Welcome back, summer flower lovers! As you might imagine, some letters of the floral alphabet are easier than others. Like so many Scrabble players, when faced with a “q,” things can get a little dicey. Lucky for us, the gorgeous Queen Anne’s Lace is right in the pocket of the season and happens to be rather lovely. So today, “q” is for Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota, if we are getting Latin and technical).
Queen Anne’s Lace is essentially grown all over the world, although it is native to temperate regions in Europe and Asia. In the United States, you might be as likely to find it cheerfully growing on the side of a freeway as you are in a formal English garden. A perennial favorite with flower consumers who feel it epitomizes the “wildflower” look, Queen Anne’s Lace is actually a form of wild carrot root (and if you cut the stem, you may notice that it has an earthy, carrot-like smell). As with so many flowers and plants, Queen Anne’s Lace was used by ancient Greeks and in Chinese culture for medicinal purposes. The crushed seeds from the flower were thought to be an effective form of birth control. Modern studies have indicated that the seeds do appear to interfere with both progesterone synthesis and ovum implantation. The use of Queen Anne’s Lace comes with heavy warnings for practitioners — the flower looks almost identical to a highly toxic little flower called hemlock!
Queen Anne’s Lace is ideal for casual summer decorating. As seen above, you can simply gather a few stems into wine bottles and have yourself a darling element to accompany dinner, a bedside table or a window sill. But here at Flowers A–Z, we like to kick it up a notch.
Ah, the classic Ball jar (also known as a mason jar). What farm table would be complete without a Ball jar stuffed with blooms that look “just gathered” from a field? Whether you have a summer home in Lonavala or a studio apartment in Mumbai where you have to vault over the bed to get to the kitchenette, Queen Anne’s Lace in a mason jar should be your go-to.
And, there it is. Be sure to clean the stems of the blooms that will fall below the water line. Especially in a clear vase, you want to make sure the water is fresh and transparent and that there is no floating foliage. A gorgeous spray of Queen Anne’s Lace looks simply perfect when paired with a bright wildflower like cosmos. I like to cluster the cosmos throughout the sea of Queen Anne’s Lace.
Now for an arrangement with a little more heft. I selected a mustard ceramic bowl with a wide mouth; I just love the happy color of this container and will choose other vivid colors to play off the yellow. The plan is to include a variety of blooms to fill the generous space in the vessel.
I began here with some soft dusty miller. I love the gray color with the yellow and feel the stiff nature of the stems will create a nice grid structure for our arrangement. I believe the key to easy floral design is establishing a solid structure into which you can place any flower.
Once you have established your dusty miller structure, you can add any other wildflowers that appeal to you. Here, I used cosmos, zinnia, veronica, and some button-like echinacea pods. The great thing about working with Queen Anne’s Lace is that it fills in quite nicely. You can be very budget conscious and only use a select few “face” flowers, while the Queen Anne’s Lace does the remaining royal work.
Experiment by starting with masses of Queen Anne’s Lace only and then adding the other flowers as accents versus adding it at the end. You may find it easier to place blooms inside the framework of lace!
The fragile snowflake look of the Queen Anne’s Lace softens the sharp lines of the zinnia and veronica.
Whether you choose a carefree approach of simply plunking your flowers in a glass jar or spend a little time crafting a masterpiece, enjoy the summer floral season. Wildflowers are especially fabulous this time of year. Join me back here when “r” will be for . . .