Though seemingly sitting at opposite ends of the scale – with slim, tall bottles at one end and wide, round vases at the other – these types of vessels have one important thing in common: their opening is slimmer than their body. With vases like these, there’s one main rule of thumb to bear in mind: the wider the body, the more you can fit in.
Skinny-bodied and narrow-necked bottle vases (the Castlefords are the obvious example here, but Beswick, Whitton and even Dulwich all fit into this category too) can be especially tricky to arrange in – if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a very upright, tightly-bunched and rigid bundle of flowers. Not overfilling your vase is the simplest solution to that. We think that they look best with just one or two tall stems inside. Choose architectural, statement pieces, ideally with a bit of bend so they don’t just stick straight up, like a eucalyptus stem or a very stately delphinium flower. In fact, where these vases really come into their own is when you have a tall stem or branch that, in a wider-necked vase, would simply topple out.
Fatter-bodied but still narrow-necked vases (like Alconbury, Charlton and Whitton, and the shorter versions of Dulwich, Thursfield and Ellingham) on the other hand, give you more room to play with because you can angle the stems inside the vase so they splay out to the sides. Just as your approach with the bottles was to continue the tall and slim theme through to your arrangement, the same principle goes for these vases: whatever stems you use inside, just make sure that the final arrangement balances the width of the vessel. Traditional hand-tied bouquets, where the stems are all gathered tightly in the hand with the ends and tops splaying out generously, are perfect. These vases can also look great with just one or two statement stems too though, especially when, like Alconbury, they have an interesting texture or design themselves.
And if you’re thinking of creating a terrarium inside a vase? Look no further than the round Charlton – the perfect fish-bowl-like container for a carefully-arranged collection of succulents. Maybe skip the boat in a Castleford bottle though.