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Gardening & More: Making mini flower creations

LITTLE GEMS — A bullet casing is the container for the miniature floral design pictured.
SPRINGVILLE — If you hunt, or know someone who does, you can utilize old bullet casings as containers for miniature flower arrangements.

That is just one of many ideas that I picked up, this spring, at an exhibit at the National Garden Clubs convention, held in Buffalo.

Carolyn Doerflein, National Garden Clubs accredited master flower show judge, created the exhibit, with lots of information about creating miniature floral designs.

Miniature flower arrangements in flower shows cannot exceed 5 inches in any direction and the rule is sometimes set at 3 inches. At home, you can make your arrangement any size you want.

Use a miniature floral arrangement in a shadow box, a small bathroom, on a breakfast tray, on a windowsill or on any small shelf. Use individual, miniature designs to coordinate with a centerpiece on the dinner table.

Be creative, when it comes to the containers you use. You can use silver or brass, dull or shiny bullets. To make the casing more stable, attach a metal washer to the bottom, using Liquid Nails® or Gorilla Glue®. Add twisted wire, for a decorative touch.

Doerflein also demonstrated miniature flower arrangements, created in a polymer clay vase. Make the vase in any size, shape and color you like. Use nail polish on the inside and outside, to seal it.

Even a small seashell can be a container. Glue a flat button on the bottom, to make it more stable.

OH SO PRETTY — A twisted wire is added as an accent. Maple seed “helicopters” add interest to this floral arrangement, created in a sea shell.
Other container ideas include lipstick tubes, doll house and miniature house accessories, trinket boxes, plumbing and electrical connectors, jewelry pieces and findings, wooden spools, drawer pulls and knobs, salt shakers and cellars, corks, egg cups, ink wells, nuts and bolts, stiffened fabric, incense burners, toothpick holders, thimbles, beads, napkin rings, small caps and lids, small toys, perfume bottles and jam dishes.

Containers this size are also a brilliant solution to the problem of where to display children’s bouquets. Those little flower arrangements are often quite stubby, because little children don’t know, yet, that you are supposed to pick the stem along with the flower.

Other than the flowers your kids pick, what could you put in a container that tiny?

Many large plants have small parts.

A huge grapevine has tiny tendrils and a large boxwood or barberry shrub has small leaves.

A 50-foot maple tree has small seeds in a cool package. I call those helicopters, or “whirligigs.”

An allium flower might be a large ball, but you can pull the flower apart and use the individual florets.

Look at flower buds, house plants, potpourri, grasses, seed pods, pine needles, cones, sedum, succulents and plants with stunted growth or new growths.

Some of my favorite plants for miniature designs include baby’s breath, kalanchoe, pokeweed flowers and dwarf hostas.

Doerflein had encouraging words for people who think they might not be able to tackle floral design. Design principles are universal. How many of us have arranged furnishings in our homes or selected accessories for an outfit? “You are already a designer!” she said.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email


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