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10. Using Hibiscus Blooms

Here are a few suggestions for displaying your hibiscus blooms. As the blooms last so well without water they are particularly useful for floral arrangements and table decoration. If the blooms are picked early before they open and placed in the crisper of the refrigerator until late afternoon, upon removal they open and last until well after midnight. Many of the modern hybrids are two day flowers and usually last regardless. Hibiscus last longer in the cooler months than they do in the heat of summer.

An uncluttered arrangement of small leaf foliage can be used to display blooms either in a vase or in a flat bowl arrangement. The stems of the flowers can be put into drinking straws or broken off close to the flower, and wire put into them. These are then arranged in a vase of greenery. For a flat arrangement just use foliage that has a trailing appearance (e.g. ivy), with a few blooms placed on it. It only takes a few minutes to change the flowers each day and the base arrangement of foliage will last at least a week.

A piece of driftwood, a little greenery, two or three blooms added and it will look very attractive.

Another easy arrangement is made by putting some small mesh wire netting over a bowl. A few colourful leaves such as crotons, acalyphas, or aucubas etc. are then used to cover the wire, and hibiscus flowers of several colours are placed over these.

If time does not allow you to make an arrangement, just cover a large plate with hibiscus; an oval plate does seem to be best for them, but any plate or tray, large or small can be used. Floating the blooms in water also creates a fascinating effect.

For your table at Christmas the following arrangement may be of use. Use a medium size blue, green or yellow bowl, with a red candle in the middle: plasticine will hold it, but be sure the bowl is completely dry or it will not stick. Use some tinsel Christmas decoration to trail over the edge of the bowl, and place hibiscus blooms around the base of the candle. Yellow with blue or green looks good, or you could use red blooms in a yellow bowl with a green candle. Just try various colour combinations. Why not make a totem pole? You need a piece of fairly large bamboo; a piece 5 8 cm (2 3 in) in diameter is best with a length of 90 - 120 cm (3 - 4 ft). Set this in plaster of Paris in a 15 cm (6 in) pot or similar container, and drill holes in the bamboo at random, slanting them down for best results. Put your hibiscus all over the bamboo, and around the base. This looks very attractive and can be placed in a corner of a lounge room, or in a hallway, where it is bound to be very much admired. Another suggestion is to use 5 cm (2 in) bamboo about 60 cm (2 ft) long with a wire loop in one end. Drill holes at random all over, cover with flowers and hang from the ceiling or lean against a wall. Use large bamboo, 60 cm (2 ft) long, split in halves lengthwise, as a hanging trough for hibiscus and trailing greenery. The hibiscus blooms can always be kept in place by using straight pins. The trough could have a small piece of bamboo nailed across underneath each end and then be stood on a table or window ledge. The trough is then filled with leaves and flowers.

Cut a small branch of interesting shape from a common or rough skinned lemon tree. Remove all foliage and allow to dry. Set branches in suitable ornamental receptacle using plaster of Paris. Place hibiscus on thorns for desired effect. A piece of wild cactus could also be used. Slender pieces of coconut palm fibres, strong enough to support a bloom but fragile enough to bend and sway, are set in damp sand in ornamental vases or pots. A bloom is inserted on each fibre until the desired effect is obtained.

Cut a piece from a banana tree about 60 cm (2 ft) long. Insert coconut palm fibre or florist's wire into the fleshy stem of the banana tree at about a 45 angle.. Place blooms on ends of fibres and wires.

Arrange hibiscus blooms in a small fruit basket with a low handle and add hibiscus leaves or other greenery.

Use a bowl with a pinpoint holder. Arrange pandanus leaves (common screwpine) in a semicircle and cluster hibiscus at base; shades of orange and yellow are recommended.

A floral arrangement of blooms

Use large flat leaves such as monstera, strelitzia (bird of paradise), small banana etc. to form complete arrangements.

Bank hibiscus blooms around candle holders, punch bowls, or wedding cakes. Submerge in water in a large or small container.

Use as individual place corsages or with trailing vines such as ivy, grape ivy, asparagus fern etc. along a luncheon, dinner or banquet table.

Use double reds as `heart' centrepieces for Valentine's Day.

Use pale pinks and whites with fern for bridal events.

Use deep reds with red and yellow croton leaves. Use with fruit in tropical fruit arrangements.

Fill back to back conch shells with hibiscus and palmetto.

We hope that you think up some more different ways of displaying your hibiscus.

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