A Bouquet For the Dog(wood)


This gorgeously hammered vase was a gift from my friend Alissa. It is one of my favorite vases, and it stands in a place of prominence right at the main intersection of the house, where bedroom hallway meets living room meets dining room. This is the vase that gets filled with flowers whenever we have company over (and often when we don’t). It’s deep, and holds a lot, both flowers and water, so you need something substantial to fill it properly. In this instance, a few branches of Chinese dogwood, cut off as much for reasons of judicial pruning as for this bouquet, was a last-minute whim. We needed something to welcome JoAnn, and the peony and weigela bouquet was not quite filling out the space, so I went into the front yard, noticed the wayward branch, clipped it off and cut it down to size.

I’ve seen the American dogwood used in big hotel bouquets, the “blooms” (actually sepals) floating like butterflies on bare branches, but I wasn’t sure how well the Chinese version would take to being cut. Luckily, it took quite well to it – much better than I could have hoped, as it remains looking much like it does in these photos as of this writing (almost a week later). The best bouquets are the simplest, and it doesn’t get much simpler than two branches of dogwood. Too often people overdo it with flowers, crowding or combining when something more basic would be more beautiful. Like so much of life the adage is once again, ‘When in doubt, leave it out.’

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