Since my primary outing these Covid 19 days is to the grocery store, I am more appreciative than ever of the floral selection they offer. Bringing flowers into our home adds a spark of life and boosts my mood. It’s hard to be melancholy when there are perky little vases of budding beauties perched around our home. I realize there are folks who don’t share my love of flowers. More than once I’ve been asked, why put money into something that you are just going to toss in a week? To each his/her own, but for my money, they can’t be beat.
Your grocery store can usually be relied upon to stock some standards like roses and carnations, but it’s the seasonal beauties that generally get my attention. My heart skips a beat when I spot the first daffodils or tulips in spring and I’ve been known to do a happy dance when I happen upon my first peonies of the year. Today’s trip yielded some beautiful summer sunflowers and a large bouquet of alstroemeria.
As lovely as they are, sunflowers can be a difficult flower to arrange. You certainly have to have the right vessel, something that can handle their weight. They aren’t a particularly “forgiving” flower for arranging, but they can certainly brighten up a corner. One trick I’ve used many times is to scrunch up the cellophane wrapper they came in and shove it down inside the vase, helping keep the stems from being too floppy.
I certainly got my money’s worth from my $10 package of alstroemeria. I broke it down into four separate little vases, one in our den, one on the entryway table, one in my bathroom and one beside my bed. A bedside vase of fresh flowers has become my favorite pandemic luxury. This is something anyone can do. I change the water and recut the stems every other day and have often gotten two weeks of beauty from alstroemeria.
When arranging your flowers, you should cut each stem at a 45-degree angle. This allows them to soak up more water than if you cut them straight across. You also want to remove any leaves from the stem that will be below the waterline. Do you want a one-sided arrangement or something that will be seen from all around? I usually prefer a monochromatic color scheme, but there are many color combinations that are gorgeous! Choose your vessel, fill it with water and start creating. If I happen to be lucky enough to have some interesting greenery to work with, I often start with that, giving myself a base for the arrangement. Next I would move to my largest blooms at the base, moving onto smaller blooms and filing in any holes with greenery.
There are some basic design rules. If you’re using a tall vase, the entire arrangement from top to bottom should be two and half times the height of the vase. So, if your vase is 10” tall, the height of your arrangement should be 25”. When using a shorter vase, the rule of thumb is one and a half times the vase height and two times its width. And if you are arranging flowers for a dinner party table, you want something that allows guests at a dinner table to easily see each other over the arrangement. But in the end, I think it’s about making something that pleases you. I hope you use the rules more as guidelines. Case in point, it is generally considered best to work with an uneven number of flowers. Tell that to the person who ordered a dozen roses for their beloved and receives eleven. And if you have any blooms left over, feel free to pin one in your hair. Everybody loves a flower girl!
C’est la vie.