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Beginner's Guide

Supplies
How to Buy Flowers
Designing Using Layers

You can find all of this information, PLUS step-by-step instructions for creating almost 60 easy floral arrangements in my brand new Book and Ebook! You'll love it! And so will anyone who receives it as a gift - it's fun, original and truly the gift that keeps on giving!

Supplies

You don't need a lot of expensive supplies to arrange flowers, and you should be able to find everything at your local craft or floral supply store or major discount department store. I would also encourage you to visit your local library and check out books on flower arranging as a supplement to this website.

Floral scissors or cutting shears.   Yes, professional florists use floral knives but that skill takes a little practice and I don’t want you to bleed. Whatever you use, make sure it’s clean.   Flowers' worst enemy is bacteria.

Florist’s or Bowl tape. This is a waterproof tape specifically designed for floral work.   You could also use cellophane, masking or other narrow tape, but bowl tape is your best bet.   It comes in green or clear.

Floral foam. Get several blocks of this as we use it in a number of designs. Make sure to get the foam designed for fresh flowers, not artificial!

Containers. You can start with some simple vases, the likes of which you probably have under your kitchen sink. And start saving your recyclables - frozen food trays, styrofoam trays, deli containers and even two liter soda bottles. I'll show you what you can do with these in my Book and Ebook.

There are a lot of other things you could get - wire, floral adhesive, stem wrap - but it's not necessary to spend a lot of money when you're just starting out. Keep it simple for now.

You can find all of this information, PLUS step-by-step instructions for creating almost 60 easy floral arrangements in my brand new Book and Ebook! You'll love it! And so will anyone who receives it as a gift - it's fun, original and truly the gift that keeps on giving!

Ten Tips for Buying and Caring for Cut Flowers
(and secrets to making them last longer)

Watch as I show Rosemary Orozco of Fox40 News a few tips on selecting and arranging flowers!

 

You can find cut flowers and foliage in so many places these days – roadside stands, farmers’ markets, wholesale growers, grocery stores, warehouse stores, drug stores and yes, even your local florist shop.

The selections are almost endless, from single variety bunches, to colorful, mixed bouquets, spring flowers, summer flowers, expensive flowers, cheap flowers; it’s almost overwhelming.  The type of flowers you choose is a personal preference, but here are a few things to look for to ensure that Mother Nature’s miracles last as long possible and give you maximum enjoyment.  And of course, you want to get the most you can from the dollars you spend.

1. The catch of the day is the furthest away. Make your selection from those flowers furthest from your reach.  Flowers are rotated according to their age and you can be sure, the oldest ones will usually be the easiest to access. 

2. Don’t rain on the parade. If flowers are displayed in tiered fashion and you have a choice, make your selection from the upper tiers.  When you pull a bouquet from the bucket, notice how drops of water fall onto the lower bouquets.  This causes mold and brown spots on those flowers.  Try to avoid dripping on surrounding flowers as much as possible.  The flowers (and the next shopper) will thank you. 

 

3. Heads up!  Look for erect heads and stems.  If a stem, head or tip of a flower, such as a rose or gladiola, is drooping or bent, the flower is old or it can no longer draw water for various reasons.

 

4. Petals must be perky!  If you see wilted petals like those on this pink posy, or even worse, loose, fallen petals, avoid that bunch and move on.

 

5. Down with brown! Watch for signs of browning edges or brown spots on petals.

 

6. If it feels firm and tight, then it’s alright. When buying roses, gently squeeze the base of the head. Purchase roses with the fewest cracked petals and the tightest heads. Be especially aware of brown mold spots innocently lurking in the head of the American Beauty. Notice the dark edges around these limp buds. Not a good choice!

 

7. Yellow is yucky.  Yellowing leaves and stems are a sure sign that that bouquet is on its last legs.  Another indication that death is imminent is slime.  Watch for that on the stems.  Also look for the freshest cut on the stems.  A dark ring around the base means the cut is old and the flower hasn’t been able to drink as much as it wants to.

8. If the petals look faded, the flowers are dated. Look for flowers with bright, vibrant colors. 

9. If its pollen is fallen, its Maker is callin’. Don’t buy flowers with loose pollen on the petals (like lilies).

10. Once you’ve made your purchase, get it home as soon as possible and follow these guidelines:

I know this seems like a lot to remember, but it will be worth it.  Why not jot down the highlighted phrases on a 3 x 5 index card and slip it into your purse or wallet as a handy reference when shopping.  And you can print Tip 10 and tape it to the inside of the cupboard where you keep your vases!

Here's another online puzzle just for fun: Don't forget to come back. Just hit the back button!

You can find all of this information, PLUS step-by-step instructions for creating almost 60 arrangements in my brand new Book and Ebook! You'll love it! And so will anyone who receives it as a gift - it's fun, original and truly the gift that keeps on giving!

Designing using layers

Believe it or not, there is a system to many flower arrangements, especially those colorful, spring bouquets that we love to receive. Professional florists use layers:

Layer 1- line foliage
Layer 2 - round foliage
Layer 3 - line flowers
Layer 4 - mass flowers
Layer 5 - focal flowers
Layer 6 - filler material

This is an overview of how layers work. I'll show you how to use actual materials on the Step-by-Step page.

1. Line foliage is usually long and tapered and used to create the size and shape of your arrangement. Examples are leather leaf fern, ruscus, forsythia, myrtle and huckleberry. There are lots of others. Start by making a grid across the top of your vase with florist's tape and create a triangle with your foliage. Always point your materials toward an imaginary X in the center of the container.

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2. Round foliage has more bulk than line foliage and helps to create a "nest" for your flowers. You could use salal (lemon leaf), eucalyptus, ivy, camelia, euanymus, pitisporum, etc. Take a look in your own back yard. You probably have lots of great foliage material and it's free! Don't just concentrate on bushes and shrubs; some tree branches make wonderful greens for your flowers.


3. Just like it sounds, line flowers are long and tapered and, along with your foliage, they help to define the overall shape of your arrangement.  These could be unopened hybrid tea rose buds, snapdragons, larkspur or delphinium, gladiola, liatris, bells of Ireland, tuberose, or calla lilies, just to name a few... there are others.


4. Mass flowers are smaller than the focal flowers, although, depending on your design, they could be considered your focal flower. Most flowers fall into this category.   Examples would be roses, smaller mums, carnations, lisianthus, iris, daffodils, daisies, ranunculus, anemones, miniature gerberas, stock, viburnum, etc.

5. Focal flowers are your large, “roundish” flowers that immediately catch your attention in an arrangement.  They could be hydrangea, sunflowers, lilies, cabbage roses, gerbera daisies, peonies, dahlias, zinnias, spider or large pom pom chrysanthemums, anthurium, protea, amaryllis and several others. Think Big!

6. Filler material is not always needed, but usually used to provide additional texture or airy-ness.   You could choose baby’s breath, misty blue (limonium), solidaster, wax flower, teaberry, alstromeria, Queen Anne’s lace, rice flower, statice, or safflower.   There are many types, even pods and grasses.

So how do we turn all of these layers into an attractive arrangement with real materials? Let's go to the Step-by-Step Flower Arranging page.

You can find all of this information, PLUS step-by-step instructions for creating almost 60 easy floral arrangements in my brand new Book and Ebook! You'll love it! And so will anyone who receives it as a gift - it's fun, original and truly the gift that keeps on giving!