Liz’s top tips for flower arranging
Want to try flower arranging but not sure where to start? The sight and scent of beautiful blooms can be so uplifiting and a floral bouquet is an easy way to transform a room. With the warmer months now on their way, gardens are bursting to life with flowers. Bringing fresh-cut flowers into the home is one of the great joys of the spring and summer months.
Here, Liz explains her top tips for getting started with flower arranging – whatever your experience or ability.
Top tips for flower arranging
- If you receive a bunch of flowers, the first thing you need to do is strip away all the lower foliage so just the bare stems are in the water. Any leaves will quickly make the water go murky and the flowers will not last as long.
- Use a sharp knife or scissors to make a 3-5cm split at the end of any woody stems (such as foliage or roses) to increase their uptake of water. This improves longevity. Trim the ends of all flower stems to give them a nice fresh drinking channel. Cutting along the diagonal increases the stem’s surface area, so the flower can absorb more water.
- Odd numbers arrange better, so choose 3, 5 or 7 of your favourite large ‘statement’ flowers (such as roses, hydrangeas or lilies). Surround with a greater odd number of supporting stems (such as tulips, freesias or lisianthus).
- Add a teaspoonful of ‘flower food’ to the vase to help increase flower-life. Good additions include lemon juice or vinegar, both mildly acidifying which helps counteract bacterial growth in alkaline tap water.
- Don’t be afraid to cut down long stems. One of my favourite tricks for a dining table is to cut a long amaryllis stem down to just 10cms and place on its own into a tiny vase, arranging a group either as a circular table arrangement, or in a line down the table. Even just a single amaryllis bloom displayed in this way looks good (put in a warm place to encourage opening). The advantage of low table arrangements is that they don’t block dinner party conversation. I also like tiny vases of mixed small flowers placed on dressing tables, bedside tables, in bathrooms and even on my desk to add a cheerful freshness.
- Some of the most striking arrangements are made with single colours. I’m a big fan of all-white flower arrangements, including white peonies, roses, lilies, freesias and tulips. Gypsophila, otherwise known as baby’s breath, is a mass of tiny white flowers that usefully fills all-white flower arrangements and is also a good, long-lasting and inexpensive option for flower arranging.
- Last but not least – always include at least one scented flower variety to scent the room with natural fragrance. My own favourites include freesia, lilac, lavender and dianthus (pinks). I love receiving flowers from The Real Flower Company, many of which are old-fashioned fragrant rose varieties, especially grown in Kenya for their superb scent.
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- Strip away all the lower foliage – leaving just bare stems – so the water doesn’t go murky
- A drop of lemon juice or vinegar in your vase help counteract bacterial growth in alkaline tap water