Now that we’ve covered some flower basics and touched on some selective flower meanings it’s time to talk about making them look pretty sitting on your table, desk or counter–more than just being dumped in any old vase.
It’s great to have a selection of vases around for that unexpected bouquet–even if you’re just picking some up for yourself (I used to do that all the time and think I’ll get back in the habit, again). Of course you save the ones you get with birthday arrangements, Valentine’s gifts and the rest (you do, don’t you?) but what else can you use for a vase?
- Wine bottles
- Tea Cups or Mugs
- Small buckets
- Canning jars
- Test Tubes (with a holder)
- Toothbrush holders
- Pen caddies–
Pretty much anything that can hold water can hold a flower or two, too!
An odd number of stems, of colors or heights will add to the visual composition of your arrangement. Why? Well, with even items it’s just too easy for them to hive off in either direction or look boxy. An even number gives you a focal point which the other flowers can cluster around. In other words: Embrace Oddity!
Think about the classic 3-rose bouquet you find in any florist’s reach-in. They may be all the same color and size but they are usually at 2 or 3 heights to make it look nicer–you get to see that there are three separate flowers and each has room to bloom. A larger bouquet of all the same flowers works the same way: by trimming the stems to different lengths and then angling them within the vase we get a nice domed or semi-circle shape that lets all flowers be seen and looks great from all angles. This is especially good for centerpieces.
But enough abstracts, let’s use a real-time example:
- Pick a container that will easily hold your flowers–I’ve picked up a small vase and had to start all over when all the stems wouldn’t fit, so dropping them all in to see how they look is totally okay.
- Fill half to 3/4 full with fresh water and whatever flower food you have available.
- Select one flower to be your focal point. Decide whether it will go in the center or to one side. Trim it to the best height for your vase.
- Looking at the rest of your flowers, decide which ones should go around the focal flower first and trim them just shorter than the first flower, enough that the petals sit just below each other. This choice can be made from a color point of view or size–it’s usually best to start large and work your way down to smaller, but there are always exceptions to every rule.
- Place each set of flowers into the vase, sorta weaving them stems around one another to keep each layer in place. Use corners or edges to your advantage to angle a flower in the direction you want it to go instead of letting it float around.
It’s really just that simple.
There are a number of floral helpers out there and many you can replicate at home.
Oasis is a (usually) green foamy material that soaks up tons of water and you can stick your flowers into it to keep them in a very specific arrangement. This usually gets used in an opaque or covered container since it’s not very pretty to look at.
Floppy stems are sometimes a problem, especially with sunflowers and very full roses. I don’t see wires used as much, these days, instead I’m seeing more plastic tubes on the upper section of stem as additional support. Clear drinking straws can be used in their place for all but the thickest of stems; either slide it on from the bottom or make a slit along the length of the straw and wrap it around the side like a neck brace.
Frogs aren’t just for your garden! Some are made to go in the bottom of your vase and have little spaces that help hold your flowers in place and some are more like lids or inserts that fit just inside the top of your vase and provide a grid in which to place your flowers so they don’t slide to one side or another. These are great for simple, streamlined arrangements like tulips in an oblong vase or something. In a pinch, though, you can replicate it with clear tape laid out in a grid across your vase–just leave enough space for the stems to fit between the tape!
Sand, glass beads and rocks can also help keep your flowers in place.
If you use something less than attractive inside your vase, it’s not a bad idea to take some fabric, wrapping paper or tissue and wrap it around the vase to pretty it up.
Go forth, arrange! Fill your house with flowers in pretty containers and brighten up your space. Have fun!