Flower Arranging Tips

By Daphne Townsend


• Local supermarkets carry wonderful buys on flowers. Try Whole Foods, McCaffreys, and Shop Rite on Route 206.

• When purchasing flowers, beware of stems that have had their leaves removed, the flowers may be old! If the flower is in bud form, it should be fresh. Bruised rose petals may be removed.

• An elastic band may be placed around a tulip to keep it from opening. Add an English copper to the water and it gives strengths to the tulip stems!

• Cut stems at an angle, it allows more water to enter the stem. Roses should be cut under water. When picking garden flowers, it's best to take the water with you! Their stems close quickly in the heat. 

• Pick flowers in the early morning or after 5pm. In the spring, when picking buds to force (forsythia, lilac or quince, etc.), the temperature must be 32 degrees or higher.

• ALWAYS RECUT a stem that you have taken out of oasis and want to put back in another spot. If you cut a stem too short, put a toothpick in the end to make it longer.

• In arrangements using just a few flowers, an odd number is usually more pleasing.

• Determine the front of a flower with the prettiest side facing you, the same applies to branches.

• Peel gladiolas to force open. This can be done CAREFULLY with lilies. Remove pistils from the lilies, they will stain your clothing. (If this happens, do not attempt to remove with water. Let it dry and then brush off.)

• Florists have many types of greens but if you are as Scotch as I am you go to your own or a neighbor's garden. Suggestions: ivy, box, cherry laurel, helmlock, holly, pachysandra, leucothoe and ferns.

• Use "Instant Oasis" and allow it to soak completely. This can take well over an hour! Tape to bowl if necessary.

• Use a CLEAN bowl and CLEAN water. Remove all leaves that might be under water to avoid contamination. This also allows water to go directly to the flower. No side trips to the leaves first.

• Start with greens to form the shape of the arrangement. Next add the flowers using the buds at the top and the larger flowers below. Lighter colors above and darker below. No two flowers should be at the same height!

• Usually your arrangement should be about 1 ½ times the height of the bowl. (This does not apply to many modern arrangement styles such as pave.)

• When using candlesticks an "o-adapter" can be placed in the spot for the candle. Fill this with oasis and place the candle in the center of the oasis–proceed with arrangement.