Color Me Happy

New York–based floral designer Oscar Mora ushers in spring with a standout arrangement sure to brighten anyone’s day

Floral designer Oscar Mora stands beside his finished flower arrangement

My inspiration for this design was New York City, which is all about extremes. With so many people living here from around the world, different styles come together to create layers of visual information, and everyone is constantly trying to make a statement. For a lush bouquet in a cheerful color palette, I chose a tall black cylinder, which is sleek and modern. The glass often catches some reflections of light, making it less severe. Flowers range in size and shape, from the large heads of the peonies to the ethereal sweet peas. All of these contrasting elements play together graciously, and also represent the transition from the cold of winter to joyful springtime.

“Growing up in Venezuela, where everything is all about vibrant and bold color, I loved to draw and paint. Now, as a professional floral designer in New York, I believe that spaces and vases have become my new canvas.” – Oscar Mora

Step-By-Step Instructions

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Materials & Supplies: camellia branches, Japanese sweet peas, ranunculus, peonies, orange roses, yellow roses, phalaenopsis orchids, green hydrangeas, florist’s knife, clippers, snips, lazy Susan, tall black container, and a spray bottle
Step 1: First, place the vase on a lazy Susan, which I use to see the design from every angle while I work. Then cut a few small branches of camellia and put them in the vase. This elegant greenery will help hold the shape of the arrangement.
Step 2: Hydrangeas have woody stems, so cut each one at an angle and then scratch the end of the stem with a knife. (This helps them drink water more easily.) Then intersperse the hydrangeas among the camellia branches.
Step 3: Now bring in the delicate phalaenopsis orchids, which add volume to the design.
Step 4: The peonies come next. Don’t be afraid to use your fingers to manually open up the petals that are still closed in the center of the bloom.
Step 5: After opening up the inner peony petals, pull off any outer petals that don’t look good, and cut off the knots on the stems with a knife. Add the peonies in and around the camellia branches, hydrangeas, and phalaenopsis orchids.
Step 6: To prep the roses, take off the leaves on each stem, as well as the outer petals on each bloom. Place the orange and yellow roses in groups throughout the arrangement. Continue with the ranunculus by removing the leaves and adding a few stems to the design.
Step 7: Finally, it’s time for the sweet peas—the scented touch of the arrangement. Start with a curvy stem to give some movement, which makes the whole design look a little more ethereal.
Step 8: As a finishing touch, moisten the flowers with a spray bottle. This helps to keep them fresh, especially the peonies and roses. (Avoid directly spraying the sweet peas, because it can leave water spots on their petals.)

Produced by Abby Braswell | Photos by Brooke Slezak