Hi All! If you've been following me for any length of time you know that I adore flowers and flower arranging. I have flowers in almost every room of my home and use flowers to add color, evoke feelings and add fragrance to my decor. The way I arrange flowers and my aesthetic has changed and evolved, and hopefully improved, through the years.
I have done a lot of research and asked a lot of questions in the past several years on how to arrange flowers of all kinds, so today I wanted to share with you the five best flower arranging tips I've ever gotten.
Use Unique or Unusual Vases
As an event planner, I learned about creating arrangements for large parties and weddings. Those types of centerpieces required making a dozen or more of the same arrangement in the same container. In contrast, arranging flowers for home feels like a much more creative and fluid process to me. I love the fact that I am free to play around with different containers and make single, unique arrangements. When I started to look at everything in my home as a possible vessel for flowers a whole new world of possibilities opened up.
Using wooden or copper buckets or different baskets (with a waterproof container inside), I am able to arrange my flowers in new and unexpected ways. Taking a piece of my families vintage silver and filling it with roses and ranunculus creates a beautiful centerpiece for a family gathering. And in the garden I am able to re-purpose a clay pot for a garden arrangement.
When I stopped limiting myself to just traditional glass vases and began seeing the possibilities in every type of container, it opened up a whole new world of flower arranging to me.
A NOTE ABOUT CONTAINERS: Part of the process of using non traditional vessels for flowers is determining how to make them water tight. Using plastic liners in wood boxes is a great way to make them usable.. Also placing smaller glass or plastic jars or vases into larger non traditional vessels is a perfect way to make use of a container that may not hold water.
You can read more about how I use non traditional vessels for my flowers on my post 15 UNIQUE VASE IDEAS FROM RUSTIC TO CLASSIC.
Secure Your Stems
Another important step in creating a successful flower arrangement is finding a method of securing your stems in place. Years ago, I would buy flowers and struggle to make them look right in my vases. That all changed when I learned about the super simple ways stems can be secured in any type of container.
I first started by using floral foam,, but found that it did not work for every container or flower type and didn't allow me to make a lot of adjustments to my arrangements. It was also really bulky to store and keep on hand and didn't work in clear glass containers. Occasionally I would use floral tape on a glass container or a floral frog in a shallow container.
Then one day I was reading my favorite flower arranging book and learned about using chicken wire in my flower vases! This was a game changer for me!
A small amount of chicken wire in a vase or in a rectangular box is a sure fire way to keep your stems in place and, unlike floral foam, gives you the freedom to make changes to the arrangement as you design. It is now my go to material for almost all arrangements. It is also reusable, so you only need to store a small amount to use again and again. This is by far the best tip I ever got about flower arranging!
One thing that I did learn while arranging flowers for events was that the greenery ALWAYS comes first. Whether its a more formal arrangement or a vase of wildflowers, the greens create the base for the flowers. This is also where your chicken wire, floral tape or floral foam is important. Getting the greens securely in place is the key to not only creating a base for your arrangement, but also to getting the shape and size established.
This is the opportunity to make sure the edges of your container are covered by placing the greens at an angle and allowing them to droop over the sides. It also allows you to make a full looking centerpiece without using a ton of flowers. Several flowers properly placed among a bed of greens often make more of an impact than flowers on their own.
For years I either bought my flowers from the grocery store or the farmers market. Whatever was available there was what I used. Then one day I began looking at my yard differently. It became a source of greens and sometime flowers for me. I realized that the plants and bushes that were sprinkled throughout my yard were similar to the greens that I was buying at the markets. And my neighbors olive tree had thousands of branches that were just perfect for a long table garland.
I also became a bit more strategic about my seasonal planting and began adding in flowers that I used often in my arrangements. Suddenly I was looking to my yard first for inspiration and the flowers that I bought became secondary. And when flowers aren't as plentiful, seasonal branches and greens make a perfect base for my flower mart finds.
The Rule of Thirds
I was reading an article from one on of my favorite florists when she mentioned that she always tries to make her arrangements one third vase and two thirds flowers. I had never heard this before and it honestly completely changed how I create arrangements. The idea is that there should always be more flowers than vase and the flowers should be "overflowing" the edges of the container.
I adore this look and by using the different methods I mentioned above to secure my stems, I have been able to play with different shapes and configurations of flowers in new and creative ways. Adding flowers to an arrangement at a 90 degree angle to create that asymmetrical look feels modern and fresh to me and has opened up a world of new possibilities when I arrange flowers.
While I know I have much more to learn, I have loved the journey of finding new, creative ways to express myself when it comes to flower arranging. These are just a few of the tips that have helped me along the way and I hope they give you some ideas about how you can create beautiful floral arrangements simply and easily!
Below are sources for some of my favorite containers and books.
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