At this fickle time of year, when nature lures us with the promise of warmth to come, can’t we all use a little extra sunshine to brighten our tables?
One happy word: daffodils. They are everywhere — at farmers markets, in florist shops, even at the grocery, smiling beguilingly, charming us to invite them for dinner or brunch.
Because daffodils are so budget-friendly, this is a time of year when keeping masses of fresh flowers on your table can actually be affordable. Here are some of my favorite ways to feature daffodils this spring.
1. For a modern, sleek table centerpiece, buy bulbs at your local garden store and pot them into inexpensive glasses. First, line the glasses with a little sheet moss, available at garden and craft stores. Then tuck a little soil in the bottom of the glass, add the bulb, and finish with a little more soil and a topper of moss. (Photos courtesy of William Geddes)
Tip: Buy bulbs that are just “on the break” or about to bloom, rather than those that are in full flower — they’ll last longer. If you have a long table, arrange them lengthwise. For round tables, bunch the glasses together to form an instant composition.
match coffee and tea pots. Just cut the stems so that the heads float right on top of the lid.
Tip: If your vase is short, don’t be shy about using a rubber band to hold the blooms together. It makes trimming the stems to the right height and positioning the blooms to your preference much easier.
3. To make a beautiful table accent with just one bunch of cut daffodils, place a single daffodil on each guest’s napkin. The green stem and bright lemony blossoms will add just the right “pop.”
4. If you want more visual punch for your table or buffet, tuck a bowl or two of fresh lemons next to your daffodil arrangements — so pretty!
Of course if you can’t get daffodils, you can use other seasonal bulbs. Tulips come in all colors and varieties and are readily available.
Tulip tip: If you’ll use cut tulips, make sure to let them drink for a bit before arranging them. I like to keep them wrapped in paper or plastic, with the ends of the stems exposed while they drink. This helps avoid what I like to call “droopy tulip syndrome,” which can happen if you don’t support their heads while they refresh themselves.
A word of caution: While other bulbs are very pretty, use fragrant bulbs like hyacinths and paperwhite narcissus with care around food. Their powerful perfume may overwhelm the flavors and smells. They are, however, wonderful accents in an entryway, bedroom, or bathroom.