Flowers are always a thoughtful gift, and an instant surge of serotonin. But mood-boosting blooms don’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. You can make your own gorgeous bouquet just by following these expert tips from stylist Jenn Park Krulik.
At your local flower shop or grocery store, pick out four bunches of different flowers: two bunches of filler flowers—here, Park Krulik chose silver-dollar eucalyptus and solidago—and two bunches of focal flowers (garden roses and snapdragons, in this case).
Now that you have your flowers picked out, it’s time to choose a vase. If you can’t find one in your home, head to your local thrift store. Pick a vessel with a wider opening for a fuller look, and fill it with fresh, cold water—about three quarters of the way up. Flowers usually come with a packet of flower food to make your stems last longer. (Alternatively, you can add a tablespoon of sugar to the water.)
After wiping off the lip of the vessel to make sure there’s no water residue, use clear tape to make a simple grid across the top. Leave space between each strip of tape for a few stems. This simple step ensures that your stems stand upright, and don’t all sadly slump to one side—it’s the difference between shoving a bunch of flowers in a vase, and making it look like a pro did it.
Next, decide on the height of your flowers, and cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. You can also do a second vertical cut up the centre of the flower stems so that they can access more water.
Then, continue processing your filler and focal flowers. Processing involves removing unwanted leaves as well as giving the stems a fresh trim. Get rid of leaves, especially if they’re going to be below the waterline. Remove the guard petals—the thick and robust outer petals that often look charred. These petals are left on by florists and grocers to protect the inner petals while in transit, but people often forget to trim them once they get home. If your stems have thorns, run a scissor blade down the length of the stem to remove them.
Now you’re ready to build your arrangement. Start with your filler flowers, and start by working from the outside of the grid, like Park Krulik did with the eucalyptus. Place your focal flowers towards the middle. If you’re using roses, spin them upside down to open up the blooms. (You can also reflex your flowers: a technique of carefully peeling back the petals to create a different shape.)
Once you’re happy with your arrangement, give your flowers a good mist and enjoy! Remember to refresh the water every few days for a longer-lasting bouquet.
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