Is there a way to make flower arranging downtown-y and cool? Laid back and distinctive, pretty without being precious? There is, and the domaine of the wild and free flower arrangements is reigned by Flower Girl NYC, who is also a real human woman named Denise. We’ve long admired her creations (and so has everyone else, based on her more than 50,000 Instagram followers), and so we reached out to her, all like “Can we be you?” to see if she could teach us a trick or two. What we learned from Denise in our tutorial in her oasis-like, tucked away LES shop was that flower arrangements need not be perfect, and that a lot of pretty things might be found in your backyard. Or, okay, the backyard you visited over the weekend.
Step 1: Materials and Vase
Denise’s idea, which we loved oh so much, was a summer arrangement that was wild, free, and green, green, green. So, she picked a variety of green stems, some of which you’d be able to find in a backyard, or on the side of the road. Here’s what we used:
Queen Anne’s Lace
Bush Ivy (any green ivy works!)
Green Trick (This was our favorite and looked like something out of Dr. Seuss)
We picked a vase with a slight green tint, too. I mean, go big or go home, right?
Step 2: Leaf Line the Vase
This step is easy breezy and makes your arrangement look 5 billion times more professional. Just pick two big pretty green leaves (or more if your vase is bigger), cut them at the end of the leaf, right where the stem starts for easy molding, and gently fold them into the water, setting them against the glass.
Step 3: Green the Arrangement
This step is really fun to say, and fun to do. Greening the arrangement allows your final product to be perfectly imperfect – you can fit your florals in later without worrying about perfect placement. Basically, you’re providing a green leafy canvas on which you can place all of the other elements. We used Thai leaf and Dusty Miller for texture and slight color variations. This is a great technique for non-professional flower arrangers, as it ensures you won’t have empty spaces.
Step 4: Add in Flowers
Here, we used Queene Anne’s lace in bunches to create some height and a feeling of wildness. Then, we added in our new favorite flower Green Trick, and nestled it deeper in the arrangement. Nestling, people. Levels.
Step 5: Specialty Florals (AKA: Flair)
Here we brought out the bigger guns: we put Cybium Orchids and hydrangeas throughout, taking the buds off of the bottom of the orchid to allow for a clean stem. This ensures it doesn’t get too crowded in the water, and also that you don’t waste pretty buds by drowning them. Sprinkle the extra buds that you remove onto the table, or put ‘em in your hair!
Then, Denise taught us our new favorite party trick: stabbing a succulent with a craft stick so that we could nestle it nicely into our arrangement. We have never felt so pro-fesh.
Finally, we looped passion vine around the whole deal.