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flower arranging tips

Flower Arranging Tips – Floral Foam

Hi There,

Did you know that Floral Foam comes in different varieties?  Many different varieties including Standard, Instant, Springtime, All Purpose, Extra Firm and Designer.  These are fresh floral foam varieties and each variety has a different density.  The Springtime is the softest and is meant for soft stemmed (Spring) flowers such as tulips and daffodils.  The Standard or All Purpose is a medium density and made to accomodate most flower choices.  The Extra Firm and Designer foam is the heaviest density and is meant to hold heavy branches such as Manzanita or Curly Willow.  Most foam comes in blocks, called bricks and are about the same size as a brick.  The Designer Floral Foam is super BIG, 6″ x 9″ x 12.75″.  I use the designer foam a lot.  It can be cut down to smaller sizes, but if you are using a lot of flower stems or really heavy stems, this is the only way to go.  I use this floral foam whenever I am making LARGE floral pieces.

Bricks of styrofoam can also be purchased for use with silk flowers.  They are usually the same size as regular floral foam bricks 3″ x 4″ x 8″ and can also be cut down if needed.

Flower Arranging Tips – Frogs

Cymbidium Orchid Stem in Cylinder Vase

A small frog was used to hold the cymbidium orchid in place

Hi There,

You may or may not know about flower arranging frogs.  They have been around for a LONG TIME.  Over the years they have changed a bit.  Typically what you can buy now is a heavy round base with lots of nails sticking up.  The frog goes on the bottom of your vase or container and you stick the flower stem ends into the nails.  The nails hold the flowers in place, exactly where you want them to go.  A very old fashioned frog, you may be able to find at garage sales, is a glass round base with holes in it.  It works similar to the nail frogs, except you put each flower stem into one of the holes in the glass frog.  Martha Stewart has dedicated pages in her magazine to frogs and the different varieties and how to use them.  If you are using a frog, you don’t have to use floral foam.  So it is a way to get your flowers to do what you want them to do without using floral foam.  They work the best in a clear glass vase where you want to see the flower stems.  The frogs come in different sizes and are always weighted.  This is so they stay at the bottom of the vase or container.

If you are trying to put flowers in a vase under water, it is imperative that you use a frog or the flowers will float to the top of the water!

Flower Arranging Tip – Cleaning Vases and Buckets

Hi There,

I’m often asked if there is something special that needs to be done to clean vases and buckets used for floral arrangements.  And, the answer is YES.  I like to use Clorox Clean Up for all my vases and buckets.  I also use a toilet brush (only used for my buckets) and a dish washing brush (only used for my vases) to clean my vases.

You can also make a solution yourself of a watered down bleach.  Just use bleach with a little water added to it.  Rinse out the buckets and vases really well and let them dry naturally or dry them out with a towel or paper towel.

Orchid Plants

Hi There,

About a month ago, I showed you how to dress up store bought orchid plants.  In the video I mentioned that the orchid plants last a long time…specifically, I said you can count on at least 4 weeks of bloom time.  I wanted to report to you that the two orchid plants I used are still in bloom a month later.  The purple dendrobium orchid plant is entirely in bloom and a few blossoms are starting to fall off.  The yellow oncidium orchid plant is also still in bloom, but one entire stem has died now, meaning the flowers have dropped off the stem.  There is still one stem in full bloom.  I like to give these plants as gifts because they last so long!  Plus, most people view orchids are “prestigous” flowers.  If you are willing to baby these plants, they WILL bloom again.  But, typically, these types of plants only bloom once a year.  So, if that is your desire, to get them to bloom again, I would invest in an orchid food and follow the instructions that come with the orchid food.  Usually, it is suggested that you feed them once a month.  But, check the label of the food you buy, because it could be different.

Think Outside of the Box

Hi There,

So, when you are thinking about flower arranging, there is absolutely no good reason not to think about unusual containers for holding flowers.  I mean things like shoes, boxes, jewelry boxes, jars, drinking glasses of all shapes and sizes including margarita glasses, martini glasses, wine glasses and specialty shaped glasses.  Just remember if choosing a container like a shoe, you’ll have to use a liner or something else to hold the floral foam and water….you wouldn’t put floral foam or water right into a shoe….did I need to say that???

Dressing Up a Party

Hi There,

So you decided to throw a party?  There are a few things you can do that will heighten the enjoyment of your guests at your party.  I find it helps to come up with a theme.   A theme can be a color scheme, a menu (like Mexican, Thai, Asian inspired) or travel inspired (think European vacation), celebration inspired (New Year’s Eve, Birthday, Anniversary), focused on an event (Academy Awards, movie premiere) or any other ideas you might come up with…there really are unlimited sources of ideas for your party.

A great dining experience isn’t only about the food…the environment can really heighten the enjoyment of what is on a plate.

Make sure to have your table set ahead of time.  I’ve heard it said that people eat with their eyes first.  So make it a beautiful table.  I’m a florist, so of course I think every table should have a centerpiece.  However, the centerpieces doesn’t have to be fresh flowers.  Candles, fruits, vegetables, greenery, beautiful containers, pumpkins, gourds, shells….you get the point, all can be used to decorate a table.

When possible, the table settings should match the style of the food.  Fine porcelain and heavy ceramics create very different expectations in your guests.

Ambiance is not only what you can see, but what you can smell and hear as well.  Good music that reflects the theme of the party will help set the mood.

Make sure there are plenty of beverages for all your guests tastes.  Again, there should be beverages that go with the food being served.  So if you are doing a Mexican theme, serve Mojitos and Margaritas, not mint juleps.

It is also a great idea to serve food that can be prepared ahead of time so that you can enjoy your guests.  There is nothing worse than being stuck in the kitchen cooking and serving food while everyone else is having a good time.  Serve the food on nice platters at different heights.  You can accomplish this by using boxes and bowls turned upside down underneath a table cloth…that is how they do it at hotels and restaurants!  Garnish the platters with herbs and themed decorations as well.

Flower Arranging Tips – Things that Make Your Life Easier

Hi There,

In previous posts I’ve talked about floral foam and frogs.  Other “mechanics” that will make your life easier include things like floral tape, liners and pins.

Foral tape is used to hold floral foam in a container.  It can also be used to hold flower stems together, as with a bridal bouquet.  You can use floral tape to make a grid on the top of your vases, which allows you to position your flower stems where you want them to be and keeps them there.

Liners often come with a basket or similar type container.  You can also buy liners in different sizes to fit different containers and you can make your own liners using a heavy gauge plastic.  Either way, you would use a liner in a container that would not normally hold water.  The use of the liner allows you to make a floral arrangment in a container that won’t leak.  I use liners in baskets, terra cotta pots, galvanized buckets and unusual containers like boxes and shoes.

There are two different kinds of floral pins that come to mind.  The first is called a “greening pin” and is used to hold things in place in a floral arrangement.  An example would be the use of greening pins to hold moss in place.  The other type of pin is a boutonniere or corsage pin and they are used to hold a boutonniere or corsage in place while being worn on someone’s clothing.

The Ellen Show 9-13-10: White Mini Callas

Hi There,

Did any of you see the Ellen Show yesterday?  It was her Season Eight opener and was filmed on the set next to the MTV Awards.  The funny thing to me is, they made the set look a lot like her normal set at Warner Bros., including the centerpiece.  She had the white mini callas in a long/low glass vase with ti leaves lining the inside of the vase.

Justin Bieber is guest on Ellen Show

White Mini Calla Centerpiece on Ellen Show

This was one of the first centerpieces I showed you how to do back in May 2010.  Head over to the video previews and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page…this is the third video from the bottom if you want to leave how to make this centerpiece.  This is super easy to do, but it does take a lot of flower stems!

Flower Arranging Tips – Changing the Water

Hi There,

I’m often asked how often someone should change the water in a vase arrangement.  The answer is every day!  At a minimum, change the water every other day.  If you really want to make sure your flowers last, give them a fresh cut at the same time you change the water.

If you have a floral arrangement in floral foam, you don’t change the water, instead you add water.  Depending upon the temperature conditions where you are, you may need to add water every day.  The goal is to keep the floral foam saturated because that is what is delivering the water source to the flower.

Flowers need water like we need air!

Flower Arranging Tips – Process Your Flowers

Hi There,

This is a step you should never overlook, and I’ll bet most of you do overlook this step!  When you get flowers, either from your yard, the grocery store, etc., make sure to process them.  At a minimum, give them a fresh cut, remove any foliage that will fall below the water line and put them into water with flower preservative.  If at all possible, dip them in a hydrating solution after the fresh cut and before putting them into water iwth preservative.  My favorite hydrating liquid is called “Quick Dip” and it is made by Floralife.  In an absolute ideal world, you would then put your flowers in a refrigerator overnight….I know, this is a step you will probably never do.  I caution you though, if you are attempting to do a big floral job, like for a wedding, this is a step that should not be bypassed.

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