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So you got a bouquet. Now what?

Flower arranging is like most things; to get good at it, you can't be afraid to make some mistakes. Luckily flowers tend to look nice regardless, and they don't last forever, so if you really mess up, at least you'll only have to look at it for a week!

You might think you don't need to arrange your flowers. Just take the paper and elastic off and plunk them in the vase. And something like this is what you'll end up with.

And this is fine. It looks nice. As I said, fresh flowers do generally just look good. But you can't really see everything, and it's all a bit hodgepodge (to use the technical term).

This here is the same bouquet. There's nothing in this picture (except the bowl I suppose) that isn't in the one above. The difference is that we've given some shape to the whole arrangement and given everything the space it needs to really be seen and appreciated.

So this can be as intense as you want it to be. I'm going to lay out our method here below for arranging flowers, but I'd encourage you, even if you don't end up using tape and chicken wire, to try moving stems around in the vase, cut some shorter, and see what you can come up with.

Here's our setup. A regular mixing bowl with a ball of chicken wire in it, taped in place. The chicken wire is going to allow you to place and angle the stems where you want them, and the tape will keep the wire from moving or turning. The wire can be completely in the bowl, or sticking up out of it like the picture in the middle.. The chicken wire is really nice for these lower, flatter arrangements, but for a vase, you can just use a tape grid on the top to create structure.

Once your vessel is ready, take your bouquet out, unwrap it and lay out the different elements. As you place each stem in the arrangement you'll want to make a fresh cut. This will help the flowers last longer.

From here on out, it's more art than science. Some people start with greens, others the biggest blooms, still others tall spiky flowers. Maybe you have a specific shape (like a crescent) that you want to try. This is all to say, I'll show you how we arranged these particular flowers, this particular time, but half the fun is in experimentation.

Here we started with our snapdragons. The idea here is that these will be our tallest elements, and everything else will fill out the bottom (hiding the tape) and sprawling out to the sides.

Well...I guess that mallow is actually the tallest. Anyways, here we've added the greens. The mint is mostly acting as a filler, hiding the tape and chicken wire, as well as covering up the bottom of the snapdragon stems. The ferns here are doing the work of creating shape.

And then from there, we pretty much just fill in the gaps with the rest of the flowers, trying to give everything enough room that it doesn't feel crowded. This arrangement was going against a wall, so it had a very definite front and back.

So I hope that gives you a bit of inspiration! These pictures are from last year and some of our very first arrangements, so really, don't think these were made by experts. It's pretty easy and fun!

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