April 1, 2010

Gardening Tip #5: The perfect flower bouquet

It's time to make use of your backyard flowers.  This blog is great for both expert and beginner gardeners.
Note:  These principles also apply to making inexpensive gorgeous wedding bouquets.

12 steps for the perfect spring flower bouquet:

1.  Grab a vase.  Tall vase for tall flowers, short for short.  An 8" vase should have about 6-8" of flowers peeking above the top.  If the vase is too tall, your bouquet will look stumpy.  If it's too short, it will be top heavy and fall over.  If you are making a wedding bouquet, display guidance is at the bottom of this post.

2.  Before you begin clipping, fill the vase with water.  This will help prevent the vase from tipping while you build your bouquet, and your flowers can immediately begin drinking the water.


3.  Choose your flowers wisely.  I usually only use about three colors, sometimes four.  Simple is GOOD.  The only caveat:  At times I stuff one vase with every type of flower I have.  The chaos is gorgeous.
When you clip in your flower garden:  Thin, don't hack it all out.  I can fill five vases of flowers and no one will see a difference in my flower beds.

4.  Clip the flower stem extra-long.  If your vase is 8", you will want your stems to be 10" - 16" tall.  Clip the stem and then strip the bottom 8" of leaves and twigs.  This permits more stems to fit in the vase, and if you do not strip the stem the leaves will rot.  Take the stalks that are too short and put them in a shot glass.

5.  Smash the bottom 1" of woody flower stems.  By doing so the flowers can drink water.  Pound the stem against the ground with a hammer while caring for the blossom.

6.  Check to see if there are bugs - and clean the flowers if so.  Also, some flowers will drop pollen as they get older.  Keep an eye out for this.  It can ruin nice linens.  (The voice of experience)

7.  Generously fill the vase.  It's also nice to add "fillers," like long leaf stocks (tulip or daffodil "leaves").  They balance and fill the bouquet beautifully.

8.  Follow the rule of 3s (odds).  Mom taught me this.  Always add the same type of flower in odd numbers.  you can have 5 yellow daffodils, 3 white daffodils,  and 3 pink tulips...  But not 5, 2, and 2.  It will appear inharmonious.  This is a standard rule for decorating as well.  If you've got more than 7 of a specific type, you don't need to count the flowers.

9.  Bouquet:  There is a front and a back.  Twist the stems so the majority of the flowers are facing you or to the sides.  Leave some facing the back.  Fill in the front with very short flowers as well.  Remember that people can see the other side of the bouquet from the front, and a gaping hole looks tacky.  Do-it-yourself gurus - eat up!  This is where the term "flower arrangement" comes into play. Be artsy.

10.  Give to others.  Sharing flowers is such a joy.  Remember to share your flower arrangements with bachelors - they often need a touch of color and life in their pad.
11.  Place in the rooms you most commonly use.  I love having flowers in my bathroom.  (NOTE the world map shower curtain in the background.  It's actually facing inward so I can learn about Baffin Island while I soak.  $14.99 at Target.)

12.1  Keep the vase filled with water.

12.2  You're an expert florist.  ENJOY what God made!

Bridal bouquet:  Use all the principles above in choosing and arranging a bouquet.  I'm no expert on the rest of the details...  DO watch this excellent how-to video by Lynn Jawitz from for both basic principles as well as how to make a uniform bouquet. 

feel free to comment with your gardening questions!
Green Thumb Archives

Gardening Tip #1:  Out with the Old
Gardening Tip #2:  Quality (Pruners Clippers)
Gardening Tip #3:  Unfortunately time to weed
Gardening Tip #4:  Hot pink rubber gloves
Gardening Tip #5:  The perfect flower bouquet
Gardening Tip #6:  Get rid of Aphids naturally

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