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Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Bouquet of the Week: Modernizing Tradition

As part of our recurring Bouquet of the Week series, Garden Collage continues to present a weekly inspirational bouquet that incorporates intriguing new elements into the traditional practice of flower arranging. This week, Garden Collage Editor-in-Chief Molly Beauchemin styles a chic Christmas bouquet that offers a modern twist on tradition. 

My earliest memory of Christmas poinsettias had something to do with the fact that my cats weren’t allowed to eat them. “We can’t have poinsettias in the house,” I recall my mother telling me somberly, “because they will poison Jasper and Muffy”.

Something that I distinctly remember thinking even as a 9-year-old was “Good: no poinsettias.” Because even as a child whose design sensibilities were not yet fully formed, there was one thing I knew for certain: poinsettias were ugly. And I didn’t want them in my house– not at Christmas or any other time. Something about the ombre red and poison ivy-like petals made me think of something toxic and sinister; I’d also seen way too many of them depicted in tacky Christmas sweaters.

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Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Still, throughout my childhood and into my young adulthood, I managed to experience my (un)fair share of poinsettias, despite my desire to avoid them. My grandmothers adorned their kitchen tables with this ubiquitous Christmas staple; neighbors put them out on their doorsteps when the weather was unseasonably warm.

I saw poinsettias in dentists’ offices and on my grade school teachers’ desks. To this day, I find the flower unattractive and– frankly– a little boring, so this week I styled GC’s “Bouquet of the Week” to honor the features and traditions of this classic Christmas bloom, modernizing the plant’s textures and colors with flowers that are unique and non-denominational.

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Photo: Andreana Bitsis

For this week’s bouquet, I paired dark green Colocasia (also known as “elephant ears”, which will make sense if you look closely at the pictures above) with large white daisies and some delightfully-furry Green Trick Dianthus. I wanted this bouquet to mimic the broad leaves and low-maintenance quality of poinsettias (this bouquet will last over a week if you change the water every day) while honoring a Yule Tide color palette that typically includes dark evergreen hues, metallic gold and silver, white, and red. Fearing I’d come too close to approximating the colors of a cheesy Christmas sweater, I opted to leave out the red and gathered all of my white and green flowers in a lovely gold Pulpo vase from the Garden Collage Shop. The results are both modern and timeless– and significantly less poisonous to cats.

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