If you enjoy having fresh flowers to dress up your table or to take to a social event, let me share my secret for dressing up the cheapest grocery store bouquets. Ever notice that the plain looking flower bundles at the store might be under $10, or even 3 for $10, while everything that is arranged by the store runs $35 or more? Follow these few simple steps, and you can save a bundle.
At the store, pick out bundles of flowers that fit your theme or appeal to your color sense. Sometimes you’ll find sleeves of flowers that are already bundled by holiday or seasonal colors, but maybe they don’t really scream “centerpiece” to you. That’s ok. Just make sure the flowers are healthy and are not brown or too tired to hold their little heads up.
Once you are home, select a vessel. I say vessel instead of vase, because you might have a fabulous vessel to use for your arrangement. I used a plastic pitcher in a fun color here. You might use a galvanized bucket, and old mailbox, or any other water-safe vessel you have at home. Think outside the vase.
Then get to work trimming and arranging your bundle. First, chose the most interesting or tallest flower in your plain-jane bundle. Trim the end of this just to be sure that it drinks up the fresh water in your vessel, but leave it long so that it is the tallest item in your arrangement. Then pick four similar flowers, and cut them shorter than the star, and arrange them in your vessel at the four “corners”, in a box pattern. Then pick four more flowers that are similar to each other (but perhaps different from the first four), cut them slightly shorter than the first group and stick one each in between the first four, working your way toward the rim of your container. Continue adding groups of similar flowers in this layering pattern until you have used all of the flowers in your bouquet. Even though you are working in a predictable pattern, the flowers will naturally layer to create an eye-pleasing arrangement that is seen as orderly but not too structured.
If you have greenery or small buds that were left over after adding the larger stems to the vase, use these to fill in around the rim of the container and in any bare spots of the arrangement. Just be sure that the stems reach in to the water so they stay lively.
Don’t over think this little experiment. It only takes about ten minutes to do this, working with each stem. But the result is not only a budget-saver, but a very satisfying and personalized statement.