Fancy Florals for Longer and Less
IT’S PEONY SEASON!! Get in your car and drive to Trader Joe’s RIGHT NOW!!! They literally FLY out of the store (I once begged them to let me buy the last bunch of peonies, which were on display in their bathroom!). If you are lucky enough to come across them at Trader Joe’s for $7.99, you’re lucky enough. It’s better to get a tiny little peony bud than a flower that is already open, as they don’t last more than a few days once open and it’s magical to see their progress.
As Kon Mari says, “ I regularly keep fresh flowers in my home …They serve as reminders to live in the moment and to appreciate beauty as it comes.” Floral arrangements feel like one of those “Carpe Diem” and “Little Luxuries” that can really lighten my day, but obviously I can’t afford to buy an arrangement every week (omg, if that ever happens, I know I will have ARRIVED!), as even small and simple arrangements can cost $80-$100 delivered from places like Bouqs and Farmgirl.
Here are the best steps you can take to get fancy-ass-looking floral arrangements for UNDER $20! AND make them last longer! Trader Joe’s usually has one or two types of florals that work and I have even found really special and beautiful flowers at Safeway (big name grocery store), although they will cost a few extra shekels.
The goal is to keep it simple, so if the flowers are big enough (peonies, sunflowers) you can just get one bunch of that flower. If they are smaller flowers, a mix of 1-2 kinds plus some green is a good amount. Less is more and Less also costs less.
Shannon Covey has a great tip: “Always make sure the stems aren’t dry. Sometimes store workers don’t fill with enough water, or people don’t set them back in all the way.”
When you get home, hold up the flowers to your vase. You want the heads of the flowers to be 2-5” above the rim of the vase. Perform your first cut at a 45 degree angle and cut the stem with sharp shears (they are only $9 on Amazon, SO worth investing in a pair!).
4. Next, remove all of the green leaves that will be below the water line.
5. I usually start with the main flower and arrange in the dry vase or as I’m holding them (so I can adjust lengths). The middle of the bouquet should be the highest point of the bouquet. Try to arrange in odd numbers (i.e. 3-5 big stems, 3 big pieces of leaves/greenery, etc).
6. Once you have your bouquet looking how you like it, cut each stem at a 45 degree angle (NOT straight across). If you were really vibing with how your flowers looked all cozy with each other in your grasp, you can use a little piece of loose string to tie them together.
7. Fill the vase up with WARM WATER if you have budded peonies, otherwise tepid is good. If you have a particularly delicate flower (like an orchid) you can make them last even longer with bottled water. BE SURE TO ADD THE PACKET OF FLOWER FOOD TO THE WATER!! You could alternately buy Flower Food so that you don’t have to collect all the tiny packets (plus I never seem to have one when I need one). Place your arrangement in, then pull out stems one at a time if you need to make minor adjustments to length.
8. To keep your flowers fresh for closer to a week or longer, make sure the water level stays well above the bottom of the stems, freshen water and trim the bottom half inch or so from each stem at a 45 degree angle daily if you can. (just pick up the arrangement and lob off the bottom part, one at a time while holding them all). You can buy a bottle of the flower food ($12) and use that daily with the fresh water instead of messing around with collecting little packets because we all know they accumulate like Taco Bell mild hot sauces in your drawer. You can also use Quick Dip ($12), which you dip the bottoms of the stems in before returning to fresh water.
9. Last tip: If you are making an arrangement for someone else as a Get Well, ‘Just Because',’ or Hostess gift: be sure to deliver your buds in a vase! Arranging flowers can take a hot minute and feel like a chore, particularly if you are about to leave (hello date!) or are entertaining. I recently went to the thrift store and bought 6 clear glass vases for $1 each to have on hand for when I want to give flowers (the floral stores really gouge you on vases). Your recipient will THANK YOU!!