My weekly grocery list includes the usual staples such as milk, eggs, and bread. However my list always includes a personal must have: fresh flowers. I love to display flowers on my kitchen table because they instantly spruce up the space and make me feel happy as I work there.
The pretty pastel petals of spring and the bright blossoms of summer are gone, but that does not mean you should forsake fresh flowers. The fall ushers in a new palette full of vibrant oranges, deep reds, and cheery yellows that can be found in chrysanthemums, carnations, and roses. Follow these directions to design a fantastic floral arrangement that will make your Thanksgiving table shine. Let’s get started!
Choose the right vessel. I find flowers with wide full blossoms look better in short vessels while long flowers with tight petals are better showcased in tall vessels. When choosing a vessel, think outside the box. Old coffee cans, pitchers, candy jars, and even pasta jars make excellent containers and add charm to your arrangement. Take advantage of the fall harvest and consider using a hollowed out pumpkin to hold flowers. Just make sure the vessel you’re using is well cleaned.
Select flowers. You can purchase flowers at the supermarket, but whenever possible I prefer to purchase flowers from local farm markets or roadside stands. I spotted the gorgeous sunflowers pictured to the left at my favorite roadside produce stand. When choosing flowers, I opt for those with different textures and heights as they will create an interesting arrangement.
Cut the stems. Begin by cutting an inch or so from the stem. My grandfather says that cutting stems on an angle allows the flowers to absorb water more efficiently. Don’t get scissor happy as you trim or you’ll end up with flowers that are too short for your intended arrangement. I’ve learned to trim little by little until I reach the desired stem length. When cutting, be sure to snip off excess leaves so they will not sit it the water. Submerged leaves rot quickly and create moldy water that kills flower.
Fill the vessel halfway with lukewarm water and add flower food. Flowers purchased in the store come with a packet of food to be sprinkled in the water. These packets usually contain an acid to open up the flower’s stem and allow water to travel up, a sugar for feeding that encourages blossoms to spread and helps flowers maintain color, and a purifying agent to help keep the water clean. If you purchase flowers from a farm stand, you will need to make your own flower food. Simply combine 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon bleach, and 1 quart warm water. Place your flowers in this solution. Use fresh solution each time you change the water in your vessel.
Arrange the flowers carefully. Add large flowers first as they tend to be the most difficult to place. Add smaller flowers next. Finally, use greenery to fill in the gaps in the arrangement. Again just be sure to trim excess leaves that fall below the water line. As you work, inspect your arrangement from all sides so you can achieve an even and attractive distribution of flowers. If you have a lazy susan, you can rest your vase on it for easy turning. Take your time as you arrange. Once your flower arrangement satisfies you, place it in an area without direct sunlight and away from vents. Change the water every other day and trim the stems to help the flowers last long.
Creating your own floral arrangements is well worth the effort. You save money by doing it yourself and ensure that you end up with an arrangement that suits you. The more often you arrange, the better you’ll become!
© 2013, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.