I cringe at the idea of taking home a wrapped bouquet and plopping the flowers and sparse greenery in a vase. I guess that's the former floral shop owner in me. Flowers should be arranged! Hooray! Yeah wait, that's scary if you don't know how to arrange flowers, right? Like anything else in the world, it just takes a little practice. Valentine's Day in the floral business is crazy. Thousands of roses out the door for delivery while men pile into the shop as late as you'll stay open hoping to arrive home with a gorgeous display of high priced (inflated first by the growers, then by the wholesalers, and finally by the retailers) long stem roses...$85 any other day, but $125 in the days leading up to Valentine's Day.
Here are some quick tips on how to arrange your wrapped flowers. When you get your flowers from the market, take a little time to separate the greenery from the flower stems. The greenery goes into the vase first. Use the shorter greenery to skirt the lower part of the arrangement. Insert that greenery at what I call a "hard angle" rather than sticking it straight up and down to reach the bottom of the vase. The taller greenery will go more into the top or center of the vase. The filler does just that...it fills in the empty spaces. Disclaimer: I would NEVER use baby's breath in an arrangement. Unfortunately, market bouquets really skimp on the greenery/filler and I needed the extra filler. If you are making your own arrangements, look for wax flower, bouvardia, aster, or other small bud stems in place of baby's breath. Now add the flowers. The larger (sometimes heavier) flowers go towards the bottom of the arrangement (lilies and sunflowers are good examples) and the taller stems (roses, larkspur, delphinium) go in the center for height. Don't be afraid to cut the lower stems shorter and insert them into the vase at a hard angle. A long stem will stick straight out or straight up and down. For the lower flowers, trim the stem and try again. Right there is the difference between an arranged bunch of flowers and a bunch of flowers stuck into a vase. Good rule of thumb is that the arrangement should be one and a half times the height of the vase.
Most stems straight out of the wrapper will be cut straight across at the bottom of the stem. If a flat bottom of a stem is against the bottom of the vase, it won't get water. Take floral sheers, a knife or even scissors and cut the bottom of the stem at a 45degree angle. This allows water to get to the stem. Keep enough water in the vase to cover the stems. Change the water every few days and re-cut 45 degree angles at the bottoms of the stems for longer lasting roses. Also, don't place your arrangement next to electronics or fans and heaters.
My (now) boss knows the routine: he brings me wrapped flowers and a vase. Another co-woker caught on and ran out to his truck to grab his wife's dozen wrapped roses. I joked and told them they shouldn't have. They said they didn't. I love arranging flowers and have offered my services for the joy of getting to arrange flowers every now and then. I do miss the floral business; being around flowers every day and creating something new several times a day. Everyone feels good about receiving flowers- even if it involved a death. Flowers are uplifting and every person who says "don't waste your money of flowers" I believe secretly wants flowers. You aren't paying for how long they last, you're paying for that moment when the flowers are presented...and that moment is magical.