If you are like me, you just can’t wait for spring to come with all the bursts of color that it brings. So the next best thing to Spring is to brighten up your house with flowers! And one flower in particular always seems to signify Spring to everybody and that is the Tulip. While they are most abundant in Spring, white, pink and red tulips are pretty much available all year long now. If there is another color you want, just check with your wholesaler or florist. There’s a pretty good chance they can get it for you. They may be coming in from other countries, but there is a steady supply of them all year long.
Believe it or not, tulips are part of the lily family. Close relatives include lilies, lily of the valley, Gloriosa lilies, hyacinths, grape hyacynths and star of Bethlehem. Tulips are classified into 15 divisions, but the most popular as cut flowers are single, double (peony flowered), parrot (ruffled and multicolored), lily flowered (pointed petals) and fringed (serrated petal edges).
Tulips are an interesting flower in that, they continue to grow even after they’ve been cut from the plant. Tulips bend and reach for light as they continue to grow. It is not uncommon for a tulip to grow up to an inch a day! And if you are looking to add a splash of spring to your table or hutch, tulips make great centerpieces. Here at Flower Arranging 101 I have several wonderful videos using Tulips.
MiniCallaBowl-CaboWhile in Cabo San Lucas in Dec 2012 I visited the Mini Calla Lily farm, Golden State Bulb Growers De Baja. I took one of the bunches of mini callas and created a video for you, using the mini callas to trim a decorative bowl that we had in our hotel room. I hope you enjoy this FREE video.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
A florist typically will use a florists’ knife to do just about ALL floral arranging, with the exception being the use of clippers for heavy materials like large branches. However, as a hobbyist floral arranger (YOU), I recommend that you use CLIPPERS as your primary tool. It is very important that your tools be clean and sharp. Take care of your tools! After each use, clean the blades and put away. I like the straight edge clippers the best. I use primarily the clippers, then a floral knife (you can use a sharp kitchen knife), wire cutters and scissors as my primary tools. Watch my flower arranging videos for design tips and instructions for all kinds of flower arrangements.
So I know that when you think of flower arranging, you immidiately think of a vase as the vessel to hold the flowers. And, of course, a vase is a great vessel to hold your flowers. But, I would like to encourage you to think outside of the box when it comes to flower arranging containers. Besides vases, think about, dishes, ceramics, baskets, paper boxes, fabric covered boxes, tea cups, drinking glasses….what can you come up with that would be unusual and functional? I’ve used golf shoes, jewelry boxes, terra cotta pots, plastic outdoor glasses, ash trays, bowls….really the possibilities are endless.