Coming Up Roses

Master the art of flower arranging with these step-by-step instructions from Rose Mattos and Erin Heath, of Somerville’s Forêt Bespoke Floral & Installation Design.


Photo by Scott M. Lacey

1. Acquire your blooms. Look for in-season flowers and greens, making sure that the stems are left long for maximum design versatility. You’ll need showstopper blooms (we used Juliet garden roses); various accents (antique garden spray roses, Icelandic poppies, and ranunculus); a tall element (branches or grasses); and one to three types of greens (eucalyptus and camellia foliage). For texture, add in nuts or pods.

2. Pick a vessel. Textured milk glass, shown here, is perfect for summer. Remember: The wider the vase, the more stems you’ll need.

3. Set the stage. Insert floral foam (available at craft and garden stores) or balled-up chicken wire into the base of the vessel.

4. Add some foliage. Distribute the base greens evenly, cutting them so they’re at least 10 inches higher than the top of the vessel.

5. Bring in the blossoms. Arrange the showstopper blooms among the greens, clustering odd numbers of flowers together at various heights. Remember to leave them long, trimming incrementally so they have movement but don’t droop.

6. Create balance. Fill out the arrangement with accent flowers, placing them at various heights to create visual interest.

7. Make it big. Add height with a tall branch or two, then introduce a few of the textural elements.

8. Protect your work. Insert additional foliage to stabilize the blooms. Avoid forcing the flowers into an unnatural shape—the arrangement should appear effortless.

9. Keep it cool. Once completed, keep the vase out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Change the water daily to prolong the life of your flowers.