Arranging fresh-cut flowers doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a single flower in a small vase, or as complicated as an artfully designed armful of dozens of brightly colored specimens.
First, start the bouquet in a clean container. If flower-arranging is new to you, try creating a pleasing grouping of flowers while you have them in your hand. Cut all the stems underwater at the same time, them plop the blooms into a vase.
Next you will need some oasis, blocks of green foam that floral designers use. It is soaked in water, then cut to fit the bottom of a container. Fresh flowers can be arranged by sticking them into the oasis. Add water to the arrangement so that the block does not dry out.
There are many tricks to holding flowers in place. Some floral designers create a crisscross pattern over the top of a large glass container with sticky floral tape; make sure the rim of the container is dry first. The webbing you create with the tape helps hold long stems upright.
You can also buy a frog - but not the green ones that jump and croak. A florist's frog is something to put in the bottom of a container to help the flowers stand up. Some frogs look like the head of a wire brush; they often are round or oblong and made of heavy metal.
Put the frog in the bottom of the container and poke the flower stems into its prongs. This will help the blossoms stand straight and take in water.
There are other ways to create interesting arrangements - just open your refrigerator. A combination of limes and yellow apples will help hold larger flowers in a big vase. Smaller vases need something about the size of a penny or smaller, such as grapes, peas, beans, or even popcorn. A jar of coins would create a beautiful bouquet. If you are having a party, match the arrangement to the theme.
Small objects used in large quantities can make an interesting frog for the bouquet. If your son likes toy cars, use them at the bottom of a flower arrangement for the table. Marbles, dominoes, checkers, whistles, plastic barrettes, or pretty plastic rings
also make interesting flower supports when they are submerged in a glass container. Fill the vase about one-third of the way with your favorite filler, then pour in water to the halfway point. Arrange the flowers, pushing them firmly into the base of filler. Once the largest flowers are into position, carefully place more filler into the container to keep them in place. When the stems are arranged, add a final layer of filler and more water. If the filler expands, like beans or popcorn, leave some room for it to grow.
Water these containers more often because the filler soaks up the water in the vase.
TOPIARY OF ROSES
Make a rose topiary with just a handful of sweetheart roses. Find a four-inch container - small specialty coffee containers work well.
Paint it a favorite color or try a faux finish. Cut a cube of floral foam to fit inside the container, then soak it in water. After it is saturated, put it in the container and cover it with sheet moss. Gather six roses or 10 sweetheart roses and trim the stems to the same length, then push them into the foam.
Kelly Heidbreder is The Blade's garden writer. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.