Fabulous February Floral Arrangements From the Garden

Whether you’re a fan of pint-sized prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil or get a kick out of 2024 being a leap year, February is filled with occasions to celebrate - including that Phil did NOT see his shadow - which traditionally means spring is right around the corner!

Add then of course, Valentine's Day is also right around the corner.

But despite its many bright spots (including Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl, of course), February can bring on the mid-winter doldrums. It’s often blustery, blizzardy, and the sun still sets too early for many of us.  The idea of summer blossoms on the mantle or buffet table — asters and zinnias, sunflowers and daisies — fills us with melancholy and longing …

As Cher said in “Moonstruck:” Snap out of it.

With a little imagination and a trip to the garden center (or, if you’re lucky, your own yard), you can create a seasonal centerpiece that rivals warm weather displays, while also avoiding the higher prices often found at the florist this time of year.  

Sun and shadows

Tulips in a February bouquet? Yes indeed. | Vego Garden

Just as an early spring signals optimism, so do tulips. After all, their bulbs are planted in fall with trust that spring will come, making them a surefire symbol of hope. Arrange them with forced bulbs like hyacinth and paperweights in a decorative container for a quick and easy mood boost. 

Cool, cool, cool

Heart-shaped Cyclamen for a perfect February bouquet | Vego Garden

Though its delicate blooms might suggest otherwise, one of the most reliable cool-season plants is the cyclamen, which flowers fall through spring and is hardy in zones 5 through 9. And while roses may be Cupid’s go-to, not only does cyclamen come in the same intense shades of pink, white, and red (and also purple), the plant’s leaves are heart-shaped, making it a perfect choice for Valentine’s Day. For a tabletop arrangement, fill a pot with well-draining soil, pop in a few cyclamen plants then add some rosemary or basil, herbs associated with loyalty and devotion in a relationship.

Not so prim and proper

Potted primroses, a proper perfect cool-weather gift | Vego Garden

Looking for something beyond the romantic palette of pinks and reds? Consider an assortment of potted primroses, compact stunners available in a riot of colors — white, cream, yellow, orange, purple, and even blue, in addition to red and pink. Enjoy them nestled together in a low, neutral vessel now then transplant to the garden after the last hard frost. These hardy perennials, which are actually an herb, do well in zones 3-8.

Buoyant blossoms

While we’re on the topic of low vessels, nothing could be simpler than grabbing a shallow glass bowl, adding a few inches of water then floating some aromatic camellia blossoms on top. Camellias, a showy evergreen shrub, are winter season wonders, and quite fragrant in the garden from November to April. 

Blue thumbs

Okay, we’ll admit it: Even the greenest thumbs can get cold working in the winter garden. But if you are fortunate to have a few hardy bulbs and bloomers in your yard, the fixings for a fantastic floral display are just feet away. 

Pop on your mittens and clip some droopy-headed white snowdrops, radiant yellow winter aconite, lavender glory of the snow, deeper purple daffodils, and pink hellebores. They all push up through the snow and their complementary hues look great together in a simple vase.

Winter Witch Hazel looks odd, but it's unique for a fabulous February bouquet | Vego Garden

Or grab your pruners and cut branches from another eye-catching winter specimen, like winterberry, a native holly that requires both male and female plants to produce berries, winter jasmine (a viny plant that’s less fragrant that its summer counterpart), or winter witch hazel, which looks a little like it was plucked from the pages of Dr. Seuss.

Branching out

Evergreen boughs for that fabulous February bouquet | Vego Garden

No winter blossoms in your garden? No worries. Place evergreen boughs in a dish with pomegranates, apples, limes, or ornamental kale (not the leafy grocery store variety; save that for a salad) for a pop of color and contrast, then layer in some feathers left over from a craft project to add texture. Even bare branches can make an artistic statement arranged in a tall glass cylinder. 

Keeping it fresh

Like every other bouquet or floral display, the cold-loving plants in your arrangements will require a little TLC; you can’t just toss them in a vase and walk away (well, you can, but you won’t be happy with the results). Probably the most important guideline is to avoid exposing them to temperature extremes, which means avoiding placing your centerpiece in front of a drafty window or under a register where the drying effects of home heating can shorten its lifespan. Change the water often — use room temperature water to avoid shocking the stems — and add a little water soluble plant food each time. 

February may be the shortest month but that doesn’t mean you have to feel short-changed when it comes to bringing the beauty of nature inside your home. Whether you’re thinking outside the floral shop or just plain thinking outside, you can create your own arrangement in a snap — even a cold snap.

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