If there’s one tiny thing I can do to make my space feel more beautiful it’s to add an arrangement of fresh flowers. My home doesn’t get great natural light but having fresh flowers around always seems to make my space feel brighter! Over the years I’ve styled lots of floral arrangements, from photo shoots for editorials and for my interior design portfolio to my best friends wedding and I’ve picked up lots of tips and tricks along the way. Below are some of my best flower arranging tips plus a tutorial on how I created this beautiful lovely heart rose arrangement!
PICKING OUT FLOWERS
To keep arrangements inexpensive stick with single variety bloom and incorporate a mix of greens and foliage to make it more interesting. Greens make for a beautiful and inexpensive vase filler. If you want to splurge a little more I like to use 2-3 varieties of flowers in a monochromatic palette but with different shapes and dimensions for interest. For this arrangement, I used Lovely Heart roses. Most varieties of roses are great because they’re relatively inexpensive and have nice, full blooms that offer a lot of bang for your buck. Next, pick your fillers. I love using unexpected foliage as filler. Here I’m using eucalyptus which smells amazing mixed with ruscus italian. I also love using mint in my floral arrangements. It’s so fragrant and has a beautiful texture.
WHERE TO SHOP
Your local flower market will always have the freshest, most high-quality and in-season varieties. If I can’t get to the flower market I love Whole Foods which tends to have higher quality flowers than other grocery stores.
PREPPING & PRUNING
Essential Supplies: Floral shears, water, a vase and your flowers are the essential supplies you need to have on hand. Always use flower shears and never scissors because the shears made just for cutting floral stems will allow you to get the cleanest cut.
Trimming your stems: To properly trim your stems, make a fresh cut and trim about an inch off the bottom at a 45-degree angle which creates more room for the stem to absorb water, keeping them fresher longer. Cut your stems to fit the height of your vase. You can trim a little by little until you reach the perfect length. Leave only the most attractive part of flower visible above the rim of your vase. Cut each stem at slightly different heights to create dimension. Next, trim any leaves, thorns foliage that will be submerged in water. Any leaves under water will create bacteria which reduces the lifespan of your arrangement. For flowers with extra-thickbranchess like hydrangea, split the branches up the center about 1 inch for better water absorption.
Water temperature: Fill your vase with lukewarm water which absorbs better than cold water.
It’s important to face the arrangement head-on, rather than from above. Seated at a table or standing at a bar-height table is ideal for viewing your work at eye level so you can watch it come together from all angles.
Start with a good base: Begin with a few small branches of leafy greens to build into. This is the framework for the arrangement. Next iinserting your first stem into the vase, then place the next stem across it and continue crossing each new stem over the last one as you go along. The crisscrossed stems act as webbing which keeps flowers in the place where you want them. Rotate your vase as you go so you can create a balanced arrangement. Mix in greenery as you go to fill in gaps. Experiment, take your time, play around with it until you’re happy with how it looks. It’s OK to have some blooms nestled low and others extend higher. This makes your arrangement look more organic and free flowing
Expert trick: Use ti leaves and wrap them around the perimeter of your base before you begin. This is a great trick for hiding messy stems.
- Always keep your water fresh. Change it daily.
- Use warm water to help your buds open up more quickly.
- Use flower food which serves as a preservative that helps reduce bacteria, keeping your flowers healthy. (You can create a DIY flower food calls for mixing a citrus soda like 7-Up or Sprite, 50/50 with water!)
- Recut your stems every couple of days.
- Keep your arrangement away from direct sun or heat which could cause them to wilt.
Photo of Nicole arranging flowers by Nneka Peters. All others by Nicole Gibbons