Before we begin, I want to stress an important point: Always be kind to your flowers. When you get them home or gather them from your yard, cut the stems at an angle. This allows them to absorb more water, a flower’s best friend, which makes them happy. It’s also important to trim off any leaves below the water's surface as these promote bacteria. Put your floral materials in a bucket or sink of room temperature water that’s been treated with flower food or a teaspoon or two of chlorine bleach and a teaspoon of sugar. This should be added to the vase as well.
First take your vase (flared vases work best) and using your florist's or cellophane tape make a grid across the top, which acts as a support structure for your materials. I'll refer to this many times as "the taped grid method."
Layer 1- line foliage. I'm using leather leaf fern. Your first stem should be about one and a half times the height of your vase and placed into the center of your grid. The next two stems should be slightly shorter and inserted on either side of your first stem to create a triangle, as in the photo. Remember, no leaves or foliage below the water's surface. All of your stems should look like they originate from an imaginary X in the center of your vase.
Now fill in with a few more stems of line foliage, turning your vase and filling in gaps, but don't go outside of your initial triangle.Next add your round foliage. Here I've used camelia, pointing each stem toward the imaginary X in the center and making sure no leaves fall below the water's surface. Spraying your foliage with a leaf shine really helps to make your arrangement look even more professional.
Layer 3 - line flowers. Insert your line flowers almost like you did your line foliage. I've used three stems of luscious, purple larkspur and three stems of white stock.
Layer 4 - mass flowers. Add your mass flowers all around your design, cutting them to different lengths, but don't go outside the triangle. Turn your vase and fill in gaps. I've used three lilac scabiosa, one stem of a white daisy mum, and a few golden dahlias, but you could use whatever you want, even use just one type, such as roses.
Layer 5 - focal flowers. Notice how the brilliant orange sunflowers capture your immediate attention. A few have been placed more toward the base of the design. You could also use sunny, Gerber daisies.
Layer 6 - filler material. Just a few stems of yellow solidaster inserted throughout the arrangement give it the almost-final touch.
A small, inexpensive remnant of burlap secured with a rubber band covers the stems and gives the bouquet an added touch of country charm! Try experimenting with different types of flowers and foliage (and even fabric), now that YOU know The Secrets!
You don't need a lot of expensive supplies to arrange flowers, and you should be able to find everything at your local craft or floral supply store or major discount department store. I would also encourage you to visit your local library and check out books on flower arranging.
Floral scissors or cutting shears. Yes, professional florists use floral knives but that skill takes a little practice and I don’t want you to bleed. Whatever you use, make sure it’s clean. Flowers' worst enemy is bacteria.
Florist’s or Bowl tape. This is a waterproof tape specifically designed for floral work. You could also use cellophane, masking or other narrow tape, but bowl tape is your best bet. It comes in green or clear.
Floral foam. Get several blocks of this as we use it in a number of designs. Make sure to get the foam designed for fresh flowers, not artificial!Containers. You can start with some simple vases, the likes of which you probably have under your kitchen sink. And start saving your recyclables - frozen food trays, styrofoam trays, deli containers and even two liter soda bottles.