Ask Ella: Using Acacia’s Bright Color
Ask Ella is a recurring Garden Collage feature where we ask our in-house florist, Ella Stavonsky, about floral design– including the history of, origin, and maintenance that goes into some of the most intriguing flowers on the market today. This column is dedicated exclusively to common and rare varieties of flowers you’re likely to find at your local market. This week, we spotlight acacia, a wild, sprawling genus of plants that add woody rusticity to any arrangement.
Acacia (a sprawling genus that encompasses everything from cypress pines to eucalyptus) is truly a unique addition to bouquets; while billy buttons have a similarly bright yellow color, they don’t have the volume and textural vim of acacia. Known adorably as “wattles” in Australia, acacia grows as shrubs and trees, and is native to Australia and Africa. The plant has become a popular garden staple for its fluffy yellow color, and is especially popular in France.
Of course, acacia’s charming yellow color can also make it tricky to incorporate into arrangements, where it tends to overpower and clash with even subtle hues. It is a show-stopper, to be sure– but not always in a good way.
Our advice? Don’t shy away from acacia’s color; embrace it. “Spring colors– anything in season the same time as acacia– will work,” Ella advises. With that in mind, build a wild bouquet that pulls from all over the spectrum and opt for warmer hues. Also, remember to use acacia sparingly; the more varied and diverse the flowers, the less acacia will seem out of place. Acacia is especially useful anywhere that looks a little bare, or around the outside to give the appearance of a fuller arrangement. And if you’re still nervous about mixing acacia in to an arrangement, a few stems in a vintage glass bottle are unfailingly charming.
Unfortunately, like the season it emulates, acacia’s life is all too brief. “They are delicate, and dry fast,” Ella warns. “They usually don’t last more than a week.”
With that in mind, gather up as much as you can!