UP ON THE ROOF
I made this bouquet at the invitation of Ellen Spector Platt, a fellow garden writer who shared her NYC rooftop bounty with me
All elements were grown by Ellen Spector Platt
on the roof of her Manhattan condominium or in the tree pits along the sidewalk by the building’s lobby
5 stems Caladium x hortulanum ‘Kathleen’
3 stems bi-color sage (Salvia officinalis ‘La Crema’)
3 stems staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Tiger Eyes’)
5 stems Genovese basil leaves and flowers (Ocimum basilicum ‘Genova’)
3 stems red-leaf Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea ‘Rose Glow’)
7 stems black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
8½-inch tall x 7-inch diameter celadon green glass
Long after I left Manhattan, Ellen redesigned the longest-lasting floral elements, using several bud vases to each display a single Caladium leaf (c) Ellen Spector Platt
Bouquet 2.0: After my visit, Ellen emailed me: “Your arrangement still looks good, but after 4 days it needed some grooming.” Here are her tips for reviving a bouquet: “Don’t try to groom it by pulling out a wilted stem, since you’ll likely take out other good stuff along with it. Instead, leave the stems where they are and reach in to snip off a single dead flower. Or, cut off the entire top of the stem, leaving the bottom in place. No one will ever know it’s there.” In this arrangement, the black-eyed Susan blooms were the first to be removed.
“By the time many of the stems start to die, I just pick out the few good ones that are left and put them in a narrow vase or bottle to wring out my last bit of enjoyment,” says this experienced floral designer. “I’m sure I’ll be left with the caladiums, looking like an entirely new design.” And sure enough, nine days after we made the original bouquet, Ellen sent me this photo of her green bud vases with the beautiful – and long-lasting – caladium leaves.