Arrange your store-bought flowers like a florist: NPR

A beautiful bouquet goes a long way to making someone’s day a little brighter. NPR’s Life Kit shows you how to add your own personal touch to a grocery bouquet.



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Mother’s Day is this weekend. If you’re celebrating, you’re a mom, mom-to-be, mother figure, or maybe yourself, a beautiful bouquet goes a long way to making the day a little brighter. And while it’s great to support your local florist, you can let your own creativity flourish this year. Andee Tagle from Life Kit has some tips for you on how to elevate that grocery bouquet with a personal touch.

ANDEE TAGLE, BYLINE: Alexander Campbell, better known by his handle @acfloralstudio, has over a million followers on TikTok, and it’s easy to see why.

Hey. I have a tough question for you. What is your favorite flower?

ALEXANDER CAMPBELL: I mean, my favorite flower changes all the time, if I’m being perfectly honest with you, I fall in love with a new flower every day.

TAGLE: Campbell’s stream features stunning creations for every season and storyline. It has a bouquet of black and white flowers inspired by Cruella de Vil, a rainbow arrangement for pride, another with spray-painted silver spiky leaves reminiscent of Wolverine for his X-Men series. When it comes to flowers, this is an equal opportunity florist.

CAMPBELL: I use hydrangeas a lot and love carnations, which is a pretty unpopular opinion.

TAGLE: Why do carnations have such a bad reputation?

CAMPBELL: I don’t know. I mean, like I live in Spain, right? So in Spain they are always associated with a very, very cheap flower. But I think it’s so great.

TAGLE: There are no bad flowers, Campbell said. This is the first thing to remember when trying your hand at a homemade arrangement. Choose the flowers and colors that bring you the most joy. And then from there, Campbell has some simple tips for turning that generic $10 grocery bouquet into a better, prettier arrangement for mom — or anyone else, for that matter. First, freshness is key. Are your extremities nice and green? Are your leaves still vibrant or are they starting to wilt? Also pay special attention to the flowers themselves.

CAMPBELL: Give them a little twist. Give them a little pressure. If they are kind and firm, it means they are excellent. If you touch the flowers and they are quite soft, they are no good.

TAGLE: Next, think about your presentation. A finished bouquet should have a variety of flowers and textures.

CAMPBELL: Because if you think they’re all the same, they’re all the same level or kind of size, you’re going to create a very two-dimensional bouquet. And it always looks better if it’s kind of moving and it’s a bit more dynamic. So you can achieve this with flowers of different sizes, flowers of different colors.

MARTIN: Or even by combining different ready-to-use bouquets. When you’re on the hunt, keep these three things in mind – filler like greenery.

CAMPBELL: Could be like a very cheap flower. Hydrangeas are an excellent filler flower because they take up a lot of space in an arrangement.

TAGLE: Then consider height and depth.

CAMPBELL: Like having flowers higher, flowers lower, some coming out to the left, some coming out to the right. The delphiniums, which are really big, the clematis, which are so beautiful. The spray roses are really pretty too.

TAGLE: And finally, flowers that have star power.

CAMPBELL: The really amazing ones, the ones that spoke to you the most at the supermarket when you found them or at your florists, and then put them last as a finishing touch.

TAGLE: Once you’ve made your choices, remember to cut all of your stems at a 45 degree angle.

CAMPBELL: So when that cup, no matter how you put the flowers in the vase, they’ll still be able to drink, so an extra layer of guarantee.

TAGLE: Next, it’s time to build and play. When your creation is complete, extend the life of your bouquet by removing leaves below the waterline and changing your water daily. Flower food is also excellent, of course. But the most important ingredient?

CAMPBELL: When you do it yourself, you put more love, more care, more time into doing it. And I think that’s the key ingredient.

TAGLE: Whether it’s Mother’s Day, wedding season or just because here’s your reminder to stop, smell and maybe fix the roses. For NPR’s Life Kit, I’m Andee Tagle.

MARTIN: For more tips and tricks, go to npr.org/lifekit.

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