Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes
Celebrate July 4th in style. Host a neighborhood get-together in the backyard. Decorate with patriotic floral displays.

Summer is a busy time. Sometimes we’re too busy cooking up a Fourth of July feast that the flowers are an afterthought. For people who are always on the go, here are some easy ideas.

Start with a round watermelon. This container will lend a festive touch to the event.

For the flowers you can buy a simple red-white-and-blue bouquet from your local supermarket, or you could choose individual flower stems from a floral shop or floral department at your favorite store. If you have a garden, you probably can cut your own fresh flowers for this project.

There are many suitable kinds of blooms. For white, my top choice is the Shasta daisy. This plant originated in America. It was bred by Luther Burbank, and was named for Mt. Shasta in California.

Other white blooms might include cosmos, mums, gladiolus, larkspur, zinnia, and eustoma-also called lisianthus.

So far as the other colors, the reds are usually sold. Look for carnations, dahlias, celosia, gerberas, and globe amaranth. Dark blue blossoms are harder to find than the others. Larkspur, veronica, and eustoma are usually available in dark shades. Sometimes ageratums can be dark enough to work.

Cut the end off the melon, and remove just enough of the center so there is room for the flowers. The melon you scoop out can go into fruit salad.

Now you’re ready to insert the flower stems into the melon. The remaining watermelon flesh should serve the same purpose as a piece of floral foam. I find it is easy to insert the stems into place. If you feel more comfortable placing a piece of foam into the melon, do so. Usually no water is needed since the melon is so juicy.

There are other ways to show your patriotism on July 4th. Instead of red, white, and blue blossoms, why not choose an appropriately colored container for your holiday bouquet? There are many tasteful ways this can be done. Use stencils to paint the stars and stripes onto a vase, jar, or other suitable container. Or enclose the whole container in patriotic wrap, either cloth, paper, or plastic.

Wooden containers would also work well if you line them with leakproof plastic. For this project a small wooden flower box would work just great. These are easy to stencil. Floral foam can be trimmed to fit into the flower box. This would make a great centerpiece for a table.

What could be more American than the native sunflower? These make great cut flowers, and are usually in ample supply by the holiday.

Create a sunflower topiary. Choose a small shallow container that won’t tip over under the weight of the sunflowers. Trim floral foam to fit into the container. Select long-stemmed sunflowers. Insert them into the wet foam, and tie the stems together at the top with a stars and stripes ribbon. As a final step, use moist moss to conceal the top of the foam.

These no-nonsense ideas should leave you with plenty of time to cook up a scrumptious holiday meal.

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