Be My Valentine OR ELSE: double decker heart bouquet
Valentine's Day is on the 14th and this year I've decided to love me. My husband brought me home a lovely box of chocolate truffles yesterday (he figures better too early than too late). I excitedly helped myself to pink champagne, leatherwood honey, tia maria... only to wake up the next morning with a headache to rival any cocktail-induced hangover. Poor hubby.
For a change I'm trying red Celosia and hot pink roses on split levels this year. It almost looks as if they have braces on. The Celosia bloom is very heart/organ like, so it makes a cool high-school-biology twist on traditional bouquets. I've paired them with the classic flower of romance: the rose.
'Double Decker' Heart Bouquet Recipe
10 long stemmed hot pink roses (if your roses are tight buds you may need quite few more roses to fill the hearts).
12 red celosia stems (you can use red roses if you prefer, they are easier to work with). In that case you would need about 20 long stemmed roses.
1 medium and 1 small heart shape in galvanised steel (from craft store). If unable to obtain these, you can shape your own hearts from the 2.00mm diameter wire, securing at the base with silver gaffer tape. (hardware/discount stores). Mine measure: small heart: 6" at the widest point
the small heart measures 6" (15cm) across and the medium heart 8" (20cm) across at the widest point.
small roll of galvanised steel wire 2.00mm diameter ( local hardware or discount store in hardware section) for the legs of hearts.
small roll of very fine galvanised steel wire for securing the wire 'legs'to the wire hearts.
satin pink and burgundy organza ribbons/ or of your choice.
silver gaffer tape if making your own hearts with the wire and to secure the legs together half way down if you don't have floral tape.
You'll need three 12" (30cm) lengths of the 2.00mm wire to attach to the large heart and three 17" (43cm)lengths of 2.00mm wire to attach to the small heart. You want the small heart to sit above the large heart's flowers in your bouquet, so make sure you attach the longer wires to the smaller heart.
When cutting the thicker wire, you'll need to put a bit of effort into snipping it. Measure how much you'll need and grip this point firmly with the wire cutters/pliers. Grasp the middle of the length you are cutting and rotate the wire in big circles until it snaps at the point the pliers are gripping.
Attach the a wire 'leg' to the right side, left side and base angle of each heart. Do this by winding the end of each wire on to the heart a couple of times (using your pliers). You might want to sit in front of the television (or a glass of wine) while you do this as it takes a bit of perseverance.
Once you have firmly wound the thicker wire around the attachment points on the hearts a couple of times with the pliers, use the fine wire to secure the joins in place so they don't move. This also helps to hide the lumpiness and to give it a more interesting/refined look.
Sit the small heart with its attached three legs inside the large heart so it is sitting 5" above. Tape all six legs together . Gaffer/florist tape all the way down to the bottom and tape over the end so it can't scratch anyone.
After you have finished the 'mechanics' of the flower design fetch your flowers and remove at least three quarters of the leaves off the stems (I usually take most if not all of the leaves off for a clean design). Holding the taped wire 'legs' of your hearts, start by placing the bulk of the red Celosia blooms in the bottom large heart, staying within the shape. Try to go easy with the Celosia blooms and stems as they aren't quite as robust as the roses - they are a bit like very thin rhubarb stalks.
Cut some string and firmly wind this around both the stems of celosia and the wire 'legs'. Wind three times and tie off to make your life a little easier when you start placing your roses in the top half. Just thread the roses in through the Celosia - they won't mind :)
One you've placed all your roses inside the heart shape, tie the stems off again with string, being sure to include the Celosia stems and wire 'legs' while you are winding.
Add a few extra Celosia around the inside perimeter of the lower heart to finish off your design and tie off with string for the third time, trimming the ends. Trim the stems to the same length as you wires.
Add two yummy, scrummy ribbons and tie a big trailing bow or a florists bow as described in Sunshiny Sunflowers.
Push in the top of the wire 'legs' a tiny bit so they have a gentle curve inwards.
It was such a hot day here in Sydney that as soon as I took the half open roses outside for their photo shoot they started to fully bloom. Ideally the roses should be more closed for a neater shape inside the heart.
This would make a very cute dinner table decoration if you made it as a VERY short bouquet with much shorter wires. You would need to push the stems into a shallow bowl full of floral foam/pebbles to hold the weight of the bouquet (topping the bowl up with water).
Phew - I hope the recipient is deserving of all this effort!
I think I'll go and have a lie down (and maybe eat some more choccy truffles.....).