Happy August! I gathered some flowers and floral arranging tips from the archives for a little flower therapy! I like to pick up flowers at the Farmers Market in the summer for a flower fix. . .a cheery bouquet is a guaranteed spirit lifter for the summer heat and humidity and the August blues.
You can combine flowers from the garden and grocery store to create your arrangement. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of affordable fresh flowers if you’re lucky enough to have one near you. If you don’t have flowers blooming in your garden, don’t overlook the foliage or berries from shrubs, or branches you may have in your yard or that can be collected from a vacant wooded lot or greenway in your neighborhood.
Sometimes I start with foliage as the framework before adding the flowers, especially if they’re the same variety or size, like with this Chick-fil-A Bouquet for Mother’s Day.
Other times I start with the flowers first and arrange as I go.
I like to add fruit and/or vegetables to mix with the flowers in an arrangement. They add texture and interest to your arrangement and you need fewer flowers.
When it comes to arranging flowers, think outside the vase. A vintage tea kettle can make a charming container to fill with garden flowers.
Or an enamel bucket can lend a cottage or farmhouse touch to the porch with an easy method for arranging flowers and greenery from the garden, using a wide mouth vase or smaller bucket nested inside a larger one.
To keep cut hydrangeas from wilting, use the ‘alum-dipping method’, dipping 1/2 inch of each stem in alum powder, found on the spice aisle at the grocery store.
Experiment and combine materials that might seem like an unlikely pairing, like blue hydrangeas and ‘Jack Be Little’ pumpkins, in this Just Because arrangement.
Flowers are naturally beautiful, so let your materials be your guide and do what’s pleasing to your eye, rather than following ‘rules’ when it comes to arranging.
Use a piece of chicken wire to provide support for flower stems in your arrangement. Hosta leaves between the walls of the glass vases hide the mechanics of the chicken wire and the flower stems for this alfresco garden table.
Or put those plastic netting bags to work that produce comes in, usually citrus and avocados, to make flower arranging easy with a Garden Bouquet DIY and Recycling Flower Arranging Hack.
The plastic netting bag is strong and flexible, making it a perfect material to support your flower stems, and to upcycle and reuse, instead of throwing it away.
Here are a few guidelines to help extend the life of your flowers in your arrangement:
Cut your flowers and greenery in the morning when the stems are fully hydrated and not water-stressed from the heat.
Strip the leaves that would be below the waterline, removing the excess foliage, and damaged petals and recut the stems at a 45 degree angle for maximum water uptake. Place them in a clean bucket with room temperature water and some floral preservative to condition them and let them sit several hours or ideally, overnight.
If you’re using wet floral foam, use the “float soak” method and place the floral foam bricks on the top of a solution of fresh water and/or floral preservative. Let the floral foam gradually absorb the water until it’s fully saturated. Plunging the floral foam in the water traps air bubbles and will prohibit the transfer of water from the foam to the flower stems.
If you don’t have any commercial floral preservative to add to your water, you can make your own to help your cut flowers last longer. There are a lot of homemade solutions and theories about adding aspirin, vinegar, vodka, bleach, sugar, and pennies to your vase water to prolong the life of your flowers.
Here’s an easy formula I use to help prolong the life of cut flowers:
Mix one part lemon-lime soda (regular, not diet) to three parts water, along with 1/2 teaspoon of bleach. The citric acid in the soda helps the water travel up the stems to the flowers more rapidly, while providing food in the form of sugar. The bleach helps fight the growth of bacteria, allowing the flowers to stay hydrated and fresh.
Change your vase water every two days, recutting your stems when you change your water.
Playing with flowers brings enjoyment to yourself and to others. . .
I thrilled to have a surprise visitor drop by while I was taking photos of my flowers . . .
A monarch butterfly stopped by for a little nectar sipping from the magenta celosia.
I was all aflutter over a second monarch butterfly sighting in a week!
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
Enjoy the bloom!