Another Grocery Store Bouquet Story.

Am I the only blogger who hasn’t written a story about how to upgrade grocery store flowers into something more interesting?   I think I might be… but that delinquency ends right now!

Yep – this is going to be one of those stories… but stick with me, I promise to give it a P+V twist.  I’m not going to tell you have to rearrange them, put them in extra special containers, keep them monochrome, re-wrap them, blah, blah, blah … I’d rather talk about how to make them look like the super romantic arrangements that can only come straight from the garden – but that you can’t always get straight from the garden (because, you know, gardens can sometimes be a little unpredictable and straight stemmed roses are hard).

Upgrading the Trader Joes roses with garden cuttings by rochelle greayer

Here is the basic strategy:  Spotlight the focal point.

What do I mean by that?

  1. Buy a one bunch of something special (roses, gerbera daisies, lilies, etc).  Buy the thing you don’t have in your garden or can’t grow easily; the show stopper, the main thing – the focal point.  Don’t get the mixed bouquet get a bunch that is basically just one thing.  This will work with most anything from expensive long stem roses to the cheap miniature ones to sunflowers and lots of other centerpiece flowers.  Don’t buy greenery and don’t buy little fiddly stuff – get drama.  For this example,  I picked up a pack of pink roses at Trader Joes for $6.
  2. Look around your garden – or even your neighborhood (trees and shrubs and even weeds are great sources) for a few sprigs of ‘fill’.  Focus in on texture and color – almost anything you can get your hands on will do so long as it is interesting and different from the other things you find.  Keep and open mind and look at the details of the plants that surround you.  Look for ruffled leaves, variegated leaves, leaves of different shape or color, twigs (I seriously think a cut up tumbleweed would be a great addition to a bunch of roses), fruiting stems, dead or dry stems… anything goes.  Don’t shy away from berries, or tiny flowers or details (these will be great if you can find a whole bunch of them) and when you harvest, try to cut stems as long as possible giving room to adjust their lengths when  you put it all together.  You will need at least a dozen stems (or so – it depends on your vase size).  The beauty of garden bouquets is that they effortlessly look chic because they bring together what nature is offering up right now.  But they also carry with them the air of ‘not only am I so stylish with beautiful flowers…but I grew them too’ –  which is seriously cool… except you didn’t –  exactly – but no one needs to know the whole truth. (right?)
  3. Use the ‘fill’ to make plain old roses (or whatever you bought) look like you just picked the most amazing fresh-from-the-garden-seasonal-arrangement.  I like to start with my focal point (roses) – in this example I just used 5 blooms (leaving 5 more for another project) – and then I filled in the gaps with my foragings.  These sorts of arrangements aren’t too composed, so putting them together in your vase rather than hand-tying them will work beautifully.
  4. Combine the flowers with fill to make a full vase.   Generally with this method, you will be able to get two (or sometimes more) arrangements from one bunch of flowers.

Upgrading the Trader Joes roses with garden cuttings by rochelle greayer

Here are some ideas for plants that would work well (based on what I see right now in my own neighborhood and garden).

  1. Catmint (purple flowers that aren’t enough on their own for a great bouquet, but are great to give umph to something else)
  2. Lady’s Mantel – Fresh green/yellow matted flowers with stems just long enough for a tidy bouquet.
  3. Euphorbia (of all sorts – these always have interesting texture and color – just try not to get the sap on your hands, a lot of people find it irritating to the skin).
  4. Willow branches – Lightweight, flowy stems that you rarely find in professional bouquets so will give your arrangement a quirkier but beautiful ‘home-grown’ look.
  5. Colored leaves (in my garden, I found smoke bush and heuchera – both have great purple/bronze leaves at the moment.
  6. Grasses – seed heads are dainty and wild and while it may take quite a few, you can find them everywhere (even in a vacant lot).
  7. Golden Rod – this grows wild and is easy to find when in bloom (which is generally in September).  Adds full-on beautiful yellow that can contrast with another flower color.

What wild and easy garden plants do you see around you that might be easy additions?

This content is sponsored by Flowers For Everyone.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by I am not an employee of Flowers For Everyone and all opinions are my own.
Upgrading the Trader Joes roses with garden cuttings by rochelle greayer

My arrangement included:  Cotinus coggryria (smokebush) (image), euphorbia, lady’s mantel and Hakuro-Nishiki Dappled Willow (image) along with the pink roses.  Additionally see image of heuchera below that would be a an excellent substitute for the smokebush.

Adde garden cuttings of Hakuro-nishiki Dappled Willow to grocery store flowers for a romantic garden look. by rochelle greayer  Purple smoke bush by Rochelle greayer - great plant for adding to bouquets to get more texture. www.pithandvigor.comUse heuchera cuttings to add texture and color to grocery store flowers. by rochelle greayer

all images by Rochelle Greayer. 


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  1. Very beautiful flowers and nice article. I love flowers……..

  2. I have a licorice plant that I really love to use as filler in arrangements. Like the candy, you can almost bend the stems to hold a certain shape and it drapes nicely over a bowl or vase. Great tips. Thanks!

  3. Just the right amount of elegance and natural beauty. Even small yard areas should be able to include the suggestions you list above and add a few more, too. Enjoyed the article/tips!

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