The Chinese have long had an appreciation for nature and flower arranging has been considered an art form for centuries. Mom and I had the pleasure of attending a course in this ancient practice during her visit to Shanghai. The day’s lesson focused on the construction of a “bird’s nest” base for an arrangement of beautiful pink and white peonies. To begin, the floral designer showed us how to bend and secure twigs into a nest-like structure that would act as our vase. This proved much more difficult than it sounds.
To lengthen the life of the beautiful blossoms, we wrapped a pre-soaked green foam brick in cling wrap and secured it with wire. We then covered our brick with a white nest-like material and placed it into the frame we’d just built.
Once our nests were prepared, the designer explained how to trim the flower stems and secure them in the brick. I made the careless mistake of pushing one of my stems all the way through the wet brick, puncturing the protective cling wrap so that it slowly started to leak. As we worked, the designer recommended we spin our nests around as we worked so that no one side looked better than another. She told us that the key to creating a beautiful arrangement was to vary the height of the flowers.
I succeeded in making a lovely floral nest, if I do say so myself. The flowers wilted after only one day as all the water leaked out of the hole in the bottom of my brick, but it sure was pretty while it lasted!