I’ve always wanted to learn how to make a beautiful floral arrangement and, this weekend, my wish came true!
As a blogger, I get invited to events throughout the year, but I knew that the William Ashley Exclusive Floral Event would be special. For one, the setting was the new William Ashley customer experience showroom on Toronto’s Mink Mile. With high ceilings, plenty of natural light, and a tea lounge, the new space was perfect for the Secret Garden affair.
The second reason this event was special is that it was hosted by Alice Rossiter Lewis. Alice is the founder of Alice’s Table, a Boston-based business that provides starter kits and support to ‘executives’ who in turn run their own floral parties. Earlier this year, she appeared on Shark Tank and left with investments from both Mark Cuban and Sara Blakely. Alice’s energy is contagious, the pace is perfect, and the end result is a gorgeous and fragrant centerpiece.
On Saturday afternoon, I rode the escalator to the second floor of William Ashley’s Bloor Street location and walked past the soft teal chairs in the bright and cozy customer lounge. At the long coffee bar, I enjoyed my English Breakfast Tea in Herend’s Royal Garden teacups (the same pattern gifted to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and admired the long table that was set up for our event. What an inspiring spot, amidst crystal vases and tableware, for an afternoon of floral arranging.
At each blogger’s place stood a 6 inch Kastehelmi vase made by Iittala, the Finnish design house. The Kastehelmi collection is distinguished by raised droplets, named after the Finnish word for ‘dewdrop’. Oiva Toikka, the designer, cleverly added these droplets to hide joint marks and lines. We put on our aprons and got ready to fill our beautiful vases.
As Alice took us through the steps of building our own bouquets, we chatted about each other’s social media accounts and our love for creating content. Bloggers being bloggers, we had our cameras out, taking lots of photos and videos. It’s what we do, and documenting our every move feels most comfortable among fellow bloggers!
At the end of the afternoon, we all walked away with a sense of pride, a feeling of accomplishment, and the confidence to re-create another flower arrangement in our very own Iittala vases whenever we want.
Here are Alice’s 7 easy steps to create your own centerpiece:
Prepare the vase. Using Oasis brand clear floral tape, make a tic-tac-toe board across the top and side of the vase for flowers and greens to rest against. Add room temperature (not cold and not hot) water so that the cut flowers can go into water immediately. If you have floral food, use it, otherwise change the water in the vase every day.
Start with a base of greens. We used seeded eucalyptus leaves, but any small greens will do.
Add 2-3 football mums. By starting with the largest flowers, you create a fill in the base of the arrangement. Make sure to remove any leaves that would be under water – or bacteria will form. Place these flowers in the centre so they lean to the sides of the vase.
Add 5 roses. Strip the roses with a rose stripper and remove the outer 2-3 guard petals that have been protecting the flowers from fully blooming; blow on the roses to get them started on opening.
Add 2-3 spray roses in between and slightly below the mums and roses to create a lateral layer. Each stem of spray roses will give you 2-3 smaller sections that you can use.
Use 2-3 large stems of wax flowers, cut into smaller stems, to finish off the bouquet and fill any gaps in the arrangement. These wax flowers come in many colors and last a long time.
Step back, admire your work, and make any adjustments!
- Buy the largest flowers you find to fill the vase, such as mums, hydrangeas, and dahlias. These give you the best bang for your buck as they take up a bigger area of the arrangement
- When buying flowers, touch the heads and where the blooms meet the stems. A firm flower means it is fresh and full with water
- Cut all flowers at a 45 degree angle to expose the most surface area to water, and so that the stems don’t sit flat at the bottom of the vase
- Fill the vase with water before you cut the flowers because they start ‘scabbing’ or closing off, as soon as they’re cut
- Use baby’s breath instead of wax flowers if you prefer
I hope these photos and simple steps inspire you to make your own masterpiece soon!
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