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A bouquet of flowers is a beautiful and delightful gift to give and receive for special holidays and occasions. But just like our food, it can be hard to know whether each ingredient in the flower vase was sourced ethically and sustainably. Kerri Pfeiffer of Rogue Florist showed us how fun it can be to build your own bouquet using a combination of foraged and local stems with a few added touches purchased from the flower shop.
A DIY bouquet is fun to create, environmentally friendly and could save you big bucks at the flower shop. Besides, you’ll get bonus points for making your Valentine’s day gift by hand.
Step 1: Gather the Materials
Start by choosing your flowers and stems. A basic bouquet should include:
- base greenery - we used seeded Ivy foraged locally
- a sturdy element to help fill out the bouquet - we used kale!*
- focal flowers - we used roses (and kale)
- a “gestural” element (ie. creates a spire or round shape) – we used hyacinth
*If you purchase kale from a florist – do NOT eat it. If you’ve grown the kale yourself or purchased kale grown for eating (from a farmer’s market) then that’s OK.
Tip: at this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, you might be able to forage for ivy, salal, and oregon grape
Overall your stem selections should provide a variety of shapes – spire, round, and wispy as well as different textures. To achieve an elegant and natural look for your bouquet (like ours), opt for colors that are part of the same palette. Analogous colours keeps the bouquet from looking too chaotic, but having a few subtle splashes of color is nice.
Next gather your tools and materials. You'll need:
- standard pruners (available from any garden store)
- scissors (if you don’t have pruners, you might be able to get away with scissors, but they won’t work for thicker stems)
- twine or string
- pretty ribbon
Step 2: Build the Frame
- Break bigger branches down into manageable sizes to work into the bouquet. If you’d like to create a neater bouquet – aim for the stems to be uniform in length. For a more natural-looking bouquet, allow the lengths of stems to vary.
- Start with the greenery to create the overall shape of the bouquet, and choose one stem to model the bouquet off of. This first stem should have a nice shape to it and create a “high point” in the bouquet. The second stem you choose should create a “counter point” or “low point”.
- Add stems on a 45degree angle to create a spiral shape. Also make sure to turn the bouquet as you add stems, one at a time, to create a rounded shape and ensuring the bouquet is filled out all around.
Tip: a spiral is a stronger shape that will stay together better. It is also easer to add stems and adjust positioning.
Step 2: Fill It Out
- Next choose the bulkiest stems – in this case the kale – adding stems at the axis of the spiral. This will start to fill out the bouquet nicely.
- Add the next type of stem - hyacinth for us. Take note of whether leaves can be removed or should be left on each stem.
Tip: as you go, assess the sturdiness of each stem. Hyacinths are quite fragile so leaving the leaves on might be a good idea.
- Take note of the greenery and whether it is mostly concentrated to the periphery of the bouquet, or if you can add a few more stems to the centre. (This should be easy to do if you’ve maintained the spiral shape!)
- Add the roses, or finishing flower last. Determine whether spreading them evenly through the bouquet or grouping them would be most appealing. Grouping flowers can make a bouquet look more interesting and visually appealing.
Tip: a tighter rose (or other flower) will last longer and give a more neat & tidy look while a looser/ more open rose on lends a more whimsical look.
Step 3: Finishing Touches
- Once you’ve got all your stems in the bunch, decide if there’s a natural “front” and “back” to the bouquet. Blooms should be particularly visible from the front of the bouquet.
- Next, and before tying the bunch together with string, check whether the stems on the outside of the bouquet are strong or weak – you may need to add sturdier stems on the outside.
- Make any final adjustments to the bouquet and tie with a string or twine – ensuring to wrap the bundle a couple of times and double knot it. Finish with some beautiful ribbon, tie into a bow and snip the ends into a diagonal.
- Snip the stems – on a diagonal in order for them to absorb more water – and check they are all about equal length.
Tip: to extend the life of the bouquet, change the water every other day.
Head over to Kerri's beautiful site Rogue Florist for plenty more inspiration on your DIY Valentine's Day Bouquet!
Pair your bouquet with a bag of delicious chocolatey Love Crunch Granola for the perfect Valentine's gift!