How to make your own flower arrangements

Not much more acutely brings home the reality of a global economy like fresh flowers. More than half our fresh flowers arrive from far flung countries in cardboard boxes at the florist’s back door. Stems are cut on an angle for a larger surface area to absorb water while they await a buyer, like you! Once purchased, it’s easy to arrange them in a way that will brighten your home, day, mood, environment, office or best friend.

Flower trends often stem from home decorating styles. Earth tones and neutral shades dominate new construction interiors, so any color fits in, especially the vibrant color petals which have evolved in the last decade. Cottage, traditional, casual, transitional and rustic styles are ever present, and many arrangements take on a simple garden look – like someone just picked the flowers and tousled them into a basket or glass container. Geometry contributes to flower arranging schemes. Some bouquets need a more vertical presence, others horizontal, S-shaped, triangular, oval or crescent-shaped. Flowers can be strategically arranged to maximize a sense of height, depth or width. And you can do it in a few simple steps with a few simple supplies.

To set yourself up as your own floral designer, begin with three vases – small, medium and large. These can be real vases, jars or pottery containers, anything watertight. Stock some floral foam from a craft store, along with scissors and floral tape. The cool thing with flowers is that they are beautiful all by themselves, so it’s easy to pull together a bouquet in short order.

Some tricks of the trade employ a foundation of greens or other natural elements at the base of the arrangement. Cut a suitable piece of foam and insert it into the center bottom of your vase. Then encircle it generously with greenery, twigs, stones, sand, little pinecones, small shells, cranberries at holiday time, vines and wispy things like a feather. What you use depends on the final look you want to achieve. This is your foundation. Wet the foam. This retains moisture and gives the flower nourishment to stay in shape. Using flowers with sturdy stems, cut each stem on an angle at different heights and poke them into the foam. Insert greenery, dried twigs or small, seasonal branches. This is not a precision exercise, but one of creativity. Your flower arrangement will be one-of-a-kind. Unique. Independent. Unusual. Like you.

Fruits like lemons and stones look nice in water and can form a foundation in place of foam. You can color the water or put a small vase inside a larger glass one. Sea moss creates a balmy, beachy look. Wrap a large leaf around the foam inside a big glass vase or around the vase interior with a foundation inside it that’s camouflaged with natural items. If you have a variety of vases, cluster a few on the kitchen counter or in the center of your table. Another classy, floral arranging tip is to use a variety of flowers in all the same color. This makes a rich, monochromatic display.

Fresh flowers are lasting longer and have become a décor staple in many homes year-round due to availability. Your little floral department can be housed in a plastic tub with a lid or inside half a cupboard or on a shelf in the garage. It doesn’t take up much space, and you can be your own sassy little flower arranger and brighten your home in minutes with fresh flowers.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the blossoms came from; what matters is that you can simply and easily arrange them into something beautiful. Like you.