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Tips to Make Your Own Custom Floral Arrangements

March 6, 2012 by Bonnie Helander  
Filed under Garden Views


Spring in just around the corner and blooms will soon be busting out all over! By learning a few simple design tips, you can use the greenery and flowers in your own garden to create custom displays that will look amazing and cost next to nothing!

In March, members of the Peachtree City Garden Club were treated to a floral arranging demonstration by local interior designer, Anna Marie Hendry, owner of Classic Interiors by Anna Marie. She has won many awards for her innovative and timeless designs.

Anna Marie gathered materials from her garden and some flowers from a local florist wholesaler for the demonstration. Her two “lovely assistants,” Joan Carroll and Linda Ellis (garden club members) followed Anna Marie’s directions to create their own floral arrangements.

When creating an arrangement, the first thing you need to do is gather your supplies together. Choose the container you want to use. Containers come in all shapes and sizes. Vases are wonderful but don’t forget that anything that can hold water can be a container. Think about your collection of dishes – bowls, platters, cake stands, tea pots, baking dishes, compote dishes or jello molds can make interesting containers. Consider where you are going to place your arrangement when selecting a container. For example, if your arrangement will be the centerpiece for a dining table, you will want a container that is low and allows greenery to spread out so guests can see over the arrangement.

Container Ideas

In addition to a container, you will need a floral oasis brick, floral food packets and floral tape that you can buy at a craft or florist shop. You’ll also need a good pair of scissors or pruners and a knife to cut the oasis to size.

If you want your arrangement to last a week or more, you need to make sure your container and tools (scissors and knife) are sterilized to inhibit bacterial growth. Soak your container and tools in a solution of water and Clorox to kill any bacteria.

Next, soak your oasis brick in a bucket of water that contains a packet of floral food. Let the oasis slowly fill up with water to completely soak through.

Gather your greenery and flowers from your garden. Cut the stems of each piece at an angle and strip off the leaves from the bloom stems to ensure all the water and floral food nutrients are going directly to the flower. Place stems in a container of water. (You can also add a packet of floral food to this container of water).

Gather flowers and greenery, cut off stems at an angle and soak in water containing a floral food packet.

Carefully lift your fully-soaked oasis from the water bucket and trim the oasis to fit the container. Place the leftover piece you trimmed off on top of the oasis in the container and secure with floral tape.

Anna Marie Hendry demonstrates how to trim and place oasis in container.

Now you are ready to begin building your design. You will select four sizes of flowers – large, medium, small and very small.  In addition to the flowers, you will want a nice selection of greenery to fill in around the blooms.  Your finished piece should be no taller than 2 ½ times the height of your container.

Start at the bottom of the oasis and begin filling in with greenery. You want the bottom to spread out. Your design will resemble the shape of a triangle with the point at the top, your larger blooms.  Your flowers will be the main focal point but the greenery gives shape and a background for the color of the blooms to pop. The greenery also helps to hide the oasis.

Start building your design from the base with greenery that spreads out. Ornamental cabbage adds a custom touch.

Continue to fill in and shape your design with an eye for balance, symmetry and color. You can place three of the smallest flowers together as a bunch to fill in where needed.  Turn your container around to make sure all sides are filled and balanced. Make sure there is still room for the flower petals to expand. If the petals are too tight against one another, your arrangement is too crowded.

Anna Marie and Linda Ellis add layers to their designs.

Continue to fill in as needed so none of the oasis shows and your arrangement has a full and balanced look.

Joan Carroll, Anna Marie and Linda show off fabulous finished arrangements.

Long-lasting flowers to consider are carnations and mums. Greenery to consider includes: ferns, magnolia leaves, holly, nandina, cleyera and cypress. Twisted branches add a nice touch of texture and height.

Add fresh water to your arrangement each day and take out any dead leaves or debris. You can continue to add fresh flowers or greenery to your arrangement to keep it looking great for several days or a week or two.

Experiment with what you have in your garden and you’ll be amazed at what you can create!

(Photo credits: Bonnie Helander and Alonzo Wilkins)



About Bonnie Helander
I am a writer and blogger with a specialty in gardening and a proud graduate of the University Of Georgia. I live in Peachtree City with husband, Dan, and enjoy hiking, gardening, being a member of the Peachtree City Garden Club and rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs!

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