“I must have flowers, always, and always.” -Claude Monet
When it comes to styling and general cheer, flowers are essential. They provide an organic design element that is difficult to replicate. They can add a pop of color, and they just plain smell nice every time you enter the room. Throughout most of the year, we rely either on our garden (thank you previous owner and equal flower lover) or the farmers’ market for most of our flowers. There’s something so exciting about venturing outside and seeing new blooms and bringing a few inside to admire their beauty or about weekly trips to the market to see what varieties await.
However, in these long, cold winter months, our flower options are much more limited. Oh the times I’ve wished we lived near those enviable flower markets in larger cities! Generally, we try to rely on houseplants and greenery to add some life to our spaces this time of year, but sometimes you just need flowers. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a few lovely options at the grocery store like these beautiful tulips and blush peonies we found at Whole Foods before shooting our home for the holidays. Many times, though, it seems that when we’re in need of flowers and have very specific ideas about what type of bouquet will make the space, things seems to fall flat, and we just can’t find any blooms that wow us. Enter this special trick we first learned about from the amazing Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio.
Most grocery flower sections are often stocked with basic roses (often on sale!) in a variety of colors. However, these roses are rarely lush and rarely look as if they just made their debut from Bunny Melon’s rose garden. That doesn’t have to stop you, though. It’s possible to turn an ordinary bloom into something much more magical.
It’s a pretty simple process that requires a bit of patience and general ability to conquer your fear that you’re going to destroy a perfectly good bouquet. Basically, the idea is to slowly message each flower open petal by petal. It’s important to start with the outside layer and work your way in. Sometimes, you even have to remove the outermost petals to let the inner petals really open. The more you practice, the easier it will become to work with the flower rather than against it. Just as if you were drawing a rose, they have somewhat of a spiral pattern. I start by gently loosening the outer petals and then continue running my fingers along this spiral until I reach the center, at which point you can spread apart your fingers to open the full bloom further.
While this may shorten the life of the rose a bit, it’s less than you might think. Plus, roses aren’t particularly known for their longevity. If you’re careful to avoid any breakage, they’ll last even longer. There may be a few stems that require a bit more manhandling and that deteriorate a bit faster, but just toss them as they decline and continue to enjoy your nice full blooms. There’s nothing like flowers to lift the spirits, and this extra bit of work to create something even more beautiful is well worth it if you’re in a pinch or simply want to make your blooms a little more special.