Tips and Tricks
- Use opaque vases instead of glass. They hide messy stems and quietly complement flowers rather than competing with them.
- Mimic the randomness of nature. Think asymmetry, odd numbers, and varied depth and height when arranging.
- Don’t be afraid to cut tall flowers very short. Playing with scale can give even a solitary bloom a lot of impact: Imagine looking down into the face of a single sunflower in a low, round bud vase.
- Clip backyard plants to make arrangements more interesting. Shrubbery or garden foliage, like forsythia, coleus, begonia leaves, and ivy, can add depth to a display. And don’t dismiss beautiful weeds, such as Queen Anne’s lace.
- Opt for slender-necked vessels if you’re unsure about your skills. Vases with smaller mouths do the work for you—holding flowers artfully without letting them plop—so even the most basic display looks gorgeous.
The Only Vases You Really Need
- A tall, fluted column, slightly wider on top than on the bottom, holds supermarket bunches, bouquets from guests, and any long-stemmed roses that come your way. A height of about 10 inches works well.
- A small footed urn is perfect for a centerpiece. It’s low, so it won’t interfere with dinner conversation, and it offers a nice view from above. Six inches tall by eight wide makes a statement but isn’t hard to fill.
- A trio of bud vases in complementary shapes can work as a cluster centerpiece or be separated to showcase single gorgeous blooms. Choose one medium-height, one tall, and one squat, all with narrow mouths.
The expert behind all the arrangements and advice on these pages is Nicolette Owen of Nicolette Camille Floral Design (nicolettecamille.com) and Little Flower School, in Brooklyn.