I cut some beautiful dark purple lilacs from my garden. My book "Garden to Vase" said to harvest when 1/3 to 1/2 open. I didn't obey that rule because I had company coming over on a very rainy day and was trying to make my house welcoming. It did look nice with new candles on my table and a bowl of avacados and lemons nearby. But now that the company is gone - is there any way I can coax the flowers into opening - only one or two blossoms have opened. Also do you have a suggestion for a contrasting foliage to add to the arrangement. They are in water not foam. Thanks. FYI - I watch free videos from http://www.flowerschool.com and that has really been fun. They have a school here in Portland but can't afford the classes right now.
My book suggested I recut my lilacs and put them in deep warm water so I did that and I added some bright green foliage from my coral bark maple. I still think it would look better with a graceful weeping foliage like corkscrew willow but I don't have that available.
August - I hope that works for you. I have not been able to get lilacs to bloom where I live, so I do not have experience with them in arrangements. Hopefully someone else will chime in with advice.
Thanks for the link to the flowerschool - I'll have to take a look at their videos.
I had a corkscrew willow in an arrangement one time and it rooted. I planted temporarily in my vegetable planter and it grew to about 6-7 foot in a year. I had to remove it because it wasn't where I wanted it, and was going to transplant it somewhere else, but then it got dried out before I got around to replanting it. So, if you see any willows in an arrangement, leave them in water and they may root.
I did that once with corckscrew willow that rooted without even trying. I was so excited, but it died after reaching 6 ft. in the garden. I will try again though. Around the corner from my house there is a woman who has a particularly beautiful healthy tree(looks like at least 10 years old) and I am going to ask her for a cutting and try again. Since I don't even know this person I will have to go out of my way to start a conversation with her. BTW I used to work in La Canada (Southern California) and at Descanso Gardens they were certain varieties of Lilac that grew and bloomed. I worked for Armstrong Garden Center for 7 years before moving north. I miss of lot of flowers I used to be able to grow - but now have the pleasure of a Bing Cherry tree in my backyard and beautiful blossoms from all kinds of deciduous plants and no smog.
I have some 30' corkscrew that I grew from sticks - I wish you lived nearby, I offer it to floral shops locally they love it! I have lilacs but they put on a pitiful display this year. Perhaps I will cut a few and throw them in a vase - I like to cut the leaves off and then add a few tulips for contrast.