Pretty easy-to-make flower arrangements: Brighten up your party table (video, photos)

Laura Lee Symes from Sellwood Flower Co. wants to make it easy for you to create a simple and fabulous arrangement for your party table using locally grown flowers and foliage.

–Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072
[email protected]

Bill Symes Photography

With these photos and her tips (and the video below), you’ll be able to put together a lush yet simple centerpiece with just four floral components. Need encouragement? Symes helps beginners in it FlowerSchool Portland workshops with these watchwords: Go for it. “Anything goes, and there’s no right or wrong way to design,” she says. “Have fun and flower it yourself.”

Janet Eastman | The Oregonian/OregonLive

LOOK: Make an arrangement with Oregon-grown garden-style piano roses, white tulips, and evergreen eucalyptus and juniper leaves.

Bill Symes Photography

The Symes philosophy: Be inspired by English gardens and the French countryside. Embrace it Slow flower movement, which encourages the sourcing of seasonal and locally grown stems, vines, buds and berries whenever possible. Fresh cut flowers are so much prettier than imported ones and they will last longer.

Bill Symes Photography

Here’s how to create an easy and durable centerpiece:
Step 1: Gather a long, low container and some fragrant components. For this centerpiece, Symes used a rustic looking wooden box with a liner, Peterkort Roses garden-style red and romantic Piano Freiland roses, Oregon flowers white tulips and evergreen eucalyptus and juniper leaves.

Bill Symes Photography

2nd step: Pour fresh water into the clean container. Add real blue or baby eucalyptus which give off a mint and honey scent. “After the holidays, hang the rods in your shower,” says Symes. Cut the stems back to about 5 inches and remove the extra leaves at the bottom of the stems. Foliage in water will cause bacteria to grow and your flowers won’t last as long.

Bill Symes Photography

Instead of floral foam or wire, cross the stems to form a grid, creating openings to support the flowers. Braid the juniper stems, filling the container with fresh, fragrant, textured greens.

Bill Symes Photography

Step 3: Using a sharp knife or clippers, cut the bottom of the rose stems at an angle to allow them to drink more water. Carefully cut the thorns and remove the leaves below the waterline.

Bill Symes Photography

Secure the roses in the greenery grid and place a few tulips near the edge of the container so that they hang over the side. You can also group a few tulips and roses together, so they have that “I just grew up like this” look. Tulips are phototrophic, which means they will grow towards the light, even after being cut. Keep this in mind when cutting and placing your tulips in the container. Later in the day or the next morning they may need an extra trim.

Bill Symes Photography

Finish the arrangement by wrapping the container with tape. “When you have flowers like these, you don’t need much more,” says Symes. “The flowers speak for themselves.”

Bill Symes Photography

Here are two different looks for the holidays:

Classic: Symes had fun pairing a flower arrangement with a dinner party. In this highly fragrant display of classic color and style, she used juniper stalks to evoke the scent of a martini to start the occasion, rosemary stalks as a reference to flavor the ham or turkey entrée, and a nice white broth that has the scent of pepper to enhance the seasonings of mashed potatoes. Since this arrangement is tall, place it on a side table, so it doesn’t block eye contact or conversation at a dinner table.

Bill Symes Photography

Contemporary: If you want more color, especially holiday red, Symes grouped Peterkort red roses with Oregon Flowers red berry ilex, then added dark green and suede-colored magnolia leaves, stems green myrtle and a pinkish and feathery protea. She placed them in a contemporary white and gold vase that she would display on a side table.

Bill Symes Photography

Want to learn more about flower arrangements alongside other petal enthusiasts? Symes hosts FlowerSchool Portland workshops at his southeast Portland studio (see flowerschoolportland.com for upcoming events).

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