This post is all about the grocery store bouquet. It seems that most look upon flowers from the grocery store with total disdain, especially the pre-made bouquets, and it's easy to see why. Pre-arranged bouquets at your local market are often made from a combination of the cheapest blooms, in garish colors that don't quite work together. But have no fear, you can transform that hot mess into a pretty, professional looking bunch of arrangements in no time. First we'll start with some basic tips for arranging. The temptation when buying a pre-arranged bouquet for an event is often to just go home and stick it in a vase, especially if you have no floral knowledge. However, this is one thing that drives me NUTS! The flowers end up looking messy, and jumbled. Using the following simple steps you can make an ordinary bunch look like a professional arrangement, and really showcase the beauty of the blooms (yes even ones from the grocery store).
(flower types from left to right: yellow mums, daisy mums, pink snapdragons, orange spray roses, magenta carnations and alstomeria).
You'll need a grocery store bouquet of mixed flowers, garden shears or heavy kitchen scissors, and a vase. Lay your flowers out, and seperate them by color and type. Then take a look at the stems. You're going to want to prep the flowers by stripping the foliage off. You can leave a few leaves at the top if they're in good shape, but for the most part you want to get rid of anything that will be below the water line in your vase. This helps prevent rot and keeps your flowers fresher and lasting longer. Look at the picture below, gross rotted leaves already, yuck!
Now look at the next picture. Ahhh, a sigh of relief, the stems are nice and clean, and vase ready.
Now we'll start building our arrangement. Fill your vase with water and add floral food if your bunch came with any. If your bouquet included foliage stems then use these first, to create a sort of base or nest for the rest of your flowers. Cut your stems so the foliage rests right at the lip of the vase. As a rule I like to work starting with fuller flowers, and finish up with smaller blooms, or my more expensive accent blooms. In this case the mums and daisies are the fullest flowers in the bunch because they have multiple shoots and per stem. Again cut your stems so they are right over the lip of the vase, with slight height variation.
Next I added in the purple Alstomeria, because they too have multiple blooms per stem. Turn your arrangement as you work to try and get a balanced shape from all sides. Add flowers where there are "holes", making sure not to break up the different colors and textures throughout the design. Next comes the carnations (smallest blooms) and the spray roses (more expensive accent blooms). They really help add that extra dash of interest to th arrangement, don't you think?
If you have any taller floral elements for your arrangement, add these last. My bunch of flowers had snap dragons, which are tall and curvy in shape. The addition of these completes the design (see the finished arrangement in the "After" shot above. By removing the extra length of the stems, and arranging the flowers one bloom type at a time we can really showcase the beauty of the flowers, and create a balanced, harmonious vase full of blooms that you can proudly display on your table. To get the longest vase life, change the water every few days and trim the bottoms of your stems about 1/4 to 1/2 inch with each change to allow the flowers to get a fresh surface area to hydrate from. Sometimes with proper care I've been able to get arrangements to last 2 weeks!
You can take your designing one step further, and create seperate arrangements using just one or two of the flower types from your bouquet. Flowers in mass are always chic, and you can also use different types of containers that match the decor of different rooms in your home. This is a great way to take a bouquet with especially garish color combinations and transform it into something more lovely.
I broke my grocery store flowers up into three different arrangements. The first is a sunny, whimsical arrangement made up of yellow mums and daisy mums. I thought the blue mason jar was a perfect counterpoint in color and style. I used the jewel toned alstromeria and carnations together with the green foliage. The mercury glass vase is a chic, on trend touch. A classic clear vase gets the orange spray roses, and I threw in the snapdragons for a little height and shape variation. However spray roses, or regular roses always look lovely in a tight arrangement on their own. Again you'll notice I cut the stems down to fit the height of the vases. This always make the arrangements look fuller and well designed.
So pretty, and the next time you're in a pinch for a dinner party or gift idea you'll be able to run to your local market and make some beautiful, professional looking arrangements, minus the hefty price tag! Share your creations with hashtag #handmakerofthings, I'd love to see what you create.
If you live in Kansas City, and want to take your floral design skills to the next level join me for a workshop with The Bloom Academy. You can learn hands on some of the tips I've shown you here, and more. Plus you get yummy cocktails, and appetizers. Think of it as a flower happy hour!
xo - Emily