Cutting flowers for bouquets is one of the best ways to bring the garden indoors. Fresh cut flowers look great, often smell wonderful, and face it; they just make homes more cheerful and happier places to be. Crafting bouquets is also creative and rewarding. Few things will make a gardener feel better than cutting fresh flowers and arranging them into a beautiful bouquet as unique as the person who created it.
Make the most of roses. We all know what wonderful bouquets can be made from long-stemmed hybrid teas like ‘Mister Lincoln’, ‘Double Delight’ and ‘Veterans’ Honor.’ But don’t stop there when encouraging customers to plant for bouquets. Roses with full-petaled, old-fashioned blooms, such as English roses, Romantica roses and many other species of roses are perfect for bouquets, contributing a different, almost Victorian look. And many are intoxicatingly fragrant. Even floribundas and polyanthas with large clusters of blooms can look beautiful in vases. The individual flowers last as long as hybrid teas but they contribute a unique look. The same is true of roses with ruffled petals like ‘Easy Does It’ and ‘Penelope.’ And don’t forget uniquely colored roses like red-and-white-striped ‘Henri Matisse’ or red-and-yellow-striped ‘George Burns.’ When combined with other flowers that highlight their colors, they create striking bouquets.
Bouquets don’t always have to be big or made with large flowers. Mini-bouquets with small blooms and miniature roses are delightful additions to the smallest indoor areas.
Work the colors. Plant displays can teach your customers about using color, whether it’s in the vase or the garden. Show complementary and contrasting combinations. One of my favorite bouquets I make from my garden includes yellow ‘Julia Child,’ bright orange ‘Marmalade Skies’ and smoky orange ‘Hot Cocoa’ roses as complements. Then to set them off, I’ll throw in some sprays of purple butterfly bush or leaves of one of the variegated or blackish cannas. Wow! And don’t forget, white flowers make all other colors shine.
Play with texture and form. As already mentioned, using different kinds of roses — from floribundas to hybrid teas — can contribute unique texture to bouquets. But you can take it so much further. Show how bold flowers like peonies, lilies, coneflowers and even hydrangeas can combine with roses. Or, take it the other direction with wispy or upright blooms of ornamental grasses, gladiolus, liatris or Russian sage.
Don’t forget the foliage. Anyone who loves to cut flowers for bouquets eventually comes to a point where one of their creations is simply missing something. Adding some foliage is almost always a good fix. Some of my favorites include ferns, ornamental grasses (especially ‘Morning Light’ miscanthus), variegated ginger, Japanese maple, hosta and silvery Artemisia, but even the simplest green leaves of plants like hollies or euonymus can make a bouquet pop. Make foliage plants part of your displays, and you’ll sell more plants.
Smell the roses (and other plants). Many roses can certainly hold down the fort when it comes to fragrance in bouquets. But not all have strong aromas, so you might want to promote other fragrant flowers, such as lavender, dianthus, lilies, peonies and tuberose.
Give bouquets a beautiful home. Just like the perfect pot can turn ordinary plants into something special, the right vase can make the simplest bouquet spectacular. Offer your customers some great vases to get them over the cut flower finish line. You can also sell other floral supplies like frogs (to hold flowers upright in vases), specialty clippers, gloves and flower preservatives.