For most guys, flowers come up once or twice a year. They are our signature gift of affection and apology. But when it comes to taking them out of the cellophane wrapper, well, let’s face it: you’re as clueless as the best of us.
That’s why we asked our friends at Sprout Home Brooklyn about the finer points of floral arrangement and presentation. Over coffee, they proved that building a classic rose bouquet for your significant other is a simple exercise in DIY dexterity, and a romantic one at that. When it comes to February 14, these sorts of “thought that counts” gestures are doubly appreciated, especially when you pull ’em off. From choosing the right flowers and vase to mastering the art of the “spiral”, here’s how to build a simple, beautiful bouquet for your special someone.
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Though roses — specifically, hybrid tea roses — are the undisputed (but predictable) champions of bouquets, there’s no harm in seeking other alternatives. Tulips are available in all shades of red and are generally cheaper than most rose varieties. Lilacs, lilies and gardenias are also good gift options with their fragrant aromas, or you can surprise your someone with something wholly unexpected: a houseplant, such as a fern or monstera.
What You Need:
3 Lemon Leaves
Thin Rope or String
1 Bell Jar
Pairing Knife or Pruning Shears
1Prepare the stems. Look for flowers that have already started blooming. If they’ve been cut too early, they might not open. If using roses, trim the stems of thorns and excess foliage with a knife or gardening shears. In addition to making the bouquet look cleaner, removing the leaves will prevent the stems from rotting when submerged in water. (Note: don’t cut the end of the stems yet.)
2Anchor and “spiral” the stems. Choose one flower to serve as the “anchor” for the bouquet; it will serve as the axis from which all other flowers are arranged. Rotating around the anchor flower, add each new stem at a 45-degree angle. After every third or fourth flower, insert a lemon leaf into the rotating arrangement; the tips of this foliage should rise slightly higher than its adjacent flower. These extra touches add texture and balance of color to the finished bouquet.
3Tie at the center and shape. At the center of the stems, tie a loose knot with a rope to temporarily hold the flowers in place. This makes sure the bouquet doesn’t fall apart with final adjustment to its shape. You’re going for a rounded top, with the central few flowers slight higher than those around them.
4Cut the ends. The size of the vase will determine the ideal length of stems. A good rule of thumb: shoot for about an inch of stem showing above the rim of the vase. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle, which prevents the xylem (the plant’s feeding tissue) from crushing closed.
5Place in vase with water. Sprout Home uses Bell Jars as their standard vase option. Because they’re small, you don’t need a large quantity of flowers to fill them out. (They’re also dirt cheap.) Untie the stems as you drop them in the water and they will expand to fill against the inside rim of the vase.
6Care for your flowers. Take a minute every day to replace the water and cut a centimeter off the stems. This will keep your flowers looking fresh and vibrant and extend their lifespan up to to a week.