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Flower Arranging 101: DIY Tips From the Experts

As you flip through the pages of our February Love Issue, one thing you’ll notice is the beautiful blooms that pop up throughout the magazine. We got some major googly eyes for the bouquets featured in our "Real Weddings" features, and earmarked the TRIBEZA Wedding Guide for even more Pinterest-worthy petals.

Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers in town for their ideas, tips and guidance on DIY flower arrangements.

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TOOLS OF THE TRADE

With 10 years of professional experience, Lea Wood, owner and designer of Blackbird Floral, encourages you to invest in “high quality clippers, lightweight gloves and a floral knife” for removing those pesky rose thorns.

David Kurio, namesake of his eponymous floral and event design firm, recommends using flower food with an antibacterial additive to ensure your arrangement will last.

Meanwhile, green floral foam –– often called oasis –– is a tool favored by Antonio Bond of Transplants Floral. “It allows you to be more precise with flowers and [also] allows to you put flowers on virtually any surface,” explains Bond.

DOS & DON'TS

Wood says to find a container to match the size and scale of your flowers. The vessel should neither crowd the blooms nor give them too much room.

Kurio says to “never place flowers in direct sunlight, on top of electronic devices or in front of an air vent.” Doing so will protect your furnishings against water damage and preserve the life of your arrangement.

Fearlessness and a sense of adventure is something Bond encourages. Incorporating unusual flowers into your arrangement, like proteas, ranunculus and poppies, lends interest and texture to any design.

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BLOOMING TRENDS

For an easy, on-trend floral arrangement, Wood suggests filling a vase or container with mixed eucalyptus and dark greens. Leave some of the stems longer and place them at odd angles to create that “artfully disheveled” look. Then, says Wood, “tuck in a few peonies, dahlias or other large rounded flowers at varying heights for softness and a pop of color."

For another look, Kurio proposes building an arrangement with a single variety of flower and all in one color. In his view, this type of design is “always chic.”

Bond says many of his clients favor bright colors, and gravitate toward “unusual, sculptural” arrangements, which convey a more thoughtful, artisan design. To achieve this, Bond recommends using organic materials like driftwood or eye-catching vessels, which he finds at antique stores and garage sales.

ADVICE FOR THE BUDDING DESIGNER

Wood urges flower arranging novices to have fun while keeping the design approach simple. She also warns against overworking the design. “Your struggle will show,” she says.

If you’re having guests over for dinner, Kurio advises you to keep the arrangement short enough so people can see each other at the table.

For Bond, there really are no “rules” for arranging flowers. “Make what you think is pretty," says the designer.

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OUR GAME PLAN

When arranging your flowers, be sure to get them in cool water as soon as you get home. Just before arranging them, cut the stems at an angle for maximum water absorption. Check the water level every few days, and if the water gets low or turns murky, refresh it and add some more flower food. It’s also a good idea to trim the stems to keep them from rotting.

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After hearing about Kurio’s penchant for using a single type of flower for an arrangement, we couldn’t resist some fragrant muscari. We think they’d look (and smell) great on any nightstand or bathroom vanity. Splitting the bunch among several glass jars would also be a great addition to the kitchen counter or dinner table.

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We took Bond’s advice and went to the thrift store to find a special container. We picked up this floral engraved brass bowl for four dollars at Savers, and chose to use hydrangeas with antique coloring and green amaranthus to create a romantic, vintage vibe.

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For a more rugged look, we grabbed a bag of scrap leather strips from the craft store. We wrapped a few of the strips around a simple drinking glass and secured them with a thinner cord of black leather. No glue or tape required! Your home bar cart never looked so good.

CREDITS

Arrangements and photography by James Ruiz

Flowers and greenery from Austin Flower Co. and Central Market

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