The air’s dipped down to a cool 45, so my plants have come in. Giant hibiscus in oversized deck pots piled into the living room. It’s as though Alice in Wonderland’s garden has burst into my home, and I don't mind a bit. It lends a magic to my mending.
I’m happily perched on my sofa, buried by my mending pile, with a warm fire crackling, my feet tucked under just so. Moccasins on, of course—with a furry black trapper hat at the tippy top—as you do when you find yourself going through the winter warmies, after pulling them out of storage. Mittens to mend. Jackets to sew. Even boots need a patch or two to keep them watertight.
The wildness of it all pairs perfectly with the floral arrangement that sits to my left from the hōm market's floral design class, led by our very own, Britt Summers.
The flowers spill from the vase—Britt suggested we use Alice and her luscious garden of blooms as inspiration, and it worked beautifully.
The students dove into their arrangements and we were blown away by their creations.
In no time, pale pink butterfly ranunculus and ivory striated lisianthus danced from their leather-wrapped Made Solid vases. Golden mustard and cappuccino roses sang beautifully as the face flowers, framed by rose-colored parrot tulips, anemones, and deep burgundy smokebush, feathered and jeweled eucalyptus punctuating the stunning holiday centerpieces.
Throughout the class, Britt shared her extensive knowledge—with her background as a florist in events production in Manhattan, she knows her way around a gorgeous centerpiece and she shared her top tips and tricks:
CHOOSE YOUR FLOWERS: When choosing a color palette, think of where the arrangement will be, coordinate with linens and a setting's decor.
Or simply be inspired by the seasonal flowers that are available—we certainly were at G. Page’s on West 28th Street! Britt was in her element and it was great to see her reconnecting with colleagues and the pure joy of being with the flowers! We even bumped into her dear friend, Ingrid Carozzi of Tin Can Studios, whose new book, Flowers by Design is now available for pre-sale and features Britt!
Once you have your flowers, time to prep.WASH VASES + CLIPPERS: Bacteria is what shortens the life of a flower, so clean those vases and clippers with dish soap and rinse well.
PREP STEMS: Remove the lower leaves to ensure there are none sitting in the water. These leaves can decompose and create a soupy, stinky bacteria-filled vase that will kill the flowers. When using roses, snip off the thorns (this makes it easier to move the stems in and out of the vase as you’re arranging).
PREP YOUR VASE, TAPE A GRID: Fill your vase with room temperature water. Dry the mouth of your vase to prepare it for tape. Using clear floral tape, create a grid at the mouth of your vase—two to three lines of tape in one direction, then another two to three in the other direction. (Careful not to make the holes too small—you want the flowers able to lean.) Then wrap a line of tape around the mouth of the vase to secure the tape ends. This creates a grid to design into, helping your stems stay in place.
WHERE WILL IT SIT: Decide whether the arrangement will sit on the dining table, mantle, or sideboard. If it’s a centerpiece, you’ll need to design from all sides. If it’s for a mantle, you’ll design for optimal views from the front and sides.
FRESH CUT: Stems should be given a fresh cut before being put into water. If they’re out of water for more than 30 seconds, give them another snip with clean clippers. If not freshly cut, an air bubble can form in the stem, making it difficult for it to drink water leading to premature wilting.
HAVE AT IT: Put on your favorite tunes and play—get creative and start designing! Britt suggests starting with your greens, keeping them loose and effortless looking (of course it’s not, but that’s the look!). It’s helpful if you have a lazy susan to place your vase on, so you can see how the arrangement looks from all directions. If not, just turn the vase slowly and move around.
Once the greens are in, add your flowers. The order: face flowers, fillers, and last, your delicate gestural blooms. Height with lisianthus, movement with butterfly ranunculus, add one stem at a time, rotate and take a look. Odd numbers of each type of stem is nice—groups of threes, fives. But with all things, rules are meant to be broken, so add one at a time, take a step back and see how you feel about it. You want your eye to move around the design and not get stuck in one place, so use the stems at varying heights to keep interest flowing.
Be sure not to block your face flowers (roses and lilies) by your greens or other flowers. Let each bloom be seen. Britt taught us how to flex the roses and tulips, gently folding back the petals, and blowing in the middle. You can even put the stem between your palms and gently roll the stem so the flower opens.
As I take in the blooms around me, I continue to chip away at my dwindling mending pile—it's a sweet, slow task made infinitely better, surrounded by these beautiful flowers!
If Britt's class inspires you to design your own arrangements, show us! Tag @thehommarket with #thehommarket so we can see your creations. Be sure to sign up for her next class—we'd love to see you at hōm.