April showers bring May flowers…from the shop into your home. Flowers not only brighten a home with color and life, they actually have many health benefits too. Having arrangements can help to reduce anxiety and depression, increase happiness and feelings of compassion, and boost creativity – a helpful touch given many are still working from home. Having floral arrangements at home should be seen as another element of décor, and used to complement your design style. “When it comes to flowers, get what you love -- what makes you happy,” says Stephanie Barbagiannis of Allendale Flowers. Barbagiannis shares the simplest and most elegant ways to incorporate flowers into your home in our flower arranging 101.
What to Look For
“Start with flowers from your local florist, which are the freshest because they are cared for daily,” says Barbagiannis. “For a more natural look, go with tones and colors that complement your current décor. For example, my home has more warm tones – rusts, ivories and wood pieces. I lean toward oranges, yellows and natural greens.” Common home colors such as gray and navy go well with plums, whites and slate blue flowers. “As far as texture, the more the better. We love flowers with ruffled edges like parrot tulips or spiked petals like thistle,” she says.
If you aren’t sold on a type of flower, Barbagiannis recommends peonies and ranunculus, popular options at Allendale Flowers. “They’re beautiful and feminine,” she says. Barbagiannis is also a fan of quince and dogwood branches. “Though seasonal, you can purchase them when the buds are very tight and watch them bloom all month.” When making your own flower arrangement, keep in mind the least amount of varieties are the easiest to design.
Don’t overlook your outdoor living space when flower shopping. “If you’re placing flowers outdoors, stay away from those that are temperature sensitive,” says Barbagiannis. Hydrangea will wilt in direct sunlight, and freeze if it’s too cold. Look for hardier varieties like trachelium, flowering branches, and succulents or heat tolerant flowers like protea from Africa for centerpieces that work well on warmer days.
Once you’ve got the hard part of picking your perfect peony down, equip yourself with the tools to take care are your arrangements. Make sure you place them in a clean vase, which is the simplest step to healthy flowers. “Though we love a beautiful ceramic vase, it’s hard to see the water level or the cleanliness of the water, so opt for a clear vase.” Barbagiannis also suggests a narrower neck on a vase, which will keep the flowers tighter together and more cohesive looking. Be sure to change the water daily to prolong the life of the flowers. “Bacteria build-up is what will kill the flowers,” she says. Cut the stems with sharp, clean clippers daily to rehydrate the flowers, and keep out of direct sunlight. Cutting from your own garden? Cut them early in the morning before they are exposed to the day’s sunlight.
Then, be sure to stop and smell the roses – or whichever type you choose.