Making your own floral arrangements cost less than buying ready made ones from a florist and if using flowers grown in your own garden you will save even more. Proportion and balance are the key to a professional looking arrangement, along with proper care for the flowers so they last longer and using floral supplies to make the task relatively easy. A few basic instructions will help you turn those garden-fresh flowers into an arrangement worthy of any florist.
Use three types of flowers in your floral arrangements--line, focal and filler flowers. Line flowers usually have small flowers growing off of long stems and define the shape of your arrangement. These can include snapdragons, gladiolas, and delphiniums, and tall foliage and branches can also be substituted for line flowers. The main flower of the arrangement is called a focal flower and include flowers such as roses, tulips, daisies, lilies, zinnias, hydrangeas, peonies and magnolias. And finally, filler flowers are added to give a fullness to the arrangement and include baby's breath, statice, Queen Anne's lace and any type of small field-type flowers.
Cut fresh flowers in mid-morning before the heat of the afternoon causes the flowers to wilt. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle and place in a vase of water to keep until ready to use.
Use floral foam to hold your flowers when making an arrangement. The foam can be placed in a vase, on a plate or in any type of container you choose. If using fresh flowers, soak the foam for at least five minutes to allow for best water absorption, then set on a dish drainer to allow excess water to drain off before placing in your container.
Place line flowers into the foam first to develop the shape of your arrangement and then insert the focal flowers around the line flowers. Focal flowers are usually slightly shorter than the line flowers and placed in groups to create more depth to the arrangement. Finally, add the filler flowers around the edges of the arrangement and scattered in between the focal flowers. See Resources for various floral arrangement shapes and designs.