Living Arrangements

Living Arrangements

…and I’m not talking about where or with whom you live. I’m referring to arrangements of living plants that provide a touch of nature and some greenery at this bleak time of year. I’ve never been a houseplant person; to give me a houseplant is to send it to a sure and speedy end. This is something different and I think it’s a terrific idea, which came from a book called The Plant Recipe Book by Baylor Chapman, a brilliant compilation of all the ways that houseplants can be combined and “arranged” in containers in a way that is beautiful, exciting, and totally hip. Houseplants can be a little ordinary; these plantings are cool.

The object is to find a clever container and put together a carefully-chosen mix of plants that complement each other through their contrasting colors and textures. The plants are often positioned in varying directions in the planter (no straight-up-and-down, perpendicular-to-the-pot plantings here), to create an engaging and sophisticated composition. And the arrangement lasts as long as you keep watering and providing the right amount of sunlight, so in the long run it’s more economical than cut flowers.

I made two arrangements, based on the instructions in the book, which are very thorough and easy to follow. The first arrangement consists of four tiny terrarium plants gathered into a wooden bowl. And that’s it – instant happiness sitting on my desk, where seeing them every day makes it easy to remember to to mist them regularly. I love the minimalism and simplicity of it.

Living Arrangements on America's Table

The larger arrangement of dracaena, baby’s tears and a button fern are based on some of the same principles used in flower arranging – using differing heights, colors and textures to create visual interest – and I positioned them in an old pine box so that they appear to be bursting out of it at all angles, in rude good health.

Living Arrangements

If you’re feeling the need for a little green in your life, I urge you to give one of these living arrangements a try. It feels so good to have your fingers in the earth again – even with a little plant. It’s a reminder and a promise of spring!

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