This year, we are doing Thanksgiving in our apartment. We are “hosting” my sister and her cat, who live in another part of town. I say “hosting” in quotes because we’re all contributing equally to the meal and she’s basically an extension of our apartment, anyway. She’s in charge of the turkey and stuffing (among other things), so it’s not like we’re letting her off easy.
This morning, we ventured into the LA Flower District to find ourselves some blooms to arrange back at the pad. We decided on warm colors and ended up getting peach hydrangeas, yellow-ish roses, bright pink brain flowers (well, they’re really called cockscomb, but they look like brains), and some woody accents — eucalyptus and some yellow-green frothy thing. If I had my dichotomous keys on me I could tell you what they are. We chose to arrange in shallow bows so they could stay on the table during dinner and not obstruct our view of one another.
The LA Flower Market is awesome, once you find parking. You can get exotic, fresh flowers you’ve never even heard of. You can get eucalyptus. You can get 20 roses for $5. I don’t think we spent over $35 for three vases and enough flowers for three robust arrangements. (note: I will take better photos of the arrangements tomorrow when there’s more natural light!)
Tips for flower arranging:
1. I’m no expert, but I didn’t find it too difficult. It’s all about structural/visual balance.
2. When arranged properly, it should be difficult to move the flowers. The stems should be intertwined in the vase so that they’re kind of locked together. You shouldn’t be consciously trying to braid them or anything weird like that, just poke them over and under each other so they tangle in the middle. You’ll know when it feels right. Like true love. True flower love.
3. I arranged first and then added water. But I’d guess you can do it the opposite way without any trouble. Make sure that all your stems reach the water.
4. Always cut the stems long and then trim up as needed. Cut the stems on the diagonal. A small adjustment goes a long way — if a flower seems to be poking out a little, trim the stem just a smidge and see if that does the trick. It probably will.
5. The frothy yellow-green things we got really helped holding the arrangements together because they had a lot of small leaves at the bases, which I poked the other stems under.
6. Not only does eucalyptus smell amazing (can you tell I love it?), it also does wonders in filling out an arrangement. You think you’ve put in way too much, but then suddenly your bouquet feels and looks complete!
7. Try to balance out textures and shapes when you pick your flowers. We mixed frothy and smooth, flat and pointy. If you look at professionally arranged bouquets, you’ll probably notice this about them, too.
8. Have fun arranging. Nobody’s going to be pissed if a rose sticks out too far or a hydrangea is cut too short. They’re freaking flowers. Everybody loves flowers, no matter how they are arranged. And if they don’t, distract them with the magical-smelling eucalyptus.