Design & Decor - Flower Arranging

Five professional-looking arrangements for $25

Deanna Dority
Photography by
Roger Yip

From centrepiece to mantle, five fabulous arrangements you can make yourself

The next time you pick up cut flowers from your local florist or grocer, don’t go home and just plop them in a vase—why settle for one look when you can have five? Kate Seaver of Kate’s Garden in Markham, Ontario, reveals a few florist’s tricks of the trade to show you how to stretch both your dollar and imagination by deconstructing an ordinary bouquet.

And while Kate uses accessories such as silk flowers, glass bubbles, floating candles and artificial (battery-powered) tea lights here, you can substitute these with countless items available at your local craft or dollar store or florist’s shop.

Kate Seaver’s bundle of blooms consists of butterfly bush (you can substitute larkspur or delphinium), daisies, leatherleaf, Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria), snapdragons, spider mums, salal and waxflower (Chamelaucium uncinatum).


Rather than assembling the centrepiece in the vase, Kate uses the French hand-tying technique, which produces a domed look.
Holding the first stem upright in the fleshy part of her hand between the thumb and index finger, she then places each stem of the second and subsequent layers of plant material at about a 45-degree angle to the previous stem, which creates a spiralling effect (above and below).
Kate adds the leatherleaf last to give the arrangement a collar—or “Peter Panning,” as she calls it. Using florist shears (you can use a very sharp paring knife), she then cuts the stems to a uniform length before placing the bouquet in the vase.
A bell vase “chokes” the flowers, which means you don’t need as many cuttings for a full look. Keep in mind a conversation-friendly arrangement should not be more than 35 centimetres tall, roughly the length from your elbow to your wrist.


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