Hi, everyone! Sam here. I’m so excited you are following along on my journey to learn the art of floral design. Today is the big day… tackling the first “Recipe” from The Flower Chef, the Grocery Store Spiral. This arrangement is listed as a 2 on the Difficulty scale, which I would probably agree with – although it does make me a little anxious to see what the more challenging arrangements end up looking like!
Let’s jump right in. I’ll show you the steps and tell you what I experienced along the away: the good, the bad, and the beautiful results!
- 1 bunch of premium flowers (sunflowers, roses, tulips, etc.)
- 1 bunch of another premium flower
- 1 bunch of filler flowers (alstroemeria, mums, etc.) or greenery
- Something to bind the bouquet
- Small cylinder vase
Following Carly’s directions, I removed the leaves from the stems and arranged my flowers into three separate piles, divided by type. I actually removed mainly the bottom-most leaves from each stem, which is something I would definitely do differently the next time around. Removing all of the leaves would have been much easier in building the bouquet.
Carly also mentions preparing your floral tape (if you’re using it to bind the bouquet) at this point, before you get started. I opted to use a rubber band to bind my bouquet, which I will discuss in more detail when we get to that step. Spoiler alert: the Chef knows best!
Okay, everyone. Deep breaths. You can do this! In Carly’s words, “Start by touching the tips of your thumb and index and middle fingers together to make a small circle.” This will feel pretty awkward at first, but just go with it. Choose your first premium flower (in my case, roses) and place it inside said circle, resting it between your thumb and index finger about 1/3 of the way down the stem.
I found it helped to angle my hand back a bit to keep the rose from twirling in my hand, but I would imagine this would be different for everyone. Do what feels most comfortable to you!
Once you have your first premium flower in place, take the second type of premium flower (I used sunflowers for this bouquet) and cross it over the first flower, so the stems make an X shape. I found the sunflower stems to be a bit tricky to handle, so a smaller-stemmed premium flower might be easier to add in to your arrangement.
Next, add a stem of your filler flowers or greenery (alstroemeria, shown here), making all three stems cross each other one-third of the way down. Try to keep your grip light during these steps! It feels like you should be squeezing the stems to keep them together, but – as The Flower Chef explains – that will actually make the flowers lie side-by-side in stead of in a spiral.
Once you have your first three stems in place, rotate the bouquet one-quarter turn to one-half turn. Add three more flowers in the same way you added them in steps 3-4 above. Each time you add a new threesome of flowers, try to cross their stems slightly closer to the bloom than you did the three before. This helps create the dome shape of the bouquet. Continue doing this until you have used up all the flowers or until your bouquet is as full as you want it to be.
I actually found this process to be pretty straight-forward and somewhat therapeutic! Try not to over-think it. Your filler flowers will do a nice job of hiding any slight imperfections in placement.
Each turn or two of the bouquet, take a step back and hold out the bouquet to be sure you are maintaining the dome shape. There were at least two times that I needed to adjust some of the stems to fix awkward placement. I did this by loosening my hold on the stems slightly and pulling down or pulling up on each bloom gently to put it into place.
This is where I was kicking myself for not following Carly’s recommendations to a T. While a rubber band is a perfectly acceptable way to bind a bouquet, it was really difficult to wrap the band around each flower stem and hold the arrangement in place at the same time. The photo above might look pretty, but I promise the process was so incredibly awkward! I ended up getting the stems wrapped once by the rubber band and decided to use a small, bright pink ponytail holder that I stole from my daughter’s dresser instead. #rookiemistake #momlife
Note to self: Invest in floral tape!
Now that your stems are secured, measure the bouquet against the vase so that the bottom of the outer blooms gently rest on the top of the vase. Cut the stems in a straight line and place the bouquet in the vase, filled half-way with water. I cut mine a bit too long the first time – better safe than sorry – but it was an easy fix to re-cut an inch or so higher on the stem and place the arrangement back in the vase.
Voilà – or as Julia Childs would say – bon appétit! You did it! While it doesn’t look quite as perfect as Carly’s, I am still pretty proud of my beautiful creation. This arrangement was easy to follow and honestly, pretty hard to totally screw up, which definitely worked to my advantage! Like I said before… I am certainly no florist, but this was a great recipe to get my feet wet in the art of floral design. The best part of this arrangement? I created it over two weeks ago and it’s still blooming beautifully on our dining room table.
How would you use this centerpiece in your celebrations? I can totally see it for a rustic wedding celebration or elegant baby shower!
If you have any questions on how to re-create this arrangement for yourself, leave a comment below. I’ll be sure to answer them with complete, brutal honesty!
All photos c/o Kelsey Rebman Photography