounder than what you have pictured, and with a brighter, pinky-purple fluff. Nice to meet you :)

    Kaye Draper at Write Me

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  3. Hi everybody. Thank you so much for your support. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this to be such an heart warming experience reading all your comments etc especially through the A to Z Challenge . Do feel free to enjoy reading and commenting on Wilderness on http://disha-doshi.blogspot.in/ . Spread the word..and some love !

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