Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Flowers 101

{spray roses and eucalyptus in a brass bowl}

{hydrangea, spray roses and eucalyptus in a silver bowl}

{hydrangea and winter berries}

{mariana roses and winter berries}

We've had a lot of visitors to the house lately, which has given me a nice excuse to put together flower arrangements. I'm always surprised by the endorphin boost flower shopping and arranging brings me, not to mention the joy I feel by just seeing the flowers on a table or windowsill.

For the past couple of weeks, I've gone to Central Market on Tuesday evening to pick up the prettiest flowers and greenery I can find for a total of less than $20 (tip: CM sells long-stem roses in all colors for $1 each on Tuesdays!). Then I go home after class and turn them into two or three sweet arrangements.

My favorites above are the two in bowls. I thrifted those bowls over the weekend in East Dallas -- the brass bowl is about the size of a salad plate, while the silver one is huge, bigger than a dinner plate. The bowls cost me about $5 all together. The bright green of the eucalyptus, the whisper pink of the spray roses and the lacy look of the hydrangea gives it such an antique feeling, and the colors are just right for spring. They look Easter-y to me, actually. I'm not usually a pink person, but this works.

A couple of tips from an amateur, if you'd like to try your hand at flower arranging:
  • Get floral foam from your craft store. Neither of the bowl arrangements would be possible without floral foam to hold them in place.
  • Use unusual containers. Vases are fine, but even when I use vases, I like to use a big leaf to go around the inside so you're not seeing stems. I have a basket carved out of a tree root I want to use (fingers crossed that it's waterproof) and a vintage silver gravy boat. I also hang on to interesting bottles to use as bud vases.
  • Don't underestimate the power of greenery. Berries, ornamental grasses, curly foliage... I've even re-used hydrangea leaves, which are gorgeous, in arrangements with other flowers. The greenery adds texture, depth and interest that you can't get from blooms alone. It makes arrangements feel organic while hiding imperfections and gaps.
  • When in doubt, monochrome works. I think people get themselves in trouble by trying to make colorful vases of flowers. Keeping more or less to one palette and adding interest by different types of flowers always looks classic and polished.
  • Change the water and re-cut the stems. I've heard all kinds of old wives' tales about adding baby aspirin or a penny to the water to make the flowers last longer. Don't know if there's any truth to those, but I can tell you that clean water and fresh cut stems keep my flowers perky.

Let me know if you do try it! I'd love to see what you come up with. I'll keep posting my pictures too.