How to make a bouquet of garden flowers
Sitting at a table overlooking the lush gardens of Jenkintown’s Meadowbrook Farm, Estate gardener Julie Bare begins to fill a vase. She starts with leafy greens, creating a basis for an arrangement. Next come the delicate white deutzia that cascade down the edges. In the center, Bare adds a cluster of purple allium flowers in the shape of a globe. She threads pink and yellow snapdragons into the empty space.
âIf, like me, you’ve always wanted to do something artistic but never been good at painting or drawing, flower arranging is the perfect activity,â Bare said while cutting a snapdragon stalk. slantwise. “It really is a meditative and creative outlet.”
While less intimidating than oil painting, making a bouquet isn’t as easy as throwing cut flowers into a vase. It takes technique to put together a centerpiece, but with a little knowledge anyone can do it.
We asked floral designers in the Philly area to share their tips on arranging flowers for your own garden. For a practical lesson, check out PHS garden with vase series, the fourth Thursday of each month at Meadowbrook Farm.
If you are going to: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Fourth Thursday – Garden to Vase: Fabulous Flowers, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., June 27, $ 25 to $ 30, 215-988-1698, prairiebrookfarm.org
Choose early in the day. “If you make your way early in the morning, the flowers will not have been under the stress of the hot fields of the sun, and will therefore last much longer,” said Sarah Mikolowsky of East Falls’ Vault + Vine.
Look for flowers that have not fully bloomed. âThose that are just starting to open will recover from being cut faster and generally last longer,â said Lynn Schultz of Chadds Ford. Green meadows florist.
Cut the stems at an angle. Whenever you cut flowers, cut them at an angle. “It’s like a straw – if you put it straight into a glass, it’s harder to sip water,” Old City’s Claudia Roux said. Small Garden in the City. âAlso make sure your scissors are sharp, so you don’t crush the shank. “
Using a bucket. Collect the flowers in a bucket filled with a few inches of water. âYou want to hydrate the flowers as early as possible to prevent wilting,â Bare said. For more complex assemblies, Roux recommends leaving the stems in the water for at least half a day. âIt will give the flowers a bit more strength when you start to conceive with them. “
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Visualize a theme. âWhen picking flowers, it can be helpful to think about adjectives that describe each one. [flower], and choose the ones that match a theme, âMikolowsky said. âYou can go for a wild and airy style, playful and bright, dramatic and sullen, monochrome. “
Consider using herbs. Herbs can help support the flowers and impart a pleasant scent, Roux said. “I love rosemary because it has a strong stalk, but I also love mint, oregano, and basil, which are all available in a multitude of colors.”
Choose your ship wisely. âIf you want the emphasis to be more on the flowers, choose a clear glass utility vase,â Mikolowsky said. “Cool vases from vintage stores or estate sales can add a sculptural appeal of their own.” Choose a vase one-third the height of the overall arrangement you want to make.
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Remove the lower leaves. “The foliage begins to rot when wet, which creates bacteria that will shorten the lifespan of the flowers,” warns Bare.
Experiment with what you have. âTest what the foliage and flowers will hold even in a vase,â suggests Mikolowsky. âThere are a lot of beautiful roadside flowers – like dandelions – that don’t last, but a lot of garden flowers that you can’t find in flower shops are awesome.â
Create a structure with greens. Use sturdy leaves to make a base for your bouquet. âYou want to find foliage that won’t wilt right away,â Mikolowsky said, citing Japanese maple leaves, smoke bush, and other shrubs and grasses. “Orient it so that it hugs the side of the container, expanding to hide the rim of the container.”
Place the larger flowers next to it. âGet the focal flowers where you want them and then add wispier flowers to them,â Schultz said.
Leave some room. âWhen everything is so tight, you can’t see the characteristics of each individual cut,â said Roux. âSpace creates movement for the eye.
Make a grid. If you want more order, use scotch tape to create a grid over the mouth of the vase. âThen put the rods in the holes to keep them from moving,â Roux said. “You can also use a flower frog – it’s a prickly base filled with pins that you glue the stems to.
Back off from time to time. âWhen you’re up close and lost in what you’re doing, it can help you step back and look at the big picture,â Bare said.
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Routine maintenance. Every other day, change the water and cut the stems back. âThis will dramatically increase the life of your arrangement,â Roux said.
Refrigerate for a longer shelf life. âIf you want to do it on Thursday but have company on Sunday, just put it in the fridge,â Bare said. âKeep the vase away from produce, as some release a gas that accelerates the aging process of the flowers. “
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