Life of a Florist- in Quarantine

As mandated by Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, my floral studio is closed in order to be sure we are helping “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 in our area. Do I miss designing for all of my wonderful clients? Absolutely!!! I miss the banter with customers, many who have become friends. I miss the fresh flower shipments that arrived twice per week and always felt like Christmas morning when you opened them. I miss the ebb and flow of a typical flower shop day with some moments feeling frenzied as we would get everything processed, designed and delivered and then those rare moments when we could pause and “smell the flowers.” 🙂

Mostly though, I miss the whole process of taking an order, really listening to the client, asking questions, getting a good understanding for the situation, the relationship between the sender and the recipient, just the general “vibe,” and then using the gorgeous fresh materials available that day to create something unique and personal just for that person. Sigh. Hoping to be back to it very soon!

DIY floral arrangement for home

My floral cooler is currently turned off and the supply of product from vendors is on hold until the executive order is lifted. However, the urge to design is still strong so last week, on a sunny Michigan day in early April, I headed outdoors to see what fresh materials I could find.

I’m hoping this will be a motivator to those of you who would like to try your hand at floral design and don’t know where to start. Below is a finished version of how my foraged finds came together to, both from the yard and also from my house plants.

Step 1: I found a container in the garage. This one is a ceramic pot, maybe the size of a large coffee mug, but it could be larger- what do you have? I cut some branches that were still green and malleable which allowed me to create a grid to put over the top of the container. A container with wide opening can be difficult to put flowers into unless you have something like this to stabilize the stems. And it doesn’t hurt that it looks natural and amazing!

Step 2: Look around your yard for anything that might be beginning to bloom (hellebores, bulbs. hydrangeas, etc.) or plants that have held over during the winter such as dusty miller, boxwood, lavender, etc. And also- check out your house plants! Is there anything that would make a good cutting?

Step 3: Look for a focal point for the arrangement. This could be a larger flower, a massing of one variety of flower or even, as in my case, a succulent. The hens and chicks in my front yard were buried under pine needles and dried leaves so they completely surprised me when I found them and they were such a vibrant color! Last summer these were more of a blue-grey.

Step 4: Hunt for secondary flowers or flowers that will accent your focal bloom and fill in the arrangement. The gorgeous dusty purple tone of hens and chicks led me to look for other blooms that carried a burgundy/purple theme through. The hellebores are such a durable and cold weather hardy plant that they are have been the first to appear starting in late March. The mini calla lilies came from an indoor plant.

Step 5: Gather the materials on your work table (mine is a card table in my garage,) remove any foliage at the base of the stems in preparation for arranging and be sure to have a sharp pruner or cutting tool. I also had some wired twine in the garage that I used to attach certain blooms. Add water to your container. (And yep, a sign of the times- disinfecting wipes on the table but not to clean the plant materials!!)

Step 6: Both the succulents and the hellebores have relatively little or no stem. I cut the succulent at the base of the plant or the soil line (and this could be done with a succulent you are growing in a pot indoors) and removed most of the soil. The roots will continue to grow and this can get replanted later when I am done enjoying it in this arrangement.

~I cut a branch at a sharp angle to insert into the succulent at the back and create a temporary stem.

~I used the wired twine ( this could just be wire) to create a base for each hellebore bloom and placed some low into the container and wired others to a taller branch for added interest.

Thank you so much for taking a moment to check this post out. Even if you don’t have plans to forage materials and design for yourself, maybe I helped you pass a little time?! Stay home, stay safe and above all, stay healthy- physically and mentally!!!

4 thoughts on “Life of a Florist- in Quarantine”

  1. Tracey, thank you for brightening the day…again! You are so talented, and very kind to share a “how to” during these crazy days.
    Take good care and we hope to see you soon!

  2. Just beautiful! Who knew, looking outside right now, that things are this far along. Now I know that, when this is over, I need to plant some hen and chicks and some hellebores!

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