I love Gerberas and these would be so super chic and simple for your tables in your house or for a huge shower or party! I love that they are short so people can have a conversation and see each other! No more moving the flowers. It was also so easy to place single or double flower accents in addition to the main arrangements on the buffet and on the bar and by the candles in the powder room without a lot of fuss.
As many of you know, I was assigned flowers for a recent evening couples baby shower for my friend Michelle and her husband. I was really in over my head from the beginning because I tend to think big even when my skill set in a particular area is small. In this case it was zero. Other than thinking flowers are beautiful and loving Gerbera daisies in particular, I had no prior experience before embarking on this project. Despite this, my arrangements were a huge success! When my husband dropped off my virgin arrangements at the party location the concierge asked for his card. Well I tricked that chick huh?
So here is the play by play. Start this after you have finished freaking out over the task at hand.
1. Determine the number of flower arrangements you will need and the type of vase that will hold it. Also determine your color or colors and whether or not you want just Gerberas as I have done or if you want some roses or other flowers in there as well. This is beautiful, I have seen it. This tutorial is only intended to teach you how to make compact, vibrant and fabulous Gerbera daisy arrangements. If I ever tackle this again with a different flower or style, I will post that then. In my case I needed 7 and we wanted to have them in some varying sizes. As the theme was sort of mod I thought they should all be square or rectangular shaped. Since this party was in a home we did not need huge arrangements but we wanted to give punches of the accent color from the nursery, orange, throughout the home and patio.
So I settled on 7 arrangements with Gerberas in square or rectangular vases plus one floating candle arrangement.
I was lucky and found them at Michael’s on clearance 70% off in white and brown, two of the nursery colors. I got each vase for under $3. If I have not found this deal, I would most likely have ordered online. If you are working far enough in advance you can find great prices on vases on the Internet. I also bought some Oasis Floral Foam (for wet application) and some Styrofoam as well as a floating candle bowl and some faux flowers for the floating candle arrangement.
2. Determine the number of flowers that you will need. A florist or wholesaler can help with this. I estimated after looking at pictures and was just about right that for each app. 4 inch square vase I would need about 8 flowers. So I ordered 60 Gerbera daisies from an awesome company called Fifty Flowers . I got all 60 flowers for $99.99. I ordered the middle size Gerbera, not wanting the mini and not wanting the gigantic. This was half of the price I could find at local florists. They are a flower wholesaler and have quite a selection at MUCH better prices than you will probably find locally at your florist. Just remember, by making your own arrangements and ordering from a wholesaler, you are taking on the job of being a florist. I now know this means that a good portion of your job is babysitting the flowers. This is how the flowers arrive. They have little nets on them and stem protectors and are all squished together in a tiny box with a full page of instructions. You want the flowers to arrive approximately 48 hours before the event.
3. After you have finished wondering how the heck these will ever look like what you ordered and being nervous that they are not in fact the color you wanted, then you may start to unpack the flowers as per the instructions. Each flower must be carefully taken out (the stems break easily) and put in a mixture of water and flower food with 1 inch cut off the stem at an angle. Then the flowers, with net still on, must be left in vases in a cool place to begin hydrating. After 4 hours, the nets can be removed and the flowers can be put back in their hydration area. Mine was above a nook bookcase shown below. Notice that the flowers still are not fully open the day before the party but a day after they arrived. You must change the water each day as Gerbera’s are very sensitive. (Great – just what I needed right?)
Finally – the day of the event. Are you ready to arrange? I tried forever to find “how-tos” on this on the Internet to no avail. Clearly florists keep their secrets close to the vest. So by luck I did it the right way.
4. Now that I know how, I would arrange all the vases in order of importance in case you run out of flowers and start to cut the floral foam. I used a regular kitchen knife. It was easy. I cut the foam so that it fit in the vases and came to about 1/2″ below the lip of the vase. One advantage of using non-clear vases is that you could not see the floral foam. If you are using clear vases you will have to use stones or something else to hold the flowers upright or put something around the vase where the foam shows. It was much easier to just go with the white and brown vases. After you have the foam in place you must put water in the vase and wait until the foam is completely soaked. It should float at first and then completely sink. It also changes color so you can see when the water has penetrated the whole block. If you have a portion of the block in one vase that does not have the little holes in one side to help with this, simply poke them yourself.
5. It is now time to start pushing your pretty flowers into the vases. Be more careful than I was. Maybe it is inevitable, but I broke 5 of the 60 flowers very close to the head of the flower while removing the plastic stabilizer on the stem. This is the time when you will remove the stem stabilizers and because the top of Gerbera stems are often curved, it can cause the stem to break. Proceed with caution. The good news is that if you are using these shallow vases you can still use them as long as there is enough to push into the foam and you use longer stems on either side of the broken daisy. I would cut off the stem at about 1″ longer than the depth of your vase and then you can cut a little off if you want more or less sticking up. Because I wanted the flowers to rest right on the edge of the vase I started in the corner about 1″ in from the corner and pushed in my first flower. I then went around the edge of the vase making it look right and finished with the center flower (s). The depth of each flower varied a little for me to get the right look, and the flowers (s) in the center were definitely a little longer stemmed than the others so that I would have that nice arc at the top of the arrangement. The foam is somewhat forgiving so you can go back into the same hole if you need to adjust the flower angle or depth. If you need the flower to stand up more and you have already pushed it in too deep you can either make another hole or put some of the cut stem in the bottom of the hole that already exists. As I said this was my first time so I had to improvise some when I made mistakes. I tried to make sure each arrangement had some of the best and biggest, which I put in front of the smaller daisies in each arrangement. I also put great flowers on the top of each. I needed 8 flowers for my small arrangements and 11 for my large. The two arrangements I have not shown were very small taller rectangles for the powder room and guest table, each which had only 4 flowers.
6. Now enjoy your handiwork and impress all the people at your party for WAY less than ordering arrangements. When I looked at florists in town and online a small Gerbera daisy arrangement ranged from $30 – $50! I made these for about $15 each and I got to keep vases that I liked.The arrangements I made looked pretty for about 5 days in the foam. Towards the end of a week though, the petals were not as bushy and you could see some of the stems and some foam through them. Still, these arrangements could easily go from a rehearsal dinner to a wedding if you carry a color theme through both nights. They could also be used at a bridal shower and then gifted to guests if it was a small shower. The Gerbera daisies were prefect for a baby shower. There are so many ways that fresh flowers can brighten your life and now you, like me, know a simple way to make them shine!
Here’s some pictures of the Flowers at the Shower. Enjoy!
Next time I will post the simple how-to for the very cool faux flower floating arrangement!