Welcome to our new January series, Something New! In Something New, each member of the LeCC team will try something they’ve never done before in the spirit of personal exploration and growth. This time, our intern Dallas takes on the age-old tradition of flower arrangement.
Freshman year of college one of my besties taught me something important: the power of manifestation. Basically, I can do anything I want, as long as I (A) speak it into existence and (B) put positivity into the world with it. So, in August, I began telling my peers I wanted to be a florist. Literally, they get paid to make pretty flowers look prettier. I wanted to do it so bad but something was holding me back. Why couldn’t I bring myself to try? Is it that hard? Am I that lazy? Maybe I don’t believe in myself? Fear? A combination? Something else entirely? I received a solution to this predicament through our wonderful editor. Enter, Amelia: telling me to try something new for our January series. This would be my chance to become a florist.
Chasing this obscene dream would be a big step. I’m not a huge do-er. I love to listen, watch, read, study people from the sidelines. I’m more about the concept and intention than the execution. In becoming a florist, I would have to move from my think-hole and into the centerpiece of the table. I would learn by touching, cutting, layering, and jujjing the flowers. I’d momentarily evolve into a Hands-On Person.
1. Search For Information
While it was tempting to indulge in an overpriced florist course, my better judgment told me to use accessible resources. Lucky for me, our CEO and this old queen's videos paved my way down this lone path. I’ll share some highlights below, but it turned out to be easier than I thought. After those two, I felt ready to create my domesticated jungle.
2. Gather Resources
To truly marry this journey, you have to put down a little bit of cash. Walk to your local Trader Joe’s, floral bodega, etc. to get flowers of your liking. Trader Joe’s is cheap and with lots of variety (and frozen veggie gyoza), so that’s my preference. I grabbed two bunches of greens (too many) and two bunches of flowers. I think they were carnations and lilies but I honestly couldn’t tell you. If you don’t have a vase, they’re abundant in most Dollar Trees or thrift stores. I personally would not recommend dropping bands on a dream when you can drop less than an Andrew Jackson. Let the flowers speak for themselves.
There isn’t one right length for cut flowers, but for arrangements, we want for layers. To do as such, I created varying lengths of stems. I went bouquet by bouquet, clipping one flower at a time. My 99¢ store had a lovely pitcher for only a dollar that served as my vase. I wanted the greens to be coming out of the vase, so I cut to a length allowing me to do so. The greens were cut first for the base.
4. Hair, Body, Base
EVERYONE told me that the base is the most significant part of making an arrangement. If I would call my father, who knows nothing about flowers, I’m convinced his floral advice would be to have a strong base. Lawrence says that florists are architects because they’re building a structure. I found that to be surprisingly true. For the base, you begin by making a “V” out of your clipped greens. You want them to intersect somewhere in the middle and lean on each other in the vase. Move in a circle (you can rotate the vase instead of your body) until there are six strong greens at the bottom leaning on each other. Then put five longer stems above them (depending on how big your vase is) in between each green. Now put two greens in the center facing each other, making one married green for your center. They stand above everything else because they’re a power couple. Having a base makes all the flowers arranged afterward stay in place.
5. Six, Five, One… Arrange!
In order to keep the layers, there’s a very important tactic that Lawrence also taught me. If you didn’t watch his video, know that he says Dear John in it like 40 times. This is him reminding you to hold the stem of the flower like a writing tool. If I do this, it makes it so the stem doesn’t break and I can feed the flower into the base of the arrangement. Nobody wants busted flowers. This is the 6-5-1 rule. The purpose of this is to give your arrangement dimension and livelihood. Put six in the bottom row at the shortest length, five a little bit longer above it, and one couple kissing at the top. Keep spinning your vase in a circle and Dear John-ing those flowers. You’re almost done.
6. Seal The Deal
The last step is sort of optional, but only if you don’t care about your arrangement and want it dead. If you want to preserve the life, add water and spray those cuties down. You’ll need to freshen the water every few days. I was fortunate enough to have a turkey baster (???? when did that happen) to fill my pitcher with water so my flowers didn’t starve. The most loving gesture is to spray your flowers so it seals in the vibrancy. I did not have a spray bottle and already spent seventeen dollars on my dream, so I decided I was already over budget. (Retrospectively, I regret not trying this face mist on them.) My flowers lasted for a week with the TLC of changing the water only once. If you want them to remain glowing, spraying them is key.
The satisfaction of completing my florist dream was better than the actual result of the bouquet. Another amazing highlight was coming out of my room and one of my flatmates telling me, “Ooh those are pretty.” No, she did not know I spent the last 45 minutes in my room planning it out either. It takes a lot of resources and time to fully indulge yourself, but I don’t regret it. My flowers turned out as a two-star rating on a professional floral arrangement scale, but the internal reward was a full five. Becoming a florist is not my calling but I learned an appreciation for the art along the way. I don’t think I’ll be a full-time florist anytime soon but it’s amazing to try something new every now and then. In the meantime, if you need two-star flowers for Valentine’s Day, I can sell them to you for a two-star price.