Valentine’s Day is here and florists all over the country are working at super human pace to make enough rose arrangements for husbands and boyfriends to impress their loved ones with. Sometimes budget and/or time are short and instead of a $100 vase arrangement of roses, you’re the recipient of a bunch of roses from the grocery store – equally pretty, but you have to do the arranging. Here’s what you do…..
5 Easy Steps to a Perfect Rose Arrangement
Whether you get roses, daisies, tulips or lilies, these basic steps to create a pretty, all-around vase arrangment will work perfectly. When choosing roses, gently squeeze each head to make sure it’s not too soft - mushy blooms won’t last long and rock hard blooms will not open well.
1. Choose a vase appropriate to the length of the stems. If you have received long stem roses, choose a tall vase with a flared shape. If you’ve received sweetheart roses (shorter stem, smaller heads), use a shorter vase. Ideally you want the vase around 1/2 the length of the stems – so if your stems are 20-22″ long, you’ll want a vase about 10″ tall.
2. Clean and trim the roses. The flowers may or may not have been cleaned well and certainly will have been out of water for awhile. To make sure you get the longest life for your flowers, don’t skimp on this step. Pull off the guard petals – those are the protective outer 1 or 2 petals, usually with a prominent white stripe, on the outside of the bloom (they’ll open better with those removed). Pick off any leaves that might be below the water line. Basically you want to leave leaves only on the top 4-6″ of the stem. You will need to give each stem a fresh cut to open the stem up to drink water again. However, only do this right before you insert the stem into water for maximum benefit.
3. Place greenery. The first step in preparing the vase is to fill it almost full with fresh, cool water. Use warmer water if your flowers are tightly closed and you want to encourage faster opening. Place your greens first, creating a grid or structure to support your flowers. Most grocery store bunches are slim in the additional greens – you may only get 2-3 stems. That’s rarely enough. One thing that makes florist rose arrangements so lush is the volume of greenery supporting the roses. If you don’t have enough provided in your bunch, a quick trip to the yard will give you what you need. If you can, gather a few branches of upright, branching or leafy stems and a couple stems of something softer and drapey.
Place the greenery so that each new stem goes in at an angle across the vase, not straight down a side or straight in the center. You want to create a criss cross tangle of stems that will support the rose stems and hold them in place. Cut each greenery stem just before placing it in the water and use a variety of heights with the tallest greens in the center and the ones with the most drape at the lip of the vase.
4. Place the roses (or whatever flower you have). You’re going to create a slight pyramid or cone shape with your flowers. If you have 12 roses, 6 will go around the outer rim and will be the shortest length. The next ‘layer’ will have 4 roses of about the same lenth and the longest 2 will be in the center. So, if the stems are all 18″, the center rose will be 18″ long, the secondary center rose will be about 16″, the 4 in the inner ring will be about 14″ and the outer ring of 6 roses will be about 12-13″ long.
Begin by placing the roses around the outer lip of the vase. Cut each stem just before putting it in the vase of water so it will open the stem to be able to take in water. I’m sure you’ve all been told to cut flowers at an angle. That’s true – the benefit is that it gives an increased surface exposed to water so the flower can absorb the most water. As you place each rose, place it in the same criss cross angles that you used with the greenery, not straight down the side of the vase. You want to reinforce the grid of stems so that when you get to placing those center roses, there will be lots of support.
After the first 6 roses have been evenly spaced around the edge of the vase, place the next 4 roses. You want them to stand more upright (though not straight up and down) and be placed in between the first 6 in an alternating pattern. In other words, try not to have roses line up. Finally, add the last center roses. One should clearly be the tallest and the center rose while the other will provide a step-down in height to the inner circle of 4 roses.
5. Add filler flowers. You will most likely get a little bit of baby’s breath as a filler for your arrangement. That’s the tiny white flowers on a lot of delicate stems. Some bunches might have wax flower (a small daisy shaped flower on a woody stem) or other delicate flower. You want to tuck that filler in and around the arrangement as evenly as possible. That might be hard if you’re only given a stem or two, but break it up and do the best you can. If you have a variegated greenery in your yard, a few stems of that will also give the feeling of more filler.
Place your beautiful arrangement in a place of honor and remember the thoughtfulness and love it represents!
A quick note:
If you get a half dozen roses, it makes a prettier presentation to make a one-sided arrangement. Rather than placing roses evenly all around the lip of the vase, you want to put 3 down low, 2 roses up a little taller and then a center, tallest rose. The 3 lowest roses will be one in the center and 1 to each side then step up in length to 2 roses that will be placed in between (not lined up with any of the 3 lowest), then the tallest rose in the center. Add your filler like above and you’ll be lovin’ your arrangement.
Save A Rose Arrangement
Floral Designer Tip *** Florists order their Valentine roses weeks ahead and get them in over a week before Valentine’s Day. This is because there is such a big volume of orders and it takes a lot of time to clean and hydrate the roses and prepare the arrangements. Consequently you may occasionally get a bunch that has a rose or two on its last legs. Here’s how to revive a rose head that is drooping before its time.
Fill a sink with 2-3″ of hot water (not boiling), enough to cover the head of the rose. Submerse the whole rose in the hot water for 5 minutes or more, give it a fresh cut and reinsert it into the vase arrangement. The hot water opens all the pores and the rose drinks from the leaves and petals, reviving it for another couple days.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Cindy and I wish you a happy, loving, romantic Valentine’s Day!