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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Let your feelings blossom with DIY bouquets

Catherine Zhou / Thresher

By Sarah Motteler     2/13/24 10:45pm

Valentine’s Day is today, and if you have a special someone in your life, the holiday can’t be complete without a bouquet. If you’re like any Rice student, though, then there’s a good chance that you procrastinated this essential task until the morning of. If this sounds like you, the Thresher has you covered with the basics of flower arrangement.

There are florists in Rice Village that can provide bouquets within walking distance, but they are cost-prohibitive to many students: Village Greenery and Flowers starts at $95 a bouquet, Isidora at $75 and River Oaks Plant House at $115. 

The best option for flowers within a student budget is the grocery store: Most have some sort of floral section offering bouquets at a fraction of the cost, including Trader Joe’s, Central Market and HEB. Unfortunately, grocery bouquets can lack a certain visual appeal, with fewer flower varieties per bouquet and less interesting arrangements. However, by combining a few different sets of flowers, you can create your own custom arrangement that optimizes both price and pizzazz for a one-of-a-kind bouquet. 

Bouquets are made up of four categories of plants. Focal flowers are large, showy flowers that draw the eye first. Secondary flowers are smaller but still impressive flowers that add more variety for larger arrangements. Filler flowers are small flowers that fill in space within the arrangement. Lastly, greenery is foliage that adds contrast and new textures within the arrangement. You’ll want a variety of flowers from each of these categories within your bouquet, and it will help with arrangement later.

After picking the flowers in your bouquet, next choose how to arrange them. Flower arrangements can either be placed in vases or be tied into bouquets. Making your arrangement in a vase offers more structure for first-time bouquet constructors, especially if you add a grid of tape on the opening of your vase to keep your stems in place. However, this does require you to have a suitable vessel on hand. Bouquets are more portable, but it can be difficult to get the flowers to stay in place perfectly.

Next, make sure to trim your flowers before arranging. Remove lower or damaged leaves and buds. Cut your stems on a 45-degree angle so that they will last longer, but make sure not to cut too much off until you’re confident on how tall you want your stems to be.

After this, you can arrange your blooms. Start with your focal flowers, choosing just a few of the larger blooms, preferably an odd number for maximum visual appeal. Fill in with your secondary flowers, if you have any, then add your greenery and fill the remaining space with your filler flowers.

Lastly, don’t forget to tie off your bouquet. Firmly secure the stems in place with either a rubber band or a firmly-tied twine knot, then cover with a more aesthetically-pleasing ribbon or other wrapping. For vases, many plainer vessels will benefit from a ribbon and bow.

If you’d like to add an extra symbolic layer to your arrangement, choose focal or secondary flowers with specific meanings. However, be sure to avoid flowers with negative connotations, unless you’re building a passive-aggressive bouquet for a truant project member or roommate who’s on your last nerve.

Red roses, a classic romantic flower, are a good choice for an established relationship. Red tulips mean passion, making them an ideal flower for a situationship you’re trying to move to the next level. Lilacs are fitting for a first-time Valentine, with their meaning of “new love.”

Pink tulips are a good all-around choice for a non-romantic Valentine’s Day bouquet. Daffodils, with their meaning of friendship and optimism, would work well for a bouquet for a friend who stayed with you through your breakdown after pumpkin grades. Sunflowers indicate admiration and loyalty, so be sure to include them in an arrangement for a classmate who carried you through a tough course.

For the project partner who shafted you with the brunt of the work, make a bouquet of orange lilies to show your hatred and contempt. Gift a bunch of yellow carnations to an unwanted admirer who can’t take a hint. If your roommate’s moldy leftovers are creeping up on your pristine half of the minifridge, give them an arrangement of petunias to show your resentment and anger towards their lack of dorm etiquette. 

Whoever you decide to bestow your DIY bouquet upon today, though, make sure to give the Thresher a little credit. 

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