The beauty of flowers is that they don't have to be complicated, fancy, or expensive to work their magic. A packaged bouquet or several stems from a floral display are guaranteed to bring a smile.
The grocery store is a great source for fresh, affordable blooms. Choose bouquets with a color scheme suitable for your home and with multiple stems of the same flower. Avoid rainbow medleys containing only one of each type blossom--such assortments are difficult to arrange. And always ask for a packet of flower food.
At home, separate your bouquet's contents. Throw away baby's breath and glossy, green leatherleaf foliage, grouping your remaining flowers by color and kind to assess your goods.
Next, condition your flowers to extend their lives. With sharp scissors, cut each stem at a steep angle, and put it in a container of tepid water mixed with flower food. Soak for several hours or overnight prior to arranging.
Go to the garden for greenery. This transforms a store-bought bouquet into a personal collection. Choose branches of delicate emerging leaves, boxwood tips, and foliage from perennials such as Lenten rose and Italian arum. Indoors, look to your houseplants for an interesting touch.
What's in a Vase
The best investment in flower arranging is not the blooms but the vessel. Bigger is not always better--a vase with a small opening requires few flowers and is easy to style. Choose one that complements your home.
Begin with a clean vase filled with fresh water. Remember this rule: Don't agonize over each addition. Recut the stems, and cluster like flowers together for maximum effect. Add greenery for height, texture, and fullness. If you spend more than five minutes placing the elements, you're missing the point.
Flowers are fun. Practice in small scale, and don't be intimidated by inexperience. With fresh blossoms, you can't go wrong.