DIY Ideas for Decorating with Late Summer Flowers

Spring gets all the floral glory, but late summer in New Hampshire brings its own bounty of blooms to makes homes brighter as the days grow shorter.

Gardening has its rewards, and sometimes not. If your plot of land doesn’t yield a field of colorful blossoms or if you don’t have the time to tend it, you will be “worry free” in the floral arena in these fading summer weeks. New Hampshire is dotted with little country farms with rows and rows of perfect flowers that you can go and pick at your own leisure. Even better, vendors at local farmers markets have pre-made bouquets that can be purchased for just a few dollars to create your own vase arrangements at home. To help you cope with the abundance, we asked master decorator Matthew Mead of Concord to reveal some of his favorite tips for keeping things colorful with nature’s best late bloomers.

Top end-of-summer offerings include: zinnia blossoms in an array of colors from green to hot pink, yellow black-eyed Susans and sunflowers, purple asters, pink cosmos, orange dahlias and hydrangea in blue, white and pink. With a bounty of pre-bundled bouquets and selections you can snip yourself, there is no reason not to fill your home with flowers and maybe take just a bit of the credit for nature’s bumper crop.

Cutting Your Own

Cutting flowers in the garden is easy, but there are a few good rules to follow:

  • You will need sharp scissors or garden snips.
  • Bring a flower bucket or pail for your selections as well as a couple of gallons of water to fill your container. Many times the farm will have a hose or cold-water spigot.
  • Pick your flowers early in the morning or late in the day near sunset. The heat of the day often zaps flowers of their hydration and causes them to wilt.
  • Cut flower stems on a 45-degree angle right above or below leaf growth.
  • If the stems are woody like a hydrangea or lilac, then crush the end of the stems with a hammer to allow the bloom to drink up as much water as possible.
  • Tips for long-lasting arrangements: Extend the life of your floral arrangements by using clean vases and change the water every two days. For regular blooms, add one or two regular aspirin or two copper pennies to the water. These elements add nutrients to the water that feed the flowers. For woody-stemmed botanicals, add two parts seltzer water to one part fresh water to extend the life of the blooms.


Make a Centerpiece

Let your blooms create decorative details on your dining table
for enchanting table settings and presentation pieces.

Monochromatic Arrangements

An easy way to create a spectacular arrangement is to use a collection of similarly hued flowers. A yellow pitcher holds a mix of jaunty blooms matched to the color of the pitcher. This style of arrangement looks lovely on bedside table or on a windowsill. A yellow vintage planter made of glass quietly contains a profusion of rudbeckia, more commonly known as black-eyed Susans.

Muffin Tin Arrangements

Keep a coffee table arrangement simple and foolproof by placing a mix of cut blossoms in the tray wells. Paint the container any color you like and fill with water. Blossoms could include zinnias, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers, asters and chrysanthemums. 

Hanging Glass Jar with Zinnias

Zinnias grow in rows and look beautiful arranged in colorful profusions. Colors range from orange and yellow all the way to pink and even green. Tie twine around a wide-mouthed glass jar and hang from a door knob, window lock or door knocker.

Botanical Ice Tray

Serve up ice cold drinks or sweet ice cream desserts on this
botanical tray made with flowers and frozen water.
You will need:
5" x 8" baking tray, flower blossoms, water, freezer
Place cut blossom heads face down in baking dish. Add water to just barely cover backs of blossoms. Freeze for four hours. Add more cold water to fill tray. Freeze overnight. Remove ice from tray before serving (run lukewarm water over back of tray and gently release ice from dish). Place on a platter with a one-inch depth. Arrange with drinks or frozen desserts in decorative dishes. Serve immediately.

Linen Napkin with Blossom

Dress up each napkin with a fresh flower.
You will need: rolled dinner napkins, rubber bands,fresh zinnia blossoms
Roll napkin and sleeve with rubber band. Place blossom stem under the rubber band.
Place on table setting an hour before gathering.

Colorful Mix Bouquet

Create a riot of colors in a simple bucket bouquet.
Use an old bucket or painted watering can to create a lush and colorful bouquet perfect for an entry table or buffet sideboard. You can purchase a mixed bouquet already arranged and simply place it directly in a water-filled container. Or make your own bouquet. Simply start with a single central blossoms and add additional blossoms around it at varying heights. Tie off the bouquet with twine or a rubber band and display in a water-filled container. 

Cosmos with Place Card

Make a floral statement for each guest’s name.

You will need: egg cups, cosmos blossoms, paper place cards and a marker.
Fill egg cups with water. Place cosmos blossom in cup.
Place tag with name written on it amongst blossoms.

Blooming with Ideas

Get creative with your selection of cut flowers. There is an array of ways and vases to hold your blooms. Try scouring flea markets and thrift stores for interesting containers, which will often inspire the arrangements. 

Local Pick-Your-Own Farms

These 25 farms, spread over several New Hampshire counties, offer fields of fresh flowers for picking. They will provide scissors for cutting, but pack your own cutting tool and buckets of fresh water for best results. Best picking is July through mid-September. Call for picking times and variety availability. 

Apple Hill Farm
(603) 224 8862

Brookdale Fruit Farm
(603) 465-2240

Barrett Hill Farm
(603) 878-4022

Beans & Greens Farm
(603) 293-2853

Blue Moon Berry Farm
(603) 456-3144

Blueberry Bay Farm
(603) 580-1612

Butternut Farm
(603) 335-4705

Carter Hill Orchard
(603) 225-2625

Heron Pond Farm
South Hampton
(603) 394-0129

The Garden Party Cut Flower Farm
(603) 249-9809

Hillside Springs Farm and CSA Garden
(603) 399-7288

Lull Farm
Hollis and Milford
(603) 465-7079

Milk & Honey Farm
(603) 715-1215

Milkcan Corner Farm
(603) 648.2268

Nelson Farms
(603) 664-5151

Ridge Runner’s Farm
New Durham
(603) 859-7840

Riverview Farm
(603) 298-8519

Rosaly’s Garden and Farmstand
(603) 924-7774

Saltbox Farm
(603) 436-7978

Shirley Farm
(603) 497-4727

Someday Farm
(603) 783-9436

Spring Ledge Farm
New London
(603) 526-6253     

Sullivan Farm
(603) 595-4560

Surowiec Farm
(603) 286-4069

Two Sisters Garlic
(603) 783-4287

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