Over the years the way I arrange flowers has changed - I used to create elaborate mixes of flowers, with lots of greenery and different types of flowers, designed to be displayed in a beautiful vase on a side table.
Now things are much simpler, my time is more valuable and I am usually looking for something quick and effective. I find my arrangements have almost become deconstructed - the finished effect owing a lot to the nature table.
My favourite is on my bedroom windowsill - shells, fossils and stones gathered on family holidays are interspersed with old glass bottles, each with a single flower or stem in it.
Each morning, as I sit in bed and drink my morning coffee, I wonder at how they change from day to day.
Making a nature table windowsill
To make a beautiful nature table you need.
1. A surface, while I say table I actually use a low bedroom windowsill at the moment.
2. Interesting semi permanent things to create a lower storey of interesting things - this is the ideal place or all those shells, stones and bits of sea glass that get brought back from beach combing walks.
3. Small glass containers - I use old Victorian bottles which you can pick up in antique shops or have a look at www.pedlars.co.uk in the vintage section. Old perfume bottles and small jars work well too. You want a selection of different sizes.
4. Things to put in your jars - twigs, flowers, seedheads.
5. If you are feeling particularly luxe add in some nightlights to put amongst your shells.
Tips on what to pick.
Now is the ideal time to snip twigs which will gradually open out into miniature leaves and blossoms. Lots of people do to with Forsythia but you can do it with almost any tree or shrub.
Tiny bottles - old ink and medicine ones are the best - are the ideal way to show off miniature spring flowers - crocus, snowdrops, grape hyacinth.
Later in the season you can cut those tiny side shoot flowers that get lost in the garden and display them in your bottles - my absolute favourite is Cosmos.
The bottles are also brilliant for all the flowers that break or fall over in the garden, and if you don't have a garden try some buttercups or poppies which grow on wasteland (sear stems)
Over winter I have a selection of seedheads - poppies, fennel and honesty - enjoying the low sun shining through their silhouettes.
1. Try not to site your table in direct sunshine - a north faint windowsill is fine but flowers will not last as long if it is south facing.
2. When you pick twigs sear the stem ends in boiling water for 10 seconds - this seems to shock them into taking up water efficiently.
3. Check water levels in your bottles each day - spring flowers especially are terribly thirsty.
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