Sometimes we use terms of endearment without even realizing we are adopting them as nicknames for loved ones. I have called my boys Scoot and Peanut for ages. Today, I still opt for those endearing names although my sons are now transitioning into adulthood. What can I say? I cannot help myself. They will always be my sweet little ones.
My passion for flowers and the profusion of beauty that spreads throughout a garden makes me understand their connections to affection. Sweet Pea. Sugar. Honey. These words evoke enticing flavor. These words evoke a treat, something to be enjoyed. These words evoke joy.
Especially throughout the summer—when all things garden seemingly delight in full splendor—flower arranging carves much time out of my daily Outlook calendar. And lately, I’ve found a special fondness for ranunculus, also known as buttercups—another term of endearment that befits floral bliss.
Ranunculus are commonly lost in the shadows of their more popular garden cousins. Roses steal the spot when the idea is to emote love. Peonies in the garden tease with sweet, intoxicating fragrance that only lasts for a week and leaves me with a yearning for their return 51 weeks later. Even other bulb flowers like tulips and daffodils give ranunculus, also bulbs that require fall planting, no chance at the top position on the pedestal. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of space in the vase.
The tight heads of ranunculus layer petals in perfect concentric circles. And it’s true. Their forms do in fact, mimic some varieties of roses. I oftentimes find myself looking twice at the market to make sure I’m buying what I intended. And chances are, you might need to as well.
Ranunculus are to be celebrated. For my latest exercise in arranging, I turned to the bright-colored beauties and a collection of white vases for a little ranunculus glamour.
The word “arrangement” can be intimidating when thinking about flowers. The pros manage it in such an artful manner. Sometimes it’s like a still life portrait. Other times it’s like a modern sculpture. So, for my first look, I took the guesswork out of the texture and balance required for a masterful floral mix. Instead, I relied on an assembly of white vases to navigate the direction of the presentation.
A single ranunculus bloom (and in some cases a second) was enough to accent these simple vessels. Each is a different height and shape. While one on its own may have been a bit ho-hum, the vases en masse imbue impact and modern pizzazz.
My second look uses ranunculus to enhance two vases that are sculptural on their own. A short but robust vase is gracefully fluted, and its small opening allows only one or two stems. A tall slim vase with organic, nubby embellishment lets the ranunculus stand in their wiry postures. The free-spirit movement of the stems references the texture of the pottery.
For my last look, I designated ranunculus as the star but let other natural beauties add to the grandeur. A round, straight-edge vase is dotted with stylish imperfection. Ranunculus of all colors—orange, yellow, white, and pink—dance among billy buttons, bells of Ireland, peach roses, and pink peonies. Full and packed with interest, the traditional arrangement is a visual treat.
Buttercup. Maybe it’s never been my first choice for a term of endearment, but its beautiful spirit makes me rethink. A thought to store in the back of my head for a pet or, someday, grandchildren. Don’t tell my sons that I said that.