A Local Floral Guru Shows Us How To Make The Perfect DIY Bouquet

With the arrival of summertime comes lots more easy at-home entertaining. And with gorgeous summer blooms everywhere, we're all wondering how we can bring the prettiness of a fresh arrangement to the table in a fun and unexpected way—and without that steep pro price-tag. Well, just heed the advice of wonderful local florist Natalie Bowen, who teaches us how to assemble a spectacular (and totally easy!) centerpiece for under $20 total. Follow her four simple DIY steps—we did, and they work!—plus get her advice on where to score flowers and vases on the cheap, to add a super sweet touch to your next at-home summer soirée. Now, for those invites...
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Keep clicking to get Natalie's four super simple tips and tricks!
Step 1: Pick Out Your Flowers
“Urban Flowers in the Castro is my secret spot. They're always open and they have a great $5 bucket, which is similar to the day-old bagel concept. I also like Whole Foods because they have a fairly large selection of fresh flowers and they sell smaller bunches, priced two for $10 or two for $8, so that you can put together your own arrangement. I look for three colors that form a monochromatic palette, and I get flowers that are tight and closed and don’t have any brown on the petals or leaves, so that they’ll last longer.” 

Step 2: Find A Vase And Fill It With Water

“Different flowers like different amounts of water. And most flowers, like roses and tulips, like a lot of water. I actually notice that most people don’t have enough water in their vases. You should ask the person selling the flowers to give you guidance, or just Google it. But in general, you should fill your glass or vase two-thirds full. And to keep prices down, you can use a mason jar or a nice drinking glass from your kitchen.”

Step 3: Cut And Clean Your Stems
“Making sure that your flowers have a fresh and clean diagonal cut is almost the most important thing to do. Then, when cleaning them up, make sure you don’t have any of the leaves below the top of the vase, so take off any leaves that are near the bottom of the stem. If you have broken stems, just set those flowers aside and you can put them in a separate, smaller arrangement.”
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Step 4: Arrange Away!

“Start with the flower that has the bulkiest stem, so in this case it would be the roses, which have multiple stems. Create a symmetrical criss-cross grid with those flowers, so that the vase is filled consistently. I usually do two-thirds of that flower to start and save the remaining stems to fill in later. Then, take the second bulkiest stem next, the godetia, and continue the criss-cross pattern at a little bit of a different height to add texture. For the third flower, the tulip, I like to cluster them so it’s more graphic and not so symmetrical. While you’re arranging, keep cutting them down to the right height. In a smaller water glass, it usually looks best if most of them are sticking up only two to three inches.”

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