Arranging Flowers with Coriander Girl

November 22, 2012

Last evening I had the opportunity to go to the Anthropology store at the Shops of Don Mills for a little flower arranging demonstration. The event was hosted by Pure Green Mag, and they had Alison Westlake from the flower shop ‘Coriander Girl’ there to give us some quick tips and pointers. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I try to buy myself flowers once a month (although I missed the last few months), but I’m woefully untalented when it comes to making those flowers look pretty in a vase.

We were directed to bring some sort of vintage item to use as our vase for our flowers. Mason jars and teacups were suggested. I brought this:
Thrifted glass bowl with silver handle
My selection for the 'vintage' vessel we were told to bring
I’m not quite sure what it is – it might be an ice bucket? I bought it at a thrift store for $4, so I thought it qualified as vintage. I should have looked harder for a cute teacup because this thing was a bit difficult to arrange flowers in - too wide.
The flowers for our class set out on a table
The flowers we would use for our arrangements
Alison set us all up around some tables, and then did a quick demonstration of how she makes her lovely arrangements. Nerd that I am, I took notes on my phone (I’m sure she thought I was being rude and texting, but I wanted to remember some of the things she said). Here are some of the things I learned:
  • Use room temperature water.
  • Remove all the greenery (leaves, etc) that will be below the waterline.
  • When trimming stems cut at a 45 degree angle – this gives more surface area for the flower to absorb water.
  • If you’re using a small shallow vase you can use clear tape to make a grid over the opening – this will help the flowers and greenery stay in place.
  • Start by adding your greenery, and once most of it’s arranged add you blooms. The greenery supports the flowers, and makes them stand out more. (I’m going to think of it like underwear – a really gorgeous outfit can look only so-so if you’re not wearing the right underwear – right?) You can add more greenery later to fill any spaces that remain after you’ve added the flowers.
  • If you need to force any blooms put them in warm water and then cover with a plastic bag.
  • In terms of scale – the height of an arrangement is very much personal preference, but as a rule of thumb the whole arrangement should be about twice the height of the vase alone.
I was going to take pictures of my bucket as I went, but I got distracted by the fun and forgot. Bad blogger. Anyways about 40 minutes after I started I ended up with this:
My flower arrangement
My flower arrangement at home. Before it got home I took it on the bus - I got some weird looks.
Some of the other participants arrangement were stunning so I’m going to have to practice. Such a hardship – playing with flowers.

Do you have any other tips for arranging flowers?

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  1. Looks like you had a great time! And you arrangement looks FAB! I love fresh flowers in the house... but I always end up killing them within 2 days!

  2. Coriander Girl was the florist that did our wedding! Isn't Alison just the sweetest??

  3. Love your arrangement - obviously there is flower arranging talent in there that has been waiting to come out!

  4. She is! I wish I had remembered that she was your florist . . .

  5. You're so sweet - I 'm not sure if I agree, but I'm planning on practicing more

  6. Your arrangement is gorgeous! Great tips too - I will definitely be trying the clear tape from now on :)


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