3 Quick Centerpieces with Grocery Store Flowers
Today, on ASK THE DESIGNER, I would like to share a little bit of my floral design knowledge and teach you how to make a quick and easy centerpiece with those pre-bundled grocery store bouquets.
It is that time of year as the holiday season quickly approaches. I am sure you have planned a few holiday gathering…. or have had a few impromptu one pop up along the way, believe me we have all been there. In those cases we go tearing out to the grocery store to try a pull something together out of nothing; and we inevitably grab a bouquet of fresh flowers. We get home hoping to make something pretty for the table, only to get home and find we have a maybe few roses, daisy’s and a sprig of greenery. Now we have no idea what to do with this collection other than to shove it all in vase. Please know that while you can simply buy a mixed bouquet like this at the store, take it home and plop it into a vase. This is not really the best possible design, and does not really say custom or deisgned. Inevitably, you will end up with a vase arrangement that is all the same height and looks like the end of a trumpet, which is not very aesthetically pleasing. My very first recommendation is to buy 2 or more of the same type of mixed bouquets which will offer you more flower to work with, or you can purchase additional types of flowers like a dozen roses to add into a mix set. Traditionally mixed bouquets are only packed with only 1-2 stems of each type of flower, so wither of these options will actually give you some numbers to work with as you design. Today, since I like a challenge, I will show you how to make 3 centerpieces out of 1 large size bouquet.First make sure you have the proper tools and a container. As a classically trained floral designer, I know how to create all types of centerpieces, such as the Japanese style Ikebana, Flourish Renaissance, English Garden, and even Mid Century Modern Pave’. Please know that all of these style all start with the same flowers as a simple grocery store bouquet. The only difference is how long your cut each of the stems and how you arrange them into the containers. For example, Japanese Ikebana is the use of negative space, so very few flowers is key, with specific spacing and heights create a very stylized look like potted orchids. A simple tip is to the use floral sheers, these are very similar to pruning sheers which would work just as well, but I do not recommend scissors. I know several people that like to use scissors, and while they cut the stems, the thick woodsy stems will ruin your scissors and scissors also tend to crush the fragile stems leaving them to not drink properly and die quicker. I personally use a floral knife, which is the professional method but I would not recommend that unless you know what you are doing, you could lose a finger, just stick to the floral sheers.
1. THE VASE ARRANGEMENT:
So, the first arrangement I will show you is a simple vase arrangement. The easiest way is to start is with the greenery, or filler, it will create a grid work to hold your flowers in place. Next, you will want to strip all the leaves or foliage that will be below the water line. This preserves your water and keeps it clean, which cuts down on smelly water. Next, you will choose your filler flower. It is usually whatever you have the most of in the bouquet. Then, cut 1″-2″ off at a 45-degree angle and place directly into the the vase. The angle cut increases the surface area that the flower will be able to drink from, which helps them to live longer. Placing them into water directly after the cut will start the siphoning effect to draw water up into the stems. In this case, you will notice that I started with the mums. Since I had a lot of them and they take up a lot of space. I had four stems of mums total. So, I cut 2″ off of 3 stems and 1″ off the last stem and placed them into the middle to create hight. Continue adding in flowers, while saving your focal flowers for last.Focal flowers are what floral designer call money flowers. They usually cost the most and you want to feature them in the arrangement. Notice above how the 3 roses included in the bouquet are prominently featured in this vase arrangement. Depending on your vase, you can always add a final touch of ribbon to dress it up. I used a very simple knot of ribbon to dress up this mason jar and give it some character.
2. THE CLASSIC ROUND:
For this technique you will need a Lomei Bowl (which you could always reuse from a previous arrangement) and Oasis aka floral frogs (which can not be used again but are available at craft stores). Make sure to soak your Oasis in water before starting. You can start by greening in the base of the bowl as seen above.
Following the same rules as a vase arrangement. Add in filler flowers and then focal flowers until the oasis is covered. For this arrangement you will need to cut the stems to a similar length for a pave style round; or if you prefer more of a English garden, handpicked look, you can vary the hight of the stems like below.
3. Multiple Minis:
My final centerpiece option is what I like to call multiple minis. This is where you line the table with multiple mini arrangements. I usually place candles in between to create ambiance.
For me this is by far the easiest method. You basically design with the flowers in your hand, creating a small hand held nosegay. Then you rubber band the base directly under the flower heads, as seen below. Then, cut the remaining stems off until they are short enough to fit in the mini vases, cups, or jars. For the minis below I used a plastic mint julep cup, perfect for the Derby. Plus, the fact they are opec, they cover the ugly stems.
THE GOLDEN TOUCH
Also, a fun holiday tip I love to use is spray painting your greenery. In this picture, I have sprayed my Seeded Eucalyptus gold. This will add a bit of flair to any basic floral arrangement. Seeded Eucalyptus also dries very well, so be sure to keep you eyes open at my Christmas Home Tour and I bet you can spot some of these lovelies in my garlands, trees and centerpieces.
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