Shortcuts to Spring Bouquets

With these simple tricks, you can make stunning arrangements anytime.
Julia Hamilton

Combining fresh roses, peonies, and hyacinths in exciting new ways allows us to enjoy their beauty each day. We asked floral designer Gaye Drummond to show you some shortcuts and tricks of the trade for making several of the stunning arrangements that are her specialty. Fashion one of these delights whenever company's coming or any time you're ready for a wonderful treat.

Welcome to the South
Gaye's exquisite arrangements always look as though they've just been plucked from a country garden. She perfected this distinctive style in her hometown of Dedham, England, while decorating for parties, weddings, and other events. Three years ago, her husband, Allan, was named chairman of the illustration department at the Savannah College of Art and Design. With their sons Edward, George, and Henry, the couple established a wonderful new home in one of Savannah's historic neighborhoods. In her workroom there, Gaye continues to create fabulous designs such as these. Lucky for us, she's sharing her tricks and secrets to creating bunches of blooms that will brighten your own home.

Let's Talk Flowers

  • Here are Gaye's tips for capturing this gorgeous, inspiring look.
  • Use a plentiful amount of blossoms and greenery, and combine plant materials with different colors, textures, and shapes.
  • Use fern fronds, ivy, moss, and eucalyptus to frame the flowers and to fill out arrangements.
  • Look for blooms with unbruised leaves and buds that are just starting to open. Recut all stems, and stand them in a mixture of cool water and flower preservative until it's time to arrange them.
  • Balance the lushness of your arrangements with simple containers such as baskets, clay pots, glass vases, and iron urns.

Gardener's Delight
Unexpected light green blooms highlight the darker hues of this arrangement in a lined wire container. "Viburnum is the magic ingredient that makes it all come to life," says Gaye.

  1. Fill the basket with florist foam saturated with a mixture of water and flower preservative. To support the stems, crisscross several pieces of florist tape over the foam, and press the ends of the tape onto the container. Create a framework by inserting eucalyptus at an angle, so that the stems appear to spring from the center of the florist foam. “The arrangement doesn't have to be completely symmetrical. The look can change as you work on it,” says Gaye.
  2. Insert one type of flower at a time, and space the blooms at regular intervals. Place some blossoms, such as lilies, deep within the foliage of other flowers. Gaye says, "Try to make the arrangement about one and a half times the height of your container." Add water as needed.

Tip-top Topiaries
In the Drummonds' charming living room, dry-in-place rose topiaries displayed on the mantelpiece echo the floral theme of the sofa fabric. To make the topiaries, Gaye glued fresh rose heads to plastic foam forms. (You can purchase the forms at a florist or crafts store.)

  1. Insert the base of each form into a container, such as a lined wire basket. Use a glue gun to cover the upper ball and the top of the base with dried green moss.
  2. Cut the stems from the roses. With the glue gun, attach the rose heads to the lower ball. Glue small pieces of moss over any empty spots.