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Floral Arranging Basics

Floral Arranging Basics

Learn how to create a beautiful bouquet with tips and tricks from an expert florist.

How do you put together a floral arrangement that looks effortless and polished but still reflects your personal style? Alison Westlake, the owner and florist behind Coriander Girl, reveals her simple-yet-timeless ideas for creating your own unique floral setting. No special equipment needed – just gorgeous blooms and everyday household supplies.

Materials

  • Vase of your choice (about the size of a 32 oz. mason jar)
  • 5–7 large blooms
  • Large cluster of greenery (at least 5 stems)
  • 5–7 smaller blooms, berries or branches
  • Tape or wire
  • Scissors
  1. Find the perfect vase. You don’t have to limit yourself to traditional glass or crystal; choose a vessel that suits your personal style. It could be a white ironstone creamer or a vintage tin pitcher. Be sure to clean thoroughly before use, as bacteria can lead to the early demise of your arrangement. Fill vase with room-temperature water.
  2. Start layering the greenery. This step will create the overall shape of the arrangement – think of it as the nest within which your blooms will sit. Use wire or tape to keep your greenery in place. Using different varieties of greenery will create texture. Westlake suggests seeded eucalyptus, parvifolia, ferns or begonia leaves.
    Start layering the greenery
  3. Add larger, focal flowers like lisianthus, peonies, mums, hydrangea, amaryllis or David Austin garden roses. Place them at varied heights much like you would find flowers growing naturally in the wild.
    Add larger, focal flowers
  4. Add smaller blooms, berries and branches – hypericum berries and dogwood stems add both texture and colour. These smaller highlights give your arrangement a whimsical, unstructured feel; asymmetry is a big trend right now in floral arranging. For the smaller blossoms, try astrantia, Queen Anne’s lace, wax flowers and lilac.
    Add smaller blooms, berries and branches
  5. Feel more than you think. With just a few simple techniques and tools, you can master your own personal style of floral arranging. Experiment with flowers as often as possible so you get a feel for what you like. Every few days, refresh the water and re-trim the stems to maximize the life of your new arrangement.