For years, I always admired the honeyworts (Cerinthe major var. purpurascens), but never had the opportunity to cut it for floral arrangements until self-sown colonies in an Australian friend’s garden avail themselves for this purpose. Flowering in a nearby bed was another vigorous, nearly aggressive clump of the Portuguese squill (Scilla peruviana). Both flowers had the same moody dark purple colors, and the blue green honeywort leaves lightened what could have been an oppressive combination. I added several stems of the Portuguese squill to the bucket of honeyworts. Because a close friend had asked me to do flowers for her New York wedding next year, and I decided to hone my bouquet-making skills with these two flowers. From a distance, the bouquet looks rather ordinary until you realize how unique the flowers are on close examination. I was surprised at the bouquet’s longevity – the unopened buds of the Portuguese squill continue to open, and the honeyworts retained their color.
Recently I was looking through art books and found this painting entitled ‘Nocturne’ by the Czech artist František Kupka. Having an interest in color theory, Kupka created abstract representations of color for impact since the colors, once disassociated with specific objects, acquired more figurative significance. Dabs of blues, blacks, and purples create a strong impression of darkness in ‘Nocturne’. Unconsciously, I had echoed these spectral colors in the bouquet of honeyworts and scillas.