When myself and Tori Legge of Stirling Mills Designs were tasked with doing a presentation for our gardeners club in New Canaan, we tried to think of a topic that would be useful and fun for everyone. Knowing our audience and being flower-lovers ourselves, we decided to put together 5 easy arrangements that are beautiful, simple and won’t break the bank. We spoke to Steve Geruso, owner of East Coast Wholesale Florist in Norwalk where we sourced our flowers, who summed up our mindset nicely when he said, “Flowers are Mother Nature on a stick—you don’t need to over-think them, and you can’t ruin them.” Read on to see how you can bring the outdoors in, and for some great advice on how to care for flowers:
1) Orchid Trio: This vignette has a day and a night version. For daytime: Use three cylindrical glass vases of varying heights and fill each about one-third full with water. Clip one Cymbidium orchid stalk and submerge it in the water so the orchid nearly reaches the top of the vase. Repeat for the other 2 vases. For night: Fill each vase with water, leaving 2 inches open at the top. Submerge orchids in water, then place a floating candle in each vase. [Similar vases may be purchased at Pier One, Michael’s, Home Goods, or any glassware vendor. You can get floating candles from Michael’s or Amazon.com.]
2) Purple Reign: Hyacinths are uniquely-shaped and have an amazingly clean, heady fragrance. For this arrangement, take 1-2 bunches of hyacinths, cut the stems and place flowers in a row in your vase, leaving around 3-4 inches of the bloom exposed. Next, clip the stem end of an Aspidistra leaf, fold the leaf in half and tuck it into the front part of the vase, slightly off-center. [Vase from Winston Flowers in Greenwich]
3) Boxed in: Ever wonder what to do with the lovely plants that you receive in those not-so-lovely plastic pots? House them in a gorgeous container made of birch bark, moss or a reclaimed wooden box, like this one. Top with sheet moss for a casual chic vibe, and if you need to dress up a long dining table, use three of these arrangements. [Reclaimed wooden box from East Coast Wholesale Florist]
4) Succulent Style: Succulent plants are, by nature, super low-maintenance, making them a year-round favorite. Take a concrete bowl or planter and fill it about two-thirds full with dirt, stones or pebbles. Next, choose several different succulent plants that vary in color, shape and height, and place gently into the dirt or stones. Water infrequently. [Planter from Pound Ridge Nursery]
5) Go Green: White and green hues make the perfect neutral arrangement for any event or location. Line the inside of a vase with an Aspidistra leaf or a waterproof Aspidistra ribbon. Cut down the stem of one white hydrangea and place in the center of the vase. Then, work around the hydrangea, placing a white tulip, 2-3 Eryngium Thistles (purple and green spiky ones) and a few Green Trick Dianthus (the green fuzzy ones) throughout. Stick a few of the blooms directly down through the hydrangea for a pretty layering effect. [Vase from East Coast Wholesale]
Geruso offered these helpful tips to help keep your blooms at their freshest:
- Flowers should always be cut on an angle with a sharp knife—never scissors—in order to give the stem the greatest surface area from which to draw water.
- Always use lukewarm water for all flowers, regardless the type. Cold water, contrary to popular belief, isn’t the best for blooms because air bubbles can form and block the flower’s ability to draw water up through the stem.
- Leave as much foliage on the flower above the water line as possible—this will help draw water to the head (top) of the flower. Clip all foliage below the water line to avoid a buildup of bacteria that is harmful to flowers.