Floral Design Secrets You Need To Know

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Do you dream of buying flowers from a Parisian street corner and creating effortlessly artful arrangements? Well, we can't send you to Paris, but we can help you out with the blooms. With just a few secrets from floral designer Carly Cylinder, owner of Flour L.A. and author of The Flower Chef, impossibly stylish displays are within easy reach, even if your only flower resource is the neighborhood supermarket. Gather your roses (and more) and get started!

Get all the goods

  • It's great to start with a color scheme in mind — but then punch it up by adding some unexpected elements. For example, you might upgrade your soft shades arrangement with one deep or saturated color — "It's like adding salt to your cookies," Cylinder says. Another fun idea is to go big with just one hue for the whole arrangement. Way to bring the drama!
  • Don't forget to buy a few types of greens, those leafy wonders that fill in and level up your arrangement (without a lot of expense!).
  • Don't keep it too tidy. You can add texture with ruffly or unusual blooms, especially for a rustic or garden-style arrangement.
  • Think outside the standard glass vase and get creative with containers. Try votive candle holders as bud vases, colorful tin cans, or multiples of different sizes instead of just one vase.

Prep for success

  • Lay out your flowers and greens and do all your prep first: trim the stems, remove extra leaves, and use your fingers to nudge tight blooms to open.
  • Cut stems cleanly at an angle to create more surface area to absorb water. For thick stems, add a short vertical snip through the center of the stem.
  • Check the height of your blooms against the container before you cut (and err on the longer side; you can always cut more). Twice the height of the container is your upper limit.
  • Relentlessly strip any foliage that will fall below the water line. Use your fingers and strip downward (as you would for herbs) or, for roses, try an inexpensive rose stripper tool to take off leaves and thorns.

Arrange like a pro

  • Start with the largest elements and/or focal-point flowers; then add additional flowers, then greenery. For extra texture and interest, you can stick in some branches at the end.
  • Always place blooms at an angle in the container — never straight up.
  • Turn the arrangement as you go so you're seeing it from all sides.

Once you've got it petal perfect, be sure to change water daily for a long life. Just put the arrangement in the sink and turn on the tap to flush out and freshen. Genius!

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