A Slice of…?

c Nico de Swert

c Nico de Swert

In his 2005 book “Living with Arrangements”, Nico de Swert demonstrated a charming idea that I have used with many variations. It is basically a melon-like slice section of an orb which can be translated into various designs. You can watch Nico do arrangements for Pottery Barn on youtube – click on this link:

Make a slice: drawingMy original how-to appeared in “Christmas Balls” (see Archives, Dec. 6, 2012). In the drawing, the ‘melon’ slice is very clear. It is replaced with a slice of Oasis. The Oasis can be sealed with a piece of Press-n-Seal, which happily sticks to wet surfaces. Place a piece the Press-n-Seal along the inside cut ends to hold in the moisture. Keep the Oasis hydrated with ice cubes once a day. They will gently melt into the surface where it first dries out.

The Barns front stepLast month when buying my pumpkins, I made sure to get one with which to do this design. Last week at the Fairfield Garden Club, I demonstrated how to do make a pumpkin into a container. This ‘pumpkin’, middle of the group and probably more of a squash, had a bold yellow gold color with an amazing bumpy texture and deep ribbing.

Golden pumpkin vaseFirst cut the pumpkin. Sometimes a mallet or hammer helps get it started. The curving V-shape of the cut is apparent. Clean out the pumpkin seeds and strings.

 Fall pumpkin & OasisDepending on the size of the opening, use a piece of instant Oasis or a section of an Oasis orb as the insert. Oasis orbs come in regular sizes 3”, 4”, 6” and 8”.

 Pumpkin with shaped OasisIt is easy to do with a block of Oasis too. Using a cookie spatula, still the best thing for Oasis – thin with no drag to it, shave it to shape, allowing the height to sit slightly higher than the surface of the pumpkin. Hydrate the Oasis and place it back in the space. Toothpick skewers can hold it place if necessary.

Pumpkin stuffed for ThanksgivingAt the demonstration in Fairfield, chocolate Anthurium, bronze mums, Solidago with a reddish cast, dried yellow kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) and beech leaves were used with Galax leaves and pine sprigs.  Thanks Fairfield – we had fun!!

Susan DetjensLooking ahead past Thanksgiving (forgive me!) this can be adapted other ways for holiday designs. This is an 8” Styrofoam ball with dried pinecones, nuts and other faux botanical items. The wedge cut out contains pine and roses, plus a little spring of kiwi vine. This is where the Press-n-Seal helps keep the dried, dry, so that it can be used over and over. The whole thing sits on a decorative wood candle stand.

Susan DetjensA smaller ball of Styrofoam with Dusty Miller rests in a pretty ceramic vase of much the same color. Red ranunculus and elongated eucalyptus fill the Oasis.

Susan DetjensIn the same vein (ha ha pun intended) but much quieter, Eucalyptus with its seeds, dried tree fungus painted silver, and oak leaves with silver only on one side stand on a wonderfully textured silver vase.

Susan DetjensLast but not least, at the New York Junior League last December, I used a smaller silver vase, sweet smelling white freesia, tiny scarlet sweetheart roses and pine.


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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