Bouquet Your Way

Creating a bouquet can be simple or complex, depending on how you look at it. For those of us who have always wondered what are some basics we need to know to get started, Jeannie Huang of Botanica Neue hosts occasional classes structured as hands-on workshops to get you comfortable and confident in playing with flowers.

I had the opportunity to attend her Spring Bouquet Workshop which allowed me to understand the how and why of every step a florist takes to put care into arranging flowers for myself and others. While I don’t intend on becoming an expert florist, the skills I’ve learned have been put to great use (arranging bouquets and centerpieces of a wedding).

The following are a few tips I learned plus photos from the workshop that’s changed my perspective on bouquet creation.

Originally published in May 2017.


Prep is Key

Pre-prepped Flowers

Maintaining Your Bouquet

One of my biggest gripes about flowers or bouquets has always been the longevity of the flowers. Let’s be real, flower’s are not cheap. The labor that goes into growing, pruning, selection, assembly, shipping, and then delivery to you costs a lot. So how do you maintain your flowers from the moment you receive them?

Given that there’s a ton of bacteria at the stems of your flowers, maintaining the health of that portion is key. Once you receive your flowers, putting your stems into fresh water is a must. I like to think of maintaining your flowers like the way we should treat our faces. For me, my face is always oily and acne-prone. The less I touch my face (and preventing oils and bacteria from my hands to my face) and washing at least once a day is a must. Your flowers are the same. Changing the water out of your vase gently once a day helps deter the bacterial growth.

Also, your flowers are delicate. The more you touch, the faster it’ll deteriorate. Lastly, like your face, prolonged direct sun exposure probably isn’t the best. Your flowers are best kept away from the window and direct sunlight.

Pre-Prepped Flowers in Buckets

Okay, let’s build—start with prep

So now that you’re assembling the bouquets, how you prepare matters for the longevity of the flowers as well.

For the humans who have ever gotten your nails done at a salon, Jeannie made the comparison to the prep that manicurists complete prior to putting polish onto your nails. Your manicurists spend most of the time removing polish, filing, buffing, removing dead skin, and shaping your nails first. That amount of effort allows for your manicure to last longer. This goes for maintaining the longevity of your bouquets and flowers as well.

In the previous photos, you can see that the flowers had the majority of their leaves and were much longer. We trimmed them down and removed the leaves. It may be a personal preference for keeping some leaves so do what you want to do.

Pre-prepped flowers in buckets

 

Layers & Dimensionality

As you can see in the previous photos, we had a wide variety of plants to work with. My favorite? The blueberry branches which were practically in full bush form. The green and berries created and interesting element that helps balance and provides contrast to soft delicate petals from the flowers. Also, the mint added this wonderful and unexpected fragrance.

Jeannie explains that to build your bouquet, generally building with variety matters. We had smaller filler flowers that are more sturdy like the wax flowers and carnations. Mint and the blueberry branches added contrast. We had peonies as our main flowers along with tulips and ranunculus to complement.

 

Putting it all together

Bouquet in progress

The secret to the hand-tied bouquet? This is the most “designer” response but…iteration! Starting off with one stem, you add on your stems in a circular, layered fashion and you eventually end up with something you love. And if you don’t, you can always adjust. The entire time, I had no clue what I was doing. However, that’s the most beautiful part about it—you can try, start over, and create whatever you think is best.

 

Go with your gut

Biggest takeaway? Do what you think is best. Just like art, you’re going forward with creating something beautiful for you. Especially if you’re making this for yourself or your loved ones, there’s no right or wrong way to make something beautiful. Go forth and do your thing.

 

Ta-da, my bouquet!

Here’s what I ended up with. I have no clue if others think it’s beautiful or what you’ll traditionally see. All in all, it only matters what I think. Make something beautiful for you! P.S. These are day 2 photos.

Bouquet Day 2

Bouquet Day 2

Bouquet Day 2

 


Thank you to Jeannie for hosting and sharing your knowledge with us. Highly recommend taking her workshop whenever she hosts one next if you’re in NYC. You’ll get to meet some awesome people, snuggle with the most adorable cat(s) and dog (potato), and get a portrait with your bouquet.

You can find Jeannie on insta: https://www.instagram.com/botanicaneue

 


west&ease is a collection of stories, sounds, knowledge, visuals, and “creative” work. Support by becoming a patron or follow for more on Patreon.