A Quick Guide For Flower Arranging
Flower arranging can be confusing or difficult to those of us who are new to the hobby. What should you do with stems? What should you add to water? How do you clean a vase? There are lots of questions people may have, so let’s try to answer a few here.
GOOD EQUIPMENT TO HAVE
If you are going to be making floral arrangements, there are a few pieces of florist hardware you may need to have for your new hobby:
- Florist’s Scissors: These have stronger blades and finer tips than normal scissors, making working with all types of stems easier.
- Pails: These are used for picking flowers from your garden. Using pails means you can sling them over your arms to make carrying easier. You will need two pails: one with water for cut flowers and another for leaves you have stripped. Metal milk pails are great because they are so durable. Plus you’ll look good carrying them.
- Floral Pin Holders: These are heavy disks with spikes to hold stems in place. These are used to create your arrangements. You can also use foam, but it is much lighter and pin holders may stay in place better.
- Waterproof glue: This glue is used to stick your pin holders to the vase. The glue is best used if the vase and holder are both dry. If not, you may have a lot of trouble getting the holder to stick to the vase.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE STEMS
The end of a floppy stem should be seared in boiling water. This can be done for about 30 seconds. Wooden stems should need a little longer.
- Boil water and put 1” to 2” into a mug
- Put the end of the stem into the mug
- Rule of thumb says to put about 10% of the stem’s length into the water
- Don’t leave it in for too long or you will end up cooking it
- Keep flower heads away from steam by wrapping them gently in a sheet of newspaper
Searing stems works better than burning them with a match or lighter, and wood-like shrubs give better results than hammering the stem. Flowers have been known to make a strong recovery after the searing process.
WHAT’S IN THE WATER?
Using food for your flowers is important, and you can buy brands of water additives from stores. You can also make your own cut flower preservative, containing some bleach, vinegar or lemon juice to make the tap water slightly more acidic. This will keep bacteria away from the stem and allow the stem to take up water.
- For a one-foot tall vase, use a teaspoon of bleach, or approximately 5 tablespoons of cheap, clear malt vinegar
- You can also add aspirin or half a glass of lemonade
- Both aspirin and lemonade contain acid, making the water more hostile for bacteria
HOW TO CLEAN A VASE
A dirty vase can ruin the look of a floral arrangement. To get them clean, you can use a bottle brush along with bleach and antibacterial tablets. For vases with narrow necks, or cut glass, you can use denture cleaner along with small copper balls used for cleaning decanters. These balls are available at wine shops.
Flowers can spruce up your home, and make your garden look fantastic. If you’re looking to get into arrangements as a hobby, take some time and learn some of the basics. Research and experiment and even reach out to message boards on the internet. Using all of these resources will help you have a nicer looking home both inside and out.