Valentine flowers are a must, even bigger than chocolates. Ready-made floral arrangements are costly. Cash-and-carry unmade flower bunches are a wise buy and it’s easy to make your own arrangement. These bouquets become special when assembled into a design that goes beyond sticking them in a water-filled vase.
Materials Needed. Begin by making a trip to the floral department for loose flowers or pre-packaged bunches. Two or three different shapes of flowers are best. One type should be long and spike-shaped like gladiolus or snapdragons. The second type should be large and rounded, such as lilies or roses. A few sprigs of green foliage are usually included with the flowers.
A block of Oasis wettable florist’s foam from the floral department or hobby store will provide support to keep flowers in the desired position. In a vase with no support, flowers flop around. A shallow bowl, such as a cereal bowl, will hold the foam and be a water reservoir. Pruning shears are needed.
- Cut the block of florist’s foam into a shape that will fit inside the bowl. The foam should extend above the rim by 2 or 3 inches.
- Place the foam in a bucket of water until it sinks indicating that it’s thoroughly soaked.
- The weight of the soaked foam will usually keep it in place, but you can also criss-cross a thin strip of tape across the foam and down onto the bowl.
- Decide the shape of the arrangement. This is the most important step. Be bold. Instead of a rounded “bouquet” go for a design that has a definite line. Easy shapes are triangles, crescents, and lazy s-curves. The following steps build the flowers into the pattern you’ve chosen.
- Establish the height and width “skeleton” using long, spike-shaped flowers. For example, form a triangle by placing three linear gladiolus flowers radiating out from the bowl. Cut stems to the desired length and insert into the foam an inch or two. Or design a crescent by placing curving flowers into a moon-shape.
- Next, fill in the background with greenery and small flowers, always following the line shape you established.
- Now we’re ready for the eye-catcher called the focal point. It’s the jewel in the crown and is best located in the lower center of the design. All points should seem to radiate out from it. It should protrude out from the arrangement, rather than being nestled within the other flowers to give a 3-D effect. This is the spot for large round prime flowers like lilies or roses. Specimens can be used singly or in a closely-space group of three.
- Fill in gaps with foliage or small flowers. Then add water to the bowl.
- Critique your design. Does it have a definite dramatic line-shape? Do materials appear to radiate out from a central focal point, and is this “eye catcher” located at the lower center of the design. If yes, we’ve done it!
Now I’ll present my wife Mary with the flowers I’ve assembled. The pressure is on, because Mary’s training and experience pre-marriage was in floral design. Even if it’s less than perfect, it’s my Valentine way of thanking her for being patient with a gardener who can never leave home until all the plants are watered and the green beans are picked one last time because I’m concerned they’ll be past prime by the time we return from wherever we’re going.