I became a florist literally overnight. It was 1999 and my sister, Marcie and I partnered up to take over a local flower and gift shop in a small town near us. My sister had worked at the shop for a few years but I had never made a fresh arrangement in my life! One day I was an employee at Wal-Mart and the next day I was a florist and co-owner of a business. I learned a great deal in the short time I was a business owner. I like to refer to it as a CRASH course in the school of business. The crash part being a story for another day.
I can say that I learned, rather quickly, how to do some basic arranging. What smelled good, what lasted a long time, and how to make something look full and pretty with little effort. You may think that flower arranging is too hard but I am going to share with you one of my favorite types of arrangements, the Spring Jelly Jar.
Here is what you need:
A wide mouth jar
A frog lid for a wide mouth jar (You can get this at Hobby Lobby. Click here.)
Flowers (See buying directions below.)
What Flowers to Buy:
Buying flowers can be intimidating so let me give you the basics for this arrangement.
1: Buy something that is tall, lean and smells good. (Kind of like picking out a boyfriend.) This flower will be the center of the arrangement. I use a flower called Stock. Not a fancy name but it comes in a variety of colors and smells spicy and floral all at the same time.
2: You will need a large flower and a medium flower. I chose Gerbera Daisies for my large flower and Alstroemeria for my medium flower. Get colors that complement each other but are not the same. It’s also good to get one with a solid color and one in a variegated as I have done here.
3: You will also need a small flower as filler. Filler flowers allow you to fill in the places around your other flowers so your arrangement looks full and pretty. I chose Wax Flower but Baby’s Breath is a great filler and usually easy to find.
Shopping Note: I bought all of these flowers at Trader Joes. They have amazing flowers, very fresh and the prices are fantastic. The price I pay per stem are often better than what I can get wholesale. If you have a Trader Joes in your area, GO THERE and buy flowers (and coconut bon bons… They are soooooo good.)
Here are a few things you should know before we get started:
- Cutting flowers under running water allows the cells to take in as much water as they can and also prevents air from getting in. Your flowers will last much longer if you feed them (floral food comes with the flowers) and cut them under running water.
- When preparing your stems to be put into the water get rid of extra leaves or blooms that may be below the rim of your container, in this case the rim of the jar. That extra foliage will just junk up the water and space in the jar making it hard to add all of the stems.
- We will be making a round arrangement so make sure that you continue to turn your vessel so that each side gets your attention.
Let’s start with the container, in this case a wide mouth mason jar. This jar is fitted with a frog lid. A frog lid in floral terms is a lid that has a checkerboard pattern so you have little grid to put the flowers in. It makes keeping the flowers in the right place and helping them stand up straight really easy.
Fill your jar about two-thirds of the way with cold water and pour in half a packet of floral food. The food comes with the flowers when you buy them at Trader Joes.
Working near a sink, so you have a steady stream of water for cutting your flowers, we are going to begin adding the flowers one layer at a time. The easiest way to make sure you get the flowers cut to the right length is to hold them with your finger at the edge of the counter at the height where you want them.
Once I know how tall I want it by comparing it to the container then I will move my fingers down about a half-inch and under running cold water I will cut the stem at an angle. Why move your cut line down a half-inch you may ask? Well that’s a good question. You can always trim a bit more off the stem but you CANNOT add stem back on. I learned this the hard way when working with flowers that were $14-$20 a stem. If you don’t cut correctly the first time you will pay for it, literally!
Now that your jar is ready choose your tallest and best-looking piece of Stock. Cut it under running water and place it as close to the center of your frog as possible. We will add more stock later but for now just one piece.
Next add your large flower. My large flower is the Gerbera Daisies. When I add flowers to an arrangement I like to work in odd numbers. So I plan on using five Gerberas. Again hold the stem to the counter and this time you want the Gerberas to stand somewhere between one inch to an inch and half below your center flower. Don’t use a ruler just eyeball it.
I will cut three daisies that are about the same height and place them almost equal distances around my center Stock. Then I will cut the other two daises just a little lower and place them at the sides of the vessel. This gives good symmetry to the arrangement but still keeps it looking natural.
So far, it’s doesn’t look like much but we are not done yet. Now for the medium flower. I love to use Alstroemeria, small Daisies or even Mini Carnations for this part. Working in odd numbers I plan to use three stems of Alstroemeria and kind of work it between and around my Gerberas. Some of it will be a little higher and some of the blooms will work themselves under the Gerberas.
As you add stems you will find that your flowers are becoming more and more stable, they are standing up straight and you are able to keep them in place better with the help of the frog lid.
Now is a good time to add a bit more Stock. I use one piece of Stock, which usually has at least three stems with blooms. I will cut the blooms off separately from the main stem and tuck them around and under the Gerberas. This allows me to fill in some gaps left by the Alstroemeria and adds a lovely fragrance to my arrangement.
The arrangement is looking good now but there are still a few holes. Here is where the filler comes in handy. Start with a few tall stems (Make sure to remove any of the lower blooms of each stem, set them aside. We will use them later.) and after cutting them under running water, nestle them neatly into the nooks and crannies of your arrangement. You want the filler, in my arrangement it is the Wax Flower, to just peek over the other flowers but not to be taller than your center piece of Stock.
Once you have added the filler to the top of the arrangement then take the little pieces that you have stripped from the stems and tuck them in around the base. We don’t want to waste blooms but the pieces must be long enough that they are getting water.
Spin your arrangement around. Are there any large open areas? Do you see a lot of stems somewhere and not a bloom? Are there large sections of the frog base showing? If you answer yes to any of these questions then add some more filler, small flowers or even bits of Stock to fill it up.
Once done your arrangement should now be full of blooms, smell magnificent and look absolutely GLORIOUS!
It’s ready for the final touch, a piece of ribbon. Totally optional but I like to add some color and texture with ribbon at the end. Find the best looking side and tie on a piece of ribbon or string around the rim of the jar.
As always, step back and admire your work. You did it, it’s colorful, it smells lovely, and it’s going to brighten up your home, or your neighbors, friends, or moms home. This is a simple spring bouquet.
If you are a gardener think about planting some of these types of things in your flowerbeds or garden. Then you can simply cut the flowers from your backyard and with a mason jar and a frog lid brighten almost any occasion.
I would love to see your first arrangements. Send me a picture and enjoy some fresh flowers this spring.
Talk to you soon!