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flower arranging items on table

The Art of Flower Arranging

Words alone do not always suffice, so flowers have been used to conduct conversations since ancient times.

The Romans graced their mosaics with depictions of flower arrangements, and the Victorians created an entire secret language from flowers, with intricate meanings going well beyond red roses for romance. Daffodils, for example, symbolised chivalry, whilst yellow tulips said, ‘There’s sunshine in your smile’.

Whatever the season, the British floral landscape produces ample opportunity for flower arranging, from summer’s sunflowers to winter’s red-berried holly.

So whether you want to say ‘thank you’, ‘I love you’, ‘I’m thinking of you’, or just want to treat yourself, here are our tips for making a hand tied bouquet: a versatile and beautiful bunch of flowers suitable for a bride/bridesmaid, a romantic gift, or a display to brighten up your home.

First things first, you will need…

  • A selection of flowers. The choice is yours! We recommend a mixture of larger flowers, such as roses or lilies, with smaller ones, such as spray roses or astrantia.
  • Foliage to add texture to your flower arrangements, such as privet, hebe, alchemilla or ruscus.
  • A piece of string.
  • Scissors.
  • A mirror.

small bunch of white flowers

Now, how to make a bouquet…

1. Lay out your flowers and foliage, and trim any excess buds or leaves off the stems.

2. Start holding a few of your smaller flowers together and decide where your ‘binding point’ will be. Maintain your hold here throughout your flower arranging – this is where you will tie your finished bouquet together.

Porter Riley’s top tip: the higher the binding point is up the stem, the tighter the bunch will be. If you prefer a larger display for a flower vase, start lower down the stem. 

3. Place your smaller flowers together, ensuring they are angled at your binding point. This will create fullness and a lovely dome shape.

4. Arrange your larger flowers within the bunch. Using your mirror is an easy way to check that your bunch of flowers remains perfectly balanced!

Porter Riley’s top tip: as you add large roses, rotate your bunch around so the side to which you are adding each flower is always facing you.

5. Add your foliage to the bunch, followed by more flowers – large or small as you please.

Porter Riley’s top tip: evergreen foliage is often shorter so is better for medium-sized flower arrangements such as a bridal bouquet. Seasonal foliage such as privet is tall so is better suited to a larger bunch of flowers or flower vase display. For more information visit: http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/learn-about-types-of-foliage-for-flower-arranging.

6. Tie your bunch of flowers together at your binding point with a piece of string, using a simple knot. A more attractive ribbon can be used for a bridal bouquet or DIY wedding flowers.

7. Trim the excess stem below the binding point to a suitable length. Be sure to remove any leaves or foliage as these can rot the water the flowers are placed in.

Et voila – your flower arranging is complete! Whether your finished hand tied bouquet will be carried by a bridal party, or used to impress guests at the dinner table, learning how to arrange flowers will bring the bright colours and attractive scents of nature to life for any occasion.

Want to take your floristry skills further? We recommend Simple Flower Arranging by Mark Welford and Stephen Wicks, Dorling Kindersley (ISBN: 978- 1405362313).

red pink and white flowers in duck egg vase

Porter Riley is a London-based leather design company who bring a touch of luxury to everyday life. Our range of genuine leather phone cases celebrate classic craftsmanship made contemporary, ensuring age-old floral conversations remain current.

Words by Rochelle Blakeman


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