How to make up a flower arrangement

How to make up a flower arrangement
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With spring in bloom it's tempting to try and fill our houses with flowers, but it can be hard to figure out what to buy and how best to arrange them.

Whether you are giving or receiving flowers, Kellie Donovan, Asda’s official flower designer, has some top tips to help you with your first arrangement.

The perfect bunch

Think about where you want your flowers displayed and how you want them to compliment the colours in your room. Roses, lilies, tulips, orchids and chrysanthemums are popular favourites but for something a little different, consider ranunculus, a member of the buttercup family.

Avoid mixing spring flowers such as daffodils, narcissi and hyacinths with other flowers as they release a sap that other flowers don’t always like and can react badly. Hayfever can also be a nightmare for flower fans, so if you’re buying for someone who suffers from hay fever, avoid anything with quite visible pollen such as lilies, freesia and daffodils and choose carnations or roses instead.

Think about size

It’s important to consider the shape and size of the vase you use. Too tall or too short can cause your flowers to drown or fall out of the rim of the vase and break because they aren’t supported. A good average height is around 30cm – the length of a ruler, with a neck of around 15cm. When it comes to height, the florist’s rule is 1/3 vase – 2/3 flower height. Spring flowers tend to have short stems so they're perfect for shorter vases.

A tall jug can make a great alternative to a vase, or try using empty wine, beer and milk bottles with the labels soaked off. Thin-stemmed flowers such as germini, lisianthus, roses, carnations or even interesting foliages and grasses can look great with just a few stems in each bottle.

Let there be shade

Placing flowers on the windowsill might look lovely, however, in direct sunlight they risk suffering from the heat. Similarly, avoid placing flowers next to a radiator or fire. The hallway is a great place to display flowers, as it’s often shaded.

Trim and groom

Ensure you pick off any leaves from the stem that will be below the water line, otherwise they’ll go mouldy. Flowers need fresh ends to absorb water so cut off at least a centimetre at a sharp angle using scissors or secateurs (if your scissors are blunt, use a vegetable knife instead). This also stops stems sitting flat on the bottom of your vase, allowing greater water uptake.

The day after you’ve placed your flowers in the vase, check the water level if they’ve been out of water for a significant period of time. Lilies, spring flowers and chrysanthemums are varieties that drink a lot initially.

Feeding time

Make sure you use the flower food provided, it’s crafted to help you keep your flowers fresher for longer. However if you’ve changed the water, a great tip is to use a sterilising tablet – try a quarter tablet to every three pints of water. Sterilising tablets contain a small amount of bleach, which will help keep the water clean and clear without causing damage to your flowers.

A rosy revival

Roses can often be revived if they’re wilting by wrapping them up in paper so their heads are level and their necks are straight. Next, cut the stems at an angle, under water if possible. This will help to force water up the stems and remove the air lock, which causes them to droop. Leave them in the water wrapped for a few hours or even overnight.

Approach with caution

Lilies are a popular choice and can look really striking, but their pollen can stain clothes. Make sure you place them somewhere where people won’t be brushing past, and if the flowers drop, make sure the the pollen doesn’t land on your dresser! If you do get pollen on your clothes or furnishings don’t rub it! Get some sticky tape and carefully dab at the pollen grains - they’ll adhere to the tape and will lift off.

Arranging your own bouquet

If you have a lot of foliage, use this first as your base to work around. Pick one variety as your focus and insert the flowers so that the stems are crossing within the vase; this will give each head its own space. Choose another flower in a different colour as your accent to finish the bouquet. The more flowers you use, the more they will help to support each other and stay where you’ve placed them.

Advice from Asda's flower designer Kellie Donovan.