Alex Briggs, Flowers, How To

Sure to bring a smile to just about any face, fresh flowers remain one of nature’s most beautiful gifts. Whether someone you know needs a day-brightener or you just want to add life, color and beauty to your home, a few tips for creating fresh flower arrangements can help you enhance your own little corner of the world.

Flower Arranging

1. Choose an Appropriate Vessel

Vessel is a good word because just thinking about the typical floral shop vase can be limiting. Simple glasses, bowls, urns and jars can do a beautiful and unique job of holding your arrangement. A good tip is to choose a vessel with a smaller opening and a wider base so that the stems have room to spread out, resulting in a fuller arrangement above. For example, if using a quart mason jar, choose a small-mouth version over a wide-mouth version.

If your vessel is not transparent, loosely ball up some chicken wire in the bottom before adding water and flowers. This allows for a more loosely gathered and natural look for your arrangement.

If your arrangement will be a table centerpiece, consider making it somewhat tall so that conversation can happen around it or short so that conversation can happen above it.

2. Select Flowers that Make You Smile

Picking up a bunch of flowers from a grocery store is fine, but picking something that you personally enjoy and find beautiful will make your arrangement extra special. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Fresh Market tend to have high quality and interesting floral options. You can select a mixed bunch or choose several smaller bunches that strike your fancy. Keep in mind the size of your vessel as you buy as well as variety of size and style of flower. A little really goes a long way, especially when you follow tip number three below.

Flower Arrangement

3. Search for Additional Flowers and Greenery

Why purchase greenery when you probably have some beautiful things in your own backyard? Of course, the time of year and location will play a factor, but magnolia, evergreen and many other varieties are beautiful all year round. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a yard with flowers and greenery, ask friends, neighbors or relatives if you can come and clip a few things from their yard for your arrangement. Most people will gladly allow you to do so. Be sure to clip a little more than you think you’ll need and to keep the stems fairly long. You can always cut them down if needed.

4. Remove All Leaves Below the Waterline

When you begin your arrangement, fill your vessel ¾ up with water and don’t allow any leaves to fall below that line. Doing so causes bacteria to form more quickly, shortening the life span of your arrangement. Feel free to put in the packet of cut flower food as well. Continue to add flowers and greenery to your arrangement, keeping in mind that you want different heights, types of flowers and multiple colors spread throughout the arrangement. If you don’t like the result, take everything out and start over again. Rather than getting frustrated, think of the process as a sort of therapy as you work with something beautiful that will be enjoyed by many.

5. Add a Signature Touch

Especially if you’re giving the flowers away, it’s nice to add a personal touch such as a lovely ribbon or handwritten card. Sometimes, you find a beautiful item that you would like to include in an arrangement such as a couple of sprigs of curly willow, some fall leaves or an ornamental butterfly. Even adding a brooch to the center of a ribbon or some sparkly sticks can show that you’ve contributed your own unique style to the arrangement.

Flowers are a gift of nature that have so much to offer, and learning to create more beautiful arrangements is within the reach of most people. The artistry of floral design is truly something to be enjoyed by its creator and shared with others.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Park Avenue Floratique. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and hiking.

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