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Don't worry, I'm not going to bombard you with lots of strict rules and techniques. For the home, simple flower arrangements are more fitting than elaborate centrepieces with complicated wiring. I am often put off by artificial looking displays as they just don't seem right with natural flowers you have grown yourself. Your own flowers won't have ram-rod straight stems and uniform flowers but will have lots of character and scent. However, a few simple tips will make all the difference to your own creations.

Tin used as a vase for flower arranging
An interesting tin as a vase. Its wide neck means that hidden support is needed

Choice of Container
Jugs with a classic in-and-out shape have a narrow neck that will hold flowers in place easily. They are my favourite choice when arranging flowers. I have a range of sizes and colours but love simple enamel jugs. Vases or containers with wide necks need a lot of flowers to fill them and will require some form of hidden support. I love my little fig tin (above) and have used a ball of chicken wire hidden inside to support the flowers.
I don't use floral foam as it is not reusable or recyclable and some flowers, especially those with delicate stems, will flop if placed in foam. Other alternatives include creating a grid of adhesive tape across the top of a container which is hidden once filled or you can use metal flower frogs. These sit at the bottom of a vase and have stem-sized holes in them to hold flowers in place.

Sweet peas in the cutting garden
Vintage glass bottle with Sweet Peas

Small glass bottles make great containers for small bunches or for showcasing individual flowers which look great lined up. I also love using jam jars for a simple posy of flowers.

Proportion
Try to keep the height of your flowers in proportion to the vase or container you have chosen. The arrangement should be at least as tall again as the vase. If your flowers are too short, the display will look dumpy, if too tall, it will appear top-heavy.

Structure
Place your foliage and fillers into the vase first to create a structure and support for the flower stems.

Flower arranging
Small medicine bottles are ideal for displaying individual blooms

Odd numbers
Use an odd number of flowers. 3-5 stems of each type will be more pleasing to the eye than an even number and looks more natural. Grouping flowers of the same type in an arrangement, rather than dotting them throughout a display can also look more naturalistic, mimicking their growth in the garden.

Different heights
Trim your stems to different heights for a natural look. Shorter stems should sit at the edge of the vase whereas taller stems should be towards the middle. This will allow all the different flowers to be seen.

Enamel jug June
Classis enamel jug with a narrow neck

Position of vase
If your vase is going to be sitting with its back to the wall, only the front and sides will be on view so place taller stems towards the back and don't waste flowers by putting them round the back where they won't be seen. If the vase is for the middle of the table then it needs to look good from all angles. Your tallest stems should be in the middle of the arrangement with the height of flowers gradually decreasing towards to the outside of the vase.

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Forget me nots
A charming, simple display of Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots in a pale blue Dartmouth mantle vase. What could be simpler?

Once you have Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) in the garden, you will never be without them as they are prolific self-seeders. They offer a great source of Spring colour in your garden borders and are versatile in a number of Spring flower arrangements, looking great with Primroses and Anemones.

These simple pale-blue flowers have 5 petals with a yellow eye and appear from April -  June above lance-shaped, grey-green leaves. They look good edging pathways or for under-planting Spring flowering bulbs such as Tulips or Daffodils. They will thrive in sun or partial shade and look lovely at the front of a mixed, herbaceous or wildflower border.

Spring Posy
Primroses, Anemones, Grape Hyacinths and Forget-me-nots in a natural-looking arrangement

There are many stories to explain the name 'Forget-me-not'. Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking by a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but due to the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning, he threw the posy to his lady love and shouted "Forget me not." It was often worn by women as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.

Forget-me-nots en masse
A mass of Forget-me-nots nestle amongst our Autumn Raspberries

If you'd like to grow them in your borders, sow the seed directly where they are to grow in late spring or early summer. The soil should be well prepared and the seed sown thinly into shallow drills set 25 cm apart. When large enough to handle, thin the seedlings to 15cm. Maintain the soil moisture until the seeds have germinated, but avoid excessive waterlogging. Plants will flower in their second year and will self-seed freely. You can weed seedlings out where they are not wanted but you will want to grow lots of them for great arrangements throughout the Spring. I usually clear all spent plants once they are past their best and I still get lots more plants for the following year from the seed they will have produced.

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