While everyone else was anxiously watching pigskins arch through the air last Sunday, I was daydreaming about romantic blooms for this Valentine’s-inspired post. I wanted to continue my commitment to using only locally grown floral material for my design(s), but February proves less than hospitable for most plant life outside under the heaps of weighty snow we’ve gotten this winter. With no greenhouse of my own to pillage, I went searching for other local growers who have greenhouses and local blooms available in the dead of winter when we all so desperately need the beauty and color of flowers. It was a bit of a treasure hunt, one that was successful in the end, and I’d encourage you to set out on your own search for locally grown flowers, starting with a visit to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers website to find a local flower farmer near you.
When I was in college, it never failed that I would be single for Valentine’s Day, thanks to my “on and off again” boyfriend conveniently picking a fight right around the first week of February just like clockwork every year. Don’t worry, he’s long gone, and I now get to celebrate with a wonderful and mature man every year. But back in college, I got sick of opening the dorm door to yet another delivery of red roses for some other girl (no doubt always hoping they were for me). So I decided to start celebrating the love I had for my family and friends instead of moping over romance. Soon Valentine’s Day was fun again as I got creative with displays of affection that didn’t involve red roses.
I thought today I would give you a few inspirations for beautiful blooms that can be given to anyone this Valentine’s Day, including yourself! Sweet and fun is the name of this game, not conventional sultry and sexy. — Jennie
CLICK HERE for the full how-tos for BOTH floral arrangements after the jump!
It’s my philosophy that the vessel you choose for your flowers really sets the tone for how your arrangement will be perceived. Don’t be afraid of unusual choices; in fact, the more unexpected, the better. I snagged the “love” mug set at an Anthropologie sale; it’s great for tea and for flowers. The mugs were filled with little matching posies of pink and white ranunculus and dried poppy pods from last season that I spray painted gold for a little extra sass. Simple and sweet, right?
To get a little more playful and even more inexpensive, I put a lush, richly hued design in a take-out box that can be given to just about anyone you admire. It’s a great way to recycle both the box and the little plastic sauce container that usually comes with it. Just be sure to give both a good cleaning so your flowers don’t smell like duck sauce.
For even more fun, consider adding extra whimsy with a hand-stitched felt heart or even homemade fortune cookies with personalized messages. I didn’t have time to make a batch of fortune cookies before submitting this post, but I have made them in the past using this recipe. It was fun and surprisingly easy. What a creative way to tell your best friend, “You’re a good cookie!” or a still new boyfriend/girlfriend, “My heart is blossoming for you!”
Take-Out Box How-To
- take-out box (recycle one or buy new at a craft store)
- plastic container to hold water
- rubber band
- ranunculus (red)
- tulips (purple & white)
- stock (purple)
- scented geranium leaves
- felt hearts, fortune cookies or other fun extras
1. Place plastic container in take-out box and carefully fill it three-quarters full with water (add floral preservative if you have it). Set aside.
2. Set out all your flowers, removing all the leaves that will fall below the water line. Start gathering the flowers in your hand, crossing the stems at an angle so the flowers point outward instead of straight up. Turn the flowers in your hand and add more, keeping the stems on an angle. This takes some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Keep adding flowers to your hand until you feel like the bouquet is big enough to fill the take-out box.
3. Cut the stems to about 6-inches long, and then use a rubber band to secure the stems at the base of the flowers to keep the bouquet looking the same way it did in your hand. Now gauge how long the stems need to be by holding the bouquet up next to the box and seeing how much more of the stems you need to cut to get the flowers to just rest at the top of the box. Cut the stems and immediately place in water in the box. Tuck in any whimsical extras.
Ta-Da! Ready to give!
*A note about tulips: they continue to “grow” once you’ve put them in an arrangement, getting taller than the flowers around them and sometimes ruining the form you created. To avoid this, tuck the tulips way down into the design when you are creating it so that they will then “grow” in a day or two to be at the spot you originally wanted them.