Floral arrangement is no longer an old-fashioned pastime for housewives or “aunties”. According to Jaclyn Lim, founder & florist of Bloomroom.sg, more young and house-proud Singaporeans are buying flowers to display in their homes. Intrigued? Consider this your cheat sheet. By Vanessa Tai
In the past, Singaporeans will only think of buying flowers on special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries or Valentine’s Day. “However,” says Jaclyn, “lifestyle habits have since evolved and now young professionals (mostly women) are buying flowers to spruce up their home or simply to banish Monday blues.”
Contrary to popular belief, floral arrangement is not that expensive a hobby. Jaclyn explains, “Flowers are not exactly cheap in Singapore as most varieties are imported. But it is possible to mix expensive flowers like hydrangeas with more affordable blooms like baby’s breath or sweet william to achieve your desired effect.”
Oh, and if you think floral arrangement sounds like too much of a hassle, just give it a try and you may find yourself reaping its therapeutic benefits! Jaclyn says, “I think anyone can do flowers, even if they don’t feel particularly creative. For example, I noticed students who were easily stressed out started by holding on to flowers tightly, which created tightly bunched arrangements. However, over time, they loosened up and let go of their grip. The floral arrangements started to look more natural and were in fact, very lovely. So, any personality type can work with flowers … in fact, working with flowers may actually shape your personality!”
You can pick-up floral arranging tips from your regular florist, YouTube videos, and floral arrangement books. Then, start by buying fresh flowers to experiment with at home. For flowers such as lilies, roses, gerberas, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers, you can find them at your wet markets or supermarkets. To get more premium blooms such as dahlias, peonies, ranunculuses, and alstroemerias, you’ll need to visit an established florist.
Choosing Your Flowers
For a complete floral arrangement, you’ll need the following:
- Focal flowers: These are largest blooms in your arrangement and are often the centre of attraction. Examples include roses, gerberas, sunflowers, and tulips.
- Filler flowers: Typically, these are smaller than the focal flowers and are usually in clusters. Examples include sweet william, baby’s breath, and wildflowers.
- Textural flowers: For variations in height, directions or textures, you can add these to your arrangement. Examples include hypericum berries, billy buttons, matthiolas, and lotus pods.
- Foliage: The greens to provide support for your flowers, for example, eucalyptus leaves or ruscus leaves.
Prepping Your Flowers
- Remove flowers from packaging/cellophane wrapping.
- Clean your lower stems of thorns and leaves that fall below the water line. Submerged leaves will rot and cause bacteria to form. However, if you keep the water in the vase clear, your flowers will last longer.
- Cut stems at a sharp angle to create more surface areas on the stem. This increases water absorption, and again keep flowers fresh longer.
Floral Arrangement: Decoded
- Have an idea of what you are planning to create. For example, have a shape of the intended arrangement in mind, know what vase you’re planning to use, and the flowers that complement it.
- Work with only one type of flower at a time. Start with the biggest (more dominant) flowers because they can help to create the basic shape of the arrangement/bouquet, before going on to the filler flowers (smaller clusters of flowers) to fill up the arrangement. From there, you can continue filling up the “holes” in the arrangement with some greens.
- Try not to use even number of flowers (2, 4, 6) because the bouquet/arrangement can end up overly traditional/symmetrical. 3 or 5 are great to work with for a livelier bouquet.
- Always take a step back. When you’re busy adding flowers, you may be obsessed with the task at hand and forget about looking at the arrangement as a whole. You need take a step back, breathe, and judge the composition.
- Know when to stop. Sometimes, it can be tempting to keep adding flowers. One way to know when to stop is when there are no more obvious holes exposing the floral foam in the arrangement. Remember, it doesn’t have to be PERFECT. As long as you like it and it makes you happy, that’s enough.
- Go with the flow. By experimenting with different styles, you’ll get to learn how different flowers work within an arrangement. From there, you’ll also develop your own style.
- Sharp florist shears (MOST IMPORTANT): A sharp edge is desirable, not only because it is easier to cut the materials, but a sharp, even cut will allow water to enter the flower stems. A ragged, crushed cut edge may inhibit water and food absorption, causing your flowers to fade faster.
- Pruners: These are useful to cut woodier branches, like large eucalyptus leaves or wax flowers.
- Floral foam (optional): If you’re planning to create an actual flower arrangement in a wide-mouthed container, like a colander, you need to cut the floral foam to size, lay it in the container and use sticky tape to hold it in place. Available at florists.
- Floral tape (optional): This is great for making a tape grid to keep flowers in place.
- Plant Food (optional)
How to keep fresh blooms longer:
- Change water every other day to ensure the flowers get fresh water that is devoid of any bacteria growth. Be sure to re-cut the stems at a 45-degree angle to ensure maximum absorption of water.
- Place the flowers in the coolest corner of the room, out of direct sunlight. They will last longer.
- Dissolve a pack of commercial flower food in the water to help cut flowers last longer. Chrysal packs are readily available in Singapore.
Get fresh flowers delivered right to your doorstep!
There’s something immediately calming and charming about having fresh blooms in the house. If you’ll like to have fresh flowers delivered to your home each week, register your interest here!
Current delivery areas:
- Monday evenings: Tampines/Pasir Ris/Simei
- Tuesday evenings: Serangoon/Braddell/Toa Payoh
- Wednesday evenings: Hougang
- Thursday evenings: Sengkang/Punggol/Yio Chu Kang
- Saturday afternoons: Joo Chiat/Marine Parade/Siglap/Telok Kurau
About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 27-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.