My memories of going to relatives’ homes are always of leaving with food or vegetables from the garden or flowers from their yards, so the tradition of giving something to guests as they leave was instilled in me from an early age. It’s in that spirit that I designed this centerpiece of bouquets.
Clients always ask what happens to the flowers at the end of an event, so I came up with this design that could be easily assembled and then disassembled once the party’s over. As a springtime arrangement featuring seven interlocking bouquets, it’s a show-stopping centerpiece. Once the dinner draws to a close, it can be disassembled, with each individual bouquet becoming a favor for your guests.
I used a rustic, 10-inch-wide container, but you could also use a silver Revere bowl or a pretty ceramic mixing bowl for a different look, keeping in mind how many bouquets you need and the size of your table. (For a 60-inch round table that seats 10, you’ll generally need a container about 10 inches wide. If you have an 8-foot dining table, however, consider two arrangements, each in containers 8 inches wide.)
Before you begin, take into account how many stems of each flower you’ll need for each bouquet. This ensures that each bouquet will be similar when placed in the container. I like to work one-by-one, but before I begin I first clean the stems with my knife, leaving any leaves only near the base of the blossom itself.
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
- large bowl
- paper towels
- waxed tissue paper
- pink hyacinth
- pink ranunculus
- Pieris japonica
- Viburnum opulus
- ‘Vuvuzela’ roses
- Curcuma alismatifolia
- French anemone
How to Make a Bouquet Arrangement
1|To assemble the first hand-tied bouquet, choose the first two stems. I like to begin with the largest stem, in this case the hyacinth, and then add in a firm support piece like the Pittosporum. Cross the Pittosporum over the hyacinth so that it angles left to right (as if aligning with the numbers 10 and 4 on a clock face).
2|Continue adding flowers and greenery by crossing them each over the last piece.
3|Rotate the grouping counterclockwise to get to a spot without flowers and keep adding to the bouquet. I continue with Viburnum opulus, Pieris japonica, and a rose.
4|Continue rotating and filling in until the bouquet is complete. Keep in mind that this one is the model for the remaining six bouquets, so be sure you’re happy with it before you move on.
5|Tie a knot of raffia right at the bottom of the leaves. Be careful not to tie it too tight or too high, in effect choking the blossoms. A simple, firm knot will do—no bows here, please.
6|Now it’s time to consider the height of the bouquet. You want the stems to be short enough to fit into the bowl, but long enough to reach across the base and interlock with other bouquet stems for stability. Stand the hand-tied bouquet next to the bowl and determine where to cut.
7|Snip the ends off in a clean cut, and fan the stems out before placing in the container.
8|Fill the container with water, but be sure not to add so much that the remaining bouquets will cause it to overflow.
9|Assemble the rest of the bouquets, which should be similar though not necessarily identical to the first one.
10|Arrange the bouquets around the container and allow the stems to interlock.
11| Fill the container with bouquets. Once it's complete you may find it’s just right as is. Or, if there are slight gaps between the bouquets, you can drop a blossom in here and there to fill in.
When you distribute the flowers to your guests, be sure to blot the stems with paper towels before you wrap them in waxed tissue paper. I like to use two ribbons to tie them up for a tailored look. Also, don’t forget to remind your guests to give the stems a fresh clip before placing them in a vase at home. And don’t think this bouquet arrangement design is limited to springtime. With the right selection of materials and color schemes, it could work in any season. Enjoy!
By DeJuan Stroud | Photography by Udom Surangsophon
See Stroud’s celebrations, events, and weddings at his site.