Don’t Neglect Grocery Flowers, Florist Says, But Keep These Tips in Mind

Forgot to order that fancy bouquet in time for Valentine’s Day? Do not worry ! Everything can still be rosy.

Professional florist Holley Simmons says there are plenty of ways to transform a lackluster array of last-minute, store-bought flowers into a thoughtful, vibrant display.

“I look for a single flower and then I start there,” Simmons told NPR. weekend edition on a trip to a grocery store in Washington, D.C.

Simmons, owner of local flower shop She Loves Me, acts as a guide while browsing the flower displays, pointing out which flowers to grab and which to leave.

Here are some do’s and don’ts that Simmons shared with us for DIY bouquets at the grocery store this Valentine’s Day.

Do: Find a unique flower to anchor the room

Simmons shows some lilies. “Just to give us some go go voom,” she says.

But there is an essential note of caution here.

Don’t: Choose flowers that have been in the sun all day

“My florist’s eye goes straight to that bucket that’s in the sun,” Simmons says. “They heated. They boiled.”

Do: Keep It Monochrome

When all the flowers are the same color, it takes the display to the next level, says Simmons.

“It just makes it look really lush,” she adds, “it automatically creates a really bulky look.”

Simmons leaves the store with an assortment of flowers: lilies, carnations, tulips and roses, as well as green foliage, a dusty sucker and an orchid.

Do: Cut the stems at an angle

Back at her florist, Simmons trims each flower at an angle instead of across – a gesture that helps the flowers absorb more water.

Do: Organize your flowers into “spillers, fillers, and thrillers.”

She then divides the flowers into different categories: overflows, fillers and thrillers.

“Your spills are your greens, anything that adds movement,” she says.

Organizing the spills first is a good place to start for newcomers because, says Simmons, it can shape the bouquet.

Next are fillers, which add “texture,” Simmons says, showcasing her eyelets.

Thrillers, which go last, are categorized as “stars,” as they are the brightest and most colorful, she says.

Don’t: Leave your flowers stiff

This is where the style comes in. Simmons begins to fluff up the carnations by spreading the petals of each flower apart.

“You have to kind of help them express themselves,” she says.

Simmons holds her carnations puffy, a technique used to give flowers more dimension.

Then she moves on to spinning roses. Yes, turn.

“You hold it at the end of the rod with the head down, and you just twist it into place,” she adds.

But watch out for those prickly thorns.

Simmons showcases her newly spun roses, another styling technique used to enhance the look of the flower.

Simmons showcases her newly spun roses, another styling technique used to enhance the look of the flower.

Do: Balance your bouquet

After piecing together all the spillovers, fillers and thrillers, Simmons says it’s key to avoid giving a flower too much attention.

“People will load the design with the prettiest part of the flower, but we try to flirt a bit with our flowers,” she says.

“Instead of being like, this is the center of the flower, we’re going to position it to just show the silhouette or show the side of it,” she adds.

Don’t: be afraid to change it

Like relationships, flower displays sometimes require a few changes before they find the perfect fit.

Good decoration!

Danny Hensel and Melissa Gray produced and edited the audio version of this story.

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