Basic Floral Arranging Tips by Carlos

Here are a few tips from our lead floral designer.

Fresh flowers, whether just cut from the garden or brought home from the florist or market, are a gift from nature that glows with good cheer. Although you can plunk them in any old vase, if you know just a few tricks--such as the ones Carlos demonstrates here-- it's easy to create much more original displays.

Start by preparing the flowers so they'll last their longest.

- Cut garden flowers in the cool of early morning or after sunset. Immerse stems in cool water for about an hour before arranging them. (Add ice cubes to the water if it's a very hot day.)

- Cut stems on an angle, and remove any foliage that falls below the water line.
- Fill the vase with fresh, room-temperature water, and add a commercial cut-flower food. (Adding a teaspoon of liquid bleach to the water will prevent bacterial bloom.)
- Cluster the Flowers in a bunch in your hand, keeping
stems upright, and place them in the vase.
- Every two days or so, change the water, add a sprinkle
of flower food, and recut the stems if they've browned.

Select a container that will show off your florals best, whether you want to highlight their colors, graceful silhouettes, or ebullient blossoms. Look beyond the standard vase; consider bowls, pitchers, and even tumblers. If you want to protect your container from moisture (a good idea for any antique or porous clay), line it with a piece of plastic wrap, insert a plastic container to hold the water, and then begin arranging.