Five ways to use blossom to decorate your Easter table

Branches of blossom look good simply on their own – you don't have to add anything else for impact, says Johansson
Branches of blossom look good simply on their own – you don't have to add anything else for impact, says Johansson - Getty

Thanks to recent weather conditions, it’s going to be a bumper year for spring blossom. According to the National Trust, the warm start to the spring has allowed trees to avoid the petal damage that occurs during cold snaps and frosts, so although some trees started blooming weeks early, their displays are expected to last longer than usual.

Arranging branches of blossom in the home has become something of a floral styling trend in recent years, the ethereal flowers in white and pale pink bringing a dose of delicate colour before the more vibrant tulips and roses arrive. It’s also an uplifting signal of the start of spring, and the promise of what is to come: as Therese Johansson, Head of Floristry at Petersham Nurseries, puts it: “Blossom represents new beginnings and growth. It’s the sign of the start of a new cycle – after all, a fruit tree produces fruit only after it has blossomed.”

If you’re inspired to try a blossom arrangement at home, whether with branches pruned from a tree in the garden or sourced from a florist, here are some expert tips to bear in mind.

What to look for

Johansson likes working with blackthorn blossom, which has tiny white flowers, and hawthorn, also with white flowers, which blooms later in the spring.

For special occasions you can suspend blossom over your dining table using ceiling hooks and wire
For special occasions you can suspend blossom over your dining table using ceiling hooks and wire - Petersham Nurseries

“The blossom that we really want for our homes when we first start to see it is magnolia, with its pink and white creamy flowers,” she says. “That’s what dazzles when you see it against the blue sky on a clear day. Then we start to see the cherry, apple, pear and plum.” A particular favourite of hers is the cherry tree Prunus “Pink Perfection”: “It explodes with fluffy blossom, and emerald green foliage emerges later on.”

Her advice is to look for branches in bud: “It explodes to life when brought inside, and I think it’s that transformation in front of our eyes that makes it so special. The blossom becomes so abundant.”

How to prep the branches

Remove any buds further down the branch that will be below the water level in the vase, as they will rot and add bacteria to the water. Cut the bottom of the stem on the diagonal using sharp secateurs, to maximise the surface area at the base of the stem and allow it to take in as much water as possible.

No other conditioning is needed: “I don’t sear the stems in hot water first; they are quite happy just to be put into cold water,” notes Johansson.

Ways to style it

Less is more

Blossom looks its best when arranged simply, says Johansson. “It looks so good on its own. If you’ve been doing some spring cleaning or decluttering, what you want to see is a clean glass vase with some tall stems of blossom; it elevates the whole room. Just a couple of branches can make so much impact. The height that it can bring is very special. If you have any tall vases, that’s a good way of showing it off.”

A blossom branch in the early stages of blooming could last for up to two weeks in a vase, says Johansson
A blossom branch in the early stages of blooming could last for up to two weeks in a vase, says Johansson - Getty Images

Unique shapes

Look for branches that twist in interesting ways to bring some movement to the arrangement.

Accessorise lightly

Johansson advises sticking to one type of blossom per vase, but if you want to add a little extra to your display, she suggests mixing in some greenery, catkins or pussy willow. She also likes to add in a few French tulips in pink, peach or coral red, which will continue growing in the vase and work their way into the arrangement. “You can experiment with adding other flowers too,” she says, “such as tall stems of fritillaria.”

Contrast the light pink blossom with tulips in a darker shade
Contrast light pink blossom with tulips in a darker shade - Petersham Nurseries
Some greenery will add a freshness to your arrangement
Some greenery will add freshness to your arrangement - Petersham Nurseries

Don’t waste

Put any smaller offcuts of branches with just a few blossoms attached in individual bud vases and dot them around the dining table, on a bedside table, or along a mantelpiece.

A stunning centrepiece

For a special occasion, a branch of blossom suspended from the ceiling over the dining table using ceiling hooks and fishing wire looks spectacular; but remember that the blossom will die very quickly once it’s out of water.

How to make the blossom last

A blossom branch in the early stages of blooming, with tightly curled flowers and buds, could last for up to two weeks in a vase, says Johansson. Place the stems in a very clean vase with fresh water, and refill the vase every couple of days to avoid build-up of bacteria, which will speed up decay. Re-cut the bottoms of the branches when you change the water, and keep the vases away from heat sources.

“There’s no need to put anything in the water,” she adds. “You want to keep it as natural and free from chemicals as possible; just don’t be lazy, and change that water!”

Visit Petersham Nurseries’  website for more information on floral-styling workshops 

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