January 17, 2017
Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Whether it gives you the warm fuzzies or makes you want to crawl in bed with Netflix and a pizza, there’s no denying it’s one of the busiest – and most expensive — times of the year to buy flowers. But it doesn’t have to be.
Don’t fall to victim to the $55 bouquet of roses that will likely die in three days. Follow these tips and make a beautiful bouquet that will have your loved one swooning without the staggering price tag.
(Full disclosure: I spent $38 at the grocery store, which was $3 more than a dozen-rose bouquet.)
Variety is the spice of life, except when it comes to color
Stick to the same color family when selecting blooms to avoid a rainbow bouquet. I like to stick with “natural” colors and tend to mix neutrals with one or two types of colorful buds. For this bouquet, I stuck with softer pinks and avoided fuchsias, reds or purples. I love mixing greens and whites into bouquets and this helps ensure the color scheme doesn’t feel overwhelming.
However, you can get REALLY creative with textures in a bouquet. Make sure you select a bulkier flower for your base, interesting flowers to fill the bouquet and greens/filler flowers to bulk it up. Try to make sure your flowers are different shapes and textures, and make sure you have at least three of each. Bonus if you can find foodie flowers like kale – they’re a great find at farmer’s markets in the summer and add awesome bulk to any arrangement.
(Also, one of my hydrangeas was a bust, which left me with just two blooms for this bouquet. Major bummer. But that’s what you get when you buy flowers at the grocery store.)
Go Goldilocks on the water temperature
Many of the flowers you buy – especially this time of year – have traveled great distances to arrive in your home and they’re thirsty after the journey. Very thirsty. Get them in lukewarm water as soon as you get home, and make sure the water isn’t too cold or too hot. It needs to be just right. (Cold water can shock their system whereas warmer water is more easily absorbed through the stem.)
Make the cut, but skip the scissors
Everyone knows flowers need a fresh cut before going into the vase, but did you know cutting with scissors actually compromises the stem’s ability to take in water? Instead, take a sharp box cutter, get a firm grip on the flower and strike away from you, cutting the stem at an angle.
Remember not to take cues from Sheryl Crow… the first cut shouldn’t be the deepest. Pace yourself when trimming your flowers and remember to keep overall arrangement height in mind. And don’t forget to cut off any greens that will be underwater. It will keep your water fresher, longer.
Get a good base
Use your bulky flowers to create a base for your flower arrangement by criss-crossing the stems underwater at the middle of the vase. It may require a bit of finessing with stem length, but you should have flower heads resting on each “corner” of the face and the stem angled into the opposite corner. It should feel like you’ve essentially created an “X” with the stems.
Fill ‘er up
Use your secondary flowers to add more structure to the bouquet – following the rule of thirds as much as possible – and your greens and filler flowers to add more bulk. Don’t feel like you need to use all of the flowers at once. You may have some leftover, and you may take some out as you keep moving along. As long as you think about your arrangement in terms of a composition and try to keep it balanced, you should end up with a great end product.
And use your base to create an intricate web of stems that will help support flowers in the middle of the vase. The last thing you want is everything leaning toward the outside of the vase.
Keep it fresh
Don’t get stuck in a rut – change the water, and change it often, to keep your flowers fresh. Have a helper scoop the flowers out of the vase with two hands – maintaining the arrangement – while you dump and refill the water. Drop ‘em back in and you’ll have fresh blooms for at least 5-7 days.