Design & Decor - Flower Arranging

Flower arranging tips from a floral guru

Melissa Bigner with Heather Barrie
Photography by
Peter Frank Edwards

Create simple yet stylish bouquets from your garden bounty

Build a collection of vessels by exploring local flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. Be sure to test that a container is watertight before you purchase it (if possible) or before you fashion a bouquet in it. If it leaks, use a plastic liner or floral foam.

If you've already gathered your flowers and greens, let them lead you to the right container and showcase spot. For example, a handful of shortstemmed, laid-back zinnias might just beg for a Mason jar and a kitchen windowsill. On the other hand, you might want to decorate a specific mix of spaces: something for the entry, something for the mantel, something for the dining table, something for the powder room. In those cases, Heather says, let the location dictate the bouquet. "If you're doing something for a dining table," she says, "the vessel and arrangement need to be low enough for people to see over, but if you have an entry table in a hallway with a large mirror behind it, it's better to have a tall bouquet."

When it comes to matching containers with bouquets, almost anything goes. Yes, ensure that the materials work together visually, that the colors don't clash and that the flowers—not the vessel—are the star, but beyond those guidelines, have fun.

Here is a list of handy containers:

  • adapted vessels (gourds, metal tubs, wooden boxes)
  • baskets (metal and wicker)
  • bud vases vases (in a variety of scales, shapes and materials with a range of mouths)
  • cups and glasses (bistro glasses, kitchen glasses, cut crystal, mint julep cups, mugs)
  • repurposed containers (jelly jars, milk bottles, tin cans)
  • serving vessels (bowls, creamers, gravy boats, pitchers, sugar jars)

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