It’s the beginning of February. As I look out the window, the garden is in the midst of a deep winter sleep. We are well beyond the beauty of the holiday greenery and lights, yet it’s far too early for even the crocuses – the early risers of the garden – to start emerging. What’s needed is a good dose of floral cheer inside the home, I say.
I love arranging flowers, but am often disappointed when I look at the magazines’ ideas for floral arrangements and then go to my local grocery store to try to replicate those ideas. In the magazines I see glorious dahlias and ranunculuses, but in the middle of winter at my local grocery store I see simple roses and perhaps, if I am lucky, a few hydrangeas. I am on a mission to be creative with what is available to me without making a 40-minute trek to the wholesale flower superstore in my area, and to help you, dear reader, do the same.
In February, I start to move away from a white or neutral winter color scheme and start to think about color and the hopes of an early spring. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I am drawn to pinks and reds, and the grocery store floral department is starting to get ready for the Big Day with a plentiful selection of roses.
I started with a round silver ceramic container, which adds shimmer and visual interest to the arrangement. It is only 5” high, which means that the arrangement is low enough that it can easily double as a centerpiece for a dinner party, and, because the container is not clear, I won’t have the flower stems visually distracting from the overall design.
I chose three bunches of flowers from the grocery store: a bouquet of pink roses, a bunch of mixed greens, and a bunch of white waxflowers, which I like to use as an alternate filler because of their dainty little flowers at the end of each stem.
Next, prepare the container by putting the flower preservative that comes with the flowers in the container with some room-temperature water. Take a look at the roses and remove any of the outer petals that have browned or are torn. Then, start with the greenery as the base of your arrangement. Cut the greens down so that the height of the whole stem is about twice the height of the container. Strip the stems of the greens to the height of the lip of the container. We do this so that we don’t have any greenery below the water line (which would start to rot in the water after a while). Put the greenery in the container, crisscrossing the stems across the opening – this creates a grid that will hold up the flowers that we put in later.
Cut the roses down to about the same height as the greenery – the stems don’t have to be exactly the same size. Start to arrange the roses in the container in a rough circular shape. If you have some roses that are a bit taller, you can angle them out to the side a bit. The arrangement will still look a bit “rough” – don’t worry! It will all come together. Have fun with this! It’s flower arranging, not world peace. You can see that my roses are still falling over a bit and clumping at this stage.
Now, we add the waxflowers as our final step. The goal is to separate the clumping of the roses and add a bit of airiness to the design. I take two stems of the waxflowers, cut them to about the height of the roses, and strip as much of the greenery as I can from the bottom half of the stem (again, we are removing the greens so that they don’t rot in the water). Then arrange each “clump” of waxflowers between the roses randomly around the arrangement. At this point, feel free to go back and change the position of any stems that are not falling quite where you want them. If I am planning on using this as a centerpiece on a table, I’ll look at the arrangement from different angles and rearrange accordingly so that one of my guests isn’t looking at the back of the arrangement. And….voila! You are finished!