Those of you that read on a regular basis know that I love growing flowers just as much as I enjoy growing vegetables. In fact, I don’t really separate the two in my mind. Each year my gardens contain both edibles and ornamentals. While I love watching my flowers grow and bloom, the thing that really excites me is cutting those flowers and turning them into homemade bouquets that I can share with my family and friends.
Now I will be the first to admit that I am NOT a talented floral designer. However, my youngest daughter Whitney is and she loves sharing her tips for creating beautiful homemade floral arrangements with me. Below are what I believe are her best tips to date.
Tip 1 – Floral arrangements don’t have to be made up of just flowers. In fact, some of her favorite arrangements have no flowers in them at all in them. Whitney loves to make homemade bouquets that incorporate branches, grasses and even vegetables. She also loves using herbs as fillers. Things like rosemary, thyme and basil add structure and scent to your arrangements. Plus they last forever in the vase. In fact, if you leave these herbs in the water long enough many of them will root! In season, don’t forget to incorporate things from the garden like honeysuckle and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Tip 2 – Forget the rules. Don’t worry if the height of your arrangement is not one and a half times as tall as your vase. In fact, you don’t even have to use a vase. Don’t worry too much about color either. While complimentary color schemes are nice, they are not necessary. Just look around nature, you will see that just about every color is used and they all look fabulous together. Also, do not be afraid to use just a single variety and color of flower in your arrangements. Also, vases don’t have to be vases. A cute container like an old tin can, teacup or sugar bowl can make a good arrangement great. Whitney also likes to cut the top out of gourds, squash and pumpkins in season.
Tip 3 – Add more flowers. Your arrangements should be pleasing to the eye. According to Whitney, most DIYers use too few flowers and not enough fillers in their arrangements. As you build your arrangement step back several steps and look at it from every angle. If you see spots that need a little something, add it! Since you grew the flowers and fillers at home they are free – use them with abandon!
Tip 4 – If you want your fresh cut floral products to last as long as possible, cut them early in the morning and get them into cool, clean water ASAP. When you cut, use sharp clippers and cut the stems on an angle and then drop them into a plastic or glass container. Metal containers and fresh cut flowers do not play well together. Also, change the water in your vase daily.
Tip 5 – Probably the best tip Whitney ever gave me was “If you can’t create –copy!” Like I said, I am just not a talented designer. However, I am a pretty good copier. Pinterest and Google give us access to thousands of pictures of beautiful floral arrangements every day. Look at these pictures. Find things you like and then copy them!
I hope these tips give you the encouragement you need to get busy cutting and arranging your homegrown flowers! Even though I don’t feel like I have a gift in this area I have learned that when using beautiful things it is hard to create something unattractive!