How to turn a supermarket bouquet into a lusher, more personalized flower arrangement

If your heart is telling you to give someone a luxurious bouquet of flowers, but your wallet is telling you to shop at the supermarket, fear not: With a bit of imagination and creativity, you can transform a simple, low-cost bouquet into a stunning floral arrangement.

Jennifer Murphy, owner of Forget Me Knots Custom Events and Floral Design in Floral Park, New York, recommends choosing fragrant flowers like roses and lilies, “classic choices that will fill the room with their sweet aroma and make your bouquet even more memorable.”

When you bring your flowers home, trim their stems at an angle, remove leaves below the waterline and place flowers in a vase to hydrate, Murphy says. These steps give the flowers “some room to breathe” and improve their longevity.

Next, she said, rearrange the bouquet by placing “the tallest stems at the back and working forward, layering in shorter blooms (toward the front) for a balanced look.”

Greenery will make the bouquet pop. “Grab some from your garden or pick up some eucalyptus or fern leaves” at the market, Murphy said. “They’ll add texture and make your arrangement look fuller.”

Stems of garden plants that serve well as bouquet greenery include dusty miller, ivy, myrtle and viburnum. You can even use herbs from your kitchen garden, such as basil (cinnamon basil is especially eye-catching), mints (try apple mint, chocolate mint or spearmint), oregano and sage.

Morning-harvested herbs are slower to wilt and more fragrant than those picked in the afternoon or evening.

Murphy underscores the importance of filler flowers, a florist’s “secret weapon.” Fillers such as baby’s breath and wax flowers add depth and fill gaps in arrangements when they're incorporated between the larger blooms.

You can also “shop” for filler flowers in your garden. Look for plants whose stems hold clusters of small flowers, such as astilbe, catmint, chamomile, dianthus, dill, goldenrod, heather, lady’s mantle, lavender, lily of the valley, Queen Anne’s lace, sea holly, snapdragon, sweet pea, yarrow and verbena.

Finally, instead of displaying a bouquet in a plain glass vase, get creative. “A cute pitcher or a vintage Mason jar can add personality to your arrangement,” Murphy says.

And take your time, she adds. There's no rushing the artistic process.


Jessica Damiano writes regular gardening columns for the AP and publishes the award-winning Weekly Dirt Newsletter. You can sign up here for weekly gardening tips and advice.


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