great choices from the current crop and some tips for working with them.
• Pincushions. The spiky peach-colored ball in this photo is a leucospermum, or pincushion. These insanely gorgeous flowers proliferate in many different colors and varieties throughout the spring and early summer. They last forever (at least a week to ten days) and their form is so intricate that they're good for hours of daydreaming. • Anemones. Buy anemones (the striking dark purple bloom above) when they are closed and you'll get several days out of them for sure. This deep purple color is a personal favorite, but they also come in a vibrant red with a dark center and many other shades. Give them an angular cut so the stems can drink up lots of water.
• Ranunculus. Ranunculus (the pink flower pictured here) are similar to roses, but perhaps even more charming, and certainly more whimsical. These, too, come in a staggering range of colors; the unusual two-toned varieties are our favorites. You'll get several days out of these, as well, if you buy when the buds are tight. • Ferns. We love using ferns in flower arrangements, though they don't always hold up terribly well. The vibrant greens and feathery textures just give a bouquet such an amazing woodsy feel. Lime green shades are gorgeous for spring arrangements. • Dogwood. It's pretty early for dogwood (pink and white flower in the top photo), but we found some branches at the market the other day nevertheless. The petals look so beautiful even as they start to die, becoming crispy and parchment-like. Strip an inch or so of bark off the end of the branch to expose the capillaries to lots of water. What are your favorite spring flowers? Please share! (Images: Susie Nadler)