This weekend I had the chance to get a few flower market bouquets to arrange for a function at my church. When I was a florist I'd frequently hear people complain about how to work with the bouquets their husband would bring home. They never look right just as they are but they didn't have the ability to rearrange them and make them look good either. Some girls would rather their husband not bring them flowers at all if they had to arrange them in a vase themselves.
But not everyone wanted to buy their arrangements already vased either, since most of us have half a dozen of vases at home already. So what to do?
Create hand held bouquets that are tied with string so that when you give the flowers to someone all they have to do is set the bouquet in a vase and clip the string for a fabulous vase arrangement. It's fun, easy, and also solves the problem of how to design with one of those pre-made bouquets.With this in mind I snapped a few pics as I was working on these hand-tied's for church and have a little "how to" for you. Enjoy!
How to Make Hand-Tied Bouquets from Market Bunches of Flowers
What you need:
One or more market bouquets of fresh fall flowers
Extra floral material clipped from your yard- I had some dry hydrangea and some spirea branches
Waxed thread or string
A clippers of some sort (I use Japanese floral shears)
Step One: Open up your bouquet/s and seperate all the flowers so that you know what you have to work with. Usually these mixed bouquets come with a couple of focal flowers (like sunflowers, roses, dahlia's), a couple of tall flowers (eucalyptus, ruscus, the cattail, liatris), some multi stemmed flowers (like mums), some filler flowers (like solidago, mini asters, baby's breath, or waxflower), and a few greens (examples of greens is the salal leaves that are usually included, or seeded eucalyptus, or fern). Lay them all in separate piles on the counter in front of you.
Step Two: Take off the leaves from the bottom 2/3 of the flower. It really is important not to have any flower leaves in the vase water. Not only does it muck up the water but it really does shorten the life span of the bouquet. Just a note here: During the week if your water starts to get a greenish tint then change the water. If you don't have more preservative to add don't worry. Fresh CLEAN water is the best thing you can do even if there's nothing in it.
Step Three: Pick up the center flower. I usually use the largest or bulkiest flower head first. In this case it's the dried hydrangea.Hold it in your hand and then add one or two of the taller flowers. Hold it in your hand next to the hydrangea. Then give the bouquet a quarter of a turn clockwise and lay one of your focal flowers diagonally across the stems you're already holding. Your stems should look a bit like you're creating an "x". Give the bouquet another slight turn in your hand. Through out this process you never set the bouquet down.
Step Four: Continue to pick up flowers and add them stem by stem to your bouquet. Always adding them at an angle and laying them across the stems in your hand. What I'll do is add a focal flower, turn. Then add a filler flower and turn. Then add a spray flower, and turn. Continue working around the bouquet adding your stems.
Step Five: When you've all the flowers you want to include arranged in your hand you then want to add your "collar" of greens. This isn't necessary but is a really pretty way of finishing off your bouquet. Continue in the method used above to add the flowers but start to add your stems of salal or seeded eucalyptus as you turn the bouquet. I like adding in some wispy, woody, or sticky-outy stems at this point. These aren't usually included in the flower bouquet but are usually available seperately. I usually grab something out of my yard though. Tall grasses, beargrass, spirea branches, or forsythia all look great. Alternate these with the traditional greens that might have bee included in your market bunch.
Step Six: When done adding greens, open up your grip a bit and let your bouquet fall a little loose in your hand. Pull or push any stray stems into your bouquet to make a pleasing shape. Add any additional stems to fill out, or any delicate accent pieces now. Hold tight again. Using your waxed thread wrap around your stems a few times as you're holding it in your hand and then pull tight and set the bouquet down to tie. Do not loose the shape of your bouquet as you're doing this. Then, holding your bouquet over a garbage use your shears or a sharp scissor/clippers to trim off the extra stem from your bouquet. Cut all
the stems flush and even to desired length.
Step Seven: If you're doing several bouquets like this you'll want to put the finished bouquets in some water right after you clip them. You can transport them out of water but give them a fresh cut before they go in the vase. Also, before you vase them you'll want to snip your thread and them plunk them into the vase filled with lukewarm water. Add preservative to this water as well. Then, step back and take a look at your bouquet, turn it around and see if it needs a little final "finessing". A little tuck there, a little pull there, maybe you want to move something to craft the arrangement better. Then, set in place and enjoy!!!