Fresh flowers and garden greenery around a home are an easy way to bring the beauty of the outdoors in. While most often a job best left to the professionals, using florals around your home doesn’t have to break the bank and can be attempted by anyone despite the colour of your thumb.
Tracy Bell, president of La Belle Fleur Floral Boutique Ltd, suggests starting with fresh flowers from a reputable florist; this ensures that they have been properly cared for and handled, which is crucial for longevity, she says.
Before you begin arranging your flowers, stems will need to be cut on an angle to facilitate the ease of water absorption. Bell advises against cutting flowers with scissors as it crushes the stem and inhibits water intake – a florist knife or garden shears should be used instead. It’s also important to remove any foliage that will fall below the water line. This prevents the water from becoming contaminated by bacterial growth and consequently helps your flowers live longer in cleaner water, explains Bell.
Filling your vase with fresh, room temperature water along with cut-flower food will give your arrangement its best chance at survival. “Your floral preservative is a critical component to help keep your water cleaner for longer,” Bell advises. Floral foam or a flower frog helps to secure flowers within a wide-mouthed container.
You may be tempted to reach for the closest vase in your closet, but choosing the appropriate vessel for your arrangement can affect the style and feel you are trying to create. With wine bottles, tumblers, bowls and old boots as options for holding flowers, consider trying something other than a typical vase that will show your flowers off best.
“When arranging your flowers, have fun with it!” Bell says. “Try grouping like flowers together or place them evenly throughout the arrangement. What you are striving for is a design that appeals to you; you are the artist!”
As you begin to arrange your flowers within your chosen vase, start with the larger, most dominant flowers. Stick to one type of flower at a time to evenly distribute it within the arrangement. Working in a circle, continue adding your flowers so that the different varieties, shapes and colours are balanced. Berries or greenery can then be added as the last step in creating your perfect arrangement.
“Most designers begin with a base of foliage placed in a criss-cross pattern which helps support the blooms,” explains Bell. “I like an assortment of green and variegated foliage with different textures for visual interest. It is as important to design your foliage as it is to design your flowers.”
Adding texture to an arrangement can create more seasonally-appropriate decor in addition to upping the visual impact. Green foliage brings freshness, and items such as berry stems or pine cones can effortlessly dress up simple florals.
Like most accessories within your home, the colours you choose are a matter of preference but also an important part of complimenting a room’s decor. Complimentary colours are often more cheerful, adding variety to your arrangement and enhancing your chosen colours. Conversely, an arrangement of varied flowers in a uniform colour can have a big impact when similar shades are grouped together.
“For someone with no design experience, I recommend a monotone colour palette; shades of one colour,” Bell says, adding, “This will ensure colour harmony which is so important to the
overall look. When in doubt, white and green always works. Always!”
Not only is a bouquet’s arrangement within a vase essential to its appearance and longevity, but where you place your plants within your home will impact how they look and how well
they thrive. “Once completed, be sure to keep your design in a cool place, away from any direct source of heat,” advises Bell. If you want your plants to live a long life, pay close attention to the amount of sunlight they sit in. Most purchased plants come with instructions that are not to be ignored.
If you’re using your arrangement to brighten or complement your existing decor, carefully consider the colour scheme or style of the room in which your flowers will live. Your office might
benefit from some bright blooms but pastel-coloured plants will soften up the space around your soaker tub. Keep in mind the mood you hope to achieve in each room and let your flowers help create it.
Flowers that are in season will save you money while bringing the current beauty of the outdoors inside your home. In the spring, bring daffodils, peonies, ranunculus, and tulips indoors to brighten up your space. As the summer starts to heat up, sunflowers, gerbera daises, lilies, and hydrangeas increase in popularity.
“Floral designing at home can be very relaxing and therapeutic, so take the time to enjoy the process and the beauty with which you are creating,” advises Bell. Buying bouquets may not always be feasible but being able to add your own touch to your blooms may brighten your day as well as your home’s decor.