Enjoy flowers indoors with perfect arrangements
By Michael Taylor
With such a cold and wet winter, I was wondering if much was going to bloom this year—especially after hearing that the bitter cold may have killed hardy plants that we have in our yards. Much to my surprise, most everything survived and has blossomed out or is blooming now.
I think many of us, especially in Midtown, love to have an eclectic mix of blooming plants in our yard, from flowers to trees. Whether you buy cut flowers at the store or bring them in from your own yard, here are a few flower-arranging tips if you would like to enjoy the spring flowers inside.
1. Size does matter. In this case, it would be the size of your container. Pick something that will suit your flower size; if you are choosing taller flowers, make sure your bouquet is taller than its container by about one and a half times. If you choose something like a teacup or smaller bowl type of container, this is not as necessary because these flowers will be more bunched around the top. Don’t be scared to use anything that will hold water to place flowers in; interesting bottles, an old urn, a mint julep cup, a mason jar, votive candle holders, a sugar mold—let your imagination be your guide.
2. Don’t worry so much about cutting them for size if you cut them directly from your yard. You can do this when you arrange them. Just make sure you quickly put them in some clean water. When it comes time to arrange them, if the blooms are tight, warm water will help them open up.
3. Use your choice of a container. I either use what we call a “frog,” which is a spiky looking flower arranger that sits in the bottom of the container. If you don’t have one of these, nowadays they can be found at tag sales or antique shops where they really can be pricy. (I have seen them at our local CY antique shops!) Over the years, they have become collector’s items, but this is another story for another time. You can also use florist foam that you have soaked in water, or simply place them in the container with marbles or with nothing. Placing something to put the stems actually “in” is for stability of the flowers to hold the shape.
4. Water is key. Changing the water about every other day or keeping the foam soaked is very important. I simply use water with about a teaspoon of sugar or the packet that comes with bought flowers. I have also used water mixed with Sprite or 7-Up.
5. Just before placing the flowers in the container, cut at least an inch off of the stem in a diagonal using a sharp knife or scissors. This fresh cut will help the flowers absorb the water. Also, cut any leaves off the stem that may go below the water line.
6. With a larger arrangement, something in a large water pitcher or urn, I always add my tallest flowers to the center and work outward, turning the arrangement as I work to make sure they are even. For something smaller, like a teacup, small vase, or even a votive candle holder, I just bunch them together and cut the stems very short so it doesn’t topple over.
7. For a very contemporary arrangement, I use as little as one stem of maybe a gerber daisy or gladioli and a couple of pieces of small bamboo or horses tail. For the larger ones, the sky is the limit. But I certainly use flowers of various shapes, stem lengths, and textures. I like to use many colors in my arrangement, but one trend is to use all flowers of the same color, giving it a monochromatic, classy look.
8. For filler, I use smaller flowers or cool-shaped sticks or tall grasses, and I use stems of ivy to drape over the sides or intertwine some grapevine in the arrangement that will drape down. You can use raffia or ribbon to dress it up if you like, or simply let the flowers and the container be the star. Don’t worry that it doesn’t look perfect, it’s not supposed to!
9. Lastly, keep your flowers away from direct sunlight or air vents, which will fade and dry them out quickly—and don’t forget step 4. Now, find an awesome spot for your arrangement; the front porch, the kitchen or dining room table, the ledge of the sink in the bathroom, or on the night stand to see as you fall asleep or the first thing when you wake up. Enjoy!
Michael Taylor is a designer/decorator and Home Stager that lives right here in Cooper-Young. He can be reached at MichaelTaylor1961@yahoo.com.