How to create extraordinary floral arrangements on a budget
Flowers bring pleasure and a sense of connectivity to everyday life. They symbolize the changing seasons, smell nice and create so many smiles. A number of studies link receiving flowers to a greater sense of calm, delight and peace, and have been credited with making people feel less stressed and more compassionate toward others. With research backing what we all intuitively know — that flowers feel good to have around — it's high time we stopped waiting for someone else to give us flowers, and treated ourselves to this small luxury.
Now how to make that small luxury an affordable one?
I have long been obsessed with the whimsical and wild floral stylings of Nassi Soofi and Alexandra Schulze at The Wild Bunch. I chatted with the two of them in their beautiful studio in east Vancouver about how to choose flowers on the cheap and embrace the full life cycle of an arrangement. As self taught experts, who began cutting weeds from train tracks and now work with some of the best restaurants in Vancouver, they know about creating high-impact, beautiful things on a budget. Check out their tips below, as well as the stunning images from their ever-inspiring Instagram account.
Nassi and Al are all about the one statement flower or branch as the star to an arrangement. Give yourself a tight budget, say $15 or $20 that you want to spend. Buy one awesome branch or flower that really speaks to you.
To flesh out the arrangement, look down on your walk home. Things like long grasses and twigs add texture and personality to a show flower. Around the studio, they were showing me various dried twigs and flowers that didn't look like much on their own, but were powerful together. Look to add different textures, colours and heights. Nassi recommends looking at the shape of ingredients to find a flow of movement and design that speaks to you. Things like symmetry, asymmetry and unexpected combinations (dry + lush) make simple ingredients shine.
Coming into spring, they suggest carnations as simple, beautiful and underappreciated flowers. They also love baby's breath and wood elements to add inexpensive drama to any arrangement. In some parts of Canada, the cherry blossoms are about to bloom! Steal some! Ethically! (Not from homes or parks, please!) Hydrangeas are also coming towards their season and are a flower to look out for that is beautiful fresh or dried.
Speaking of, you know how when your first flower starts to wilt and you kind of give up on the whole thing and treat it like that scary tupperware in the back of your fridge that you allow to decompose until you cannot take it any more and throw the whole thing out? #onlyme? Stop that! The Wild Bunch team recommends treating each bouquet like an interactive process. If a flower starts to wilt, remove it and rearrange the remaining elements into something fresh. Freshen the water every 2 to 3 days and don't forget to dry your favourites!
Drying flowers always seemed like this mystical thing to me, but it turns out all you do is tie them together at the base and hang them upside down until they are dried. So easy! Dried flowers last forever and are the most stunning and, obviously, fabulously low-maintenance.
Have fun. Interact with your arrangement. There is no wrong bouquet and no rules (aside from that one about not stealing flowers!), so forage away, sweet blossoms! Spring is here.
Nicole Campbell has a WSET diploma, runs La Petite, a boutique wine agency from Lifford, as well as a witchy wine party the first Monday of every month at Superpoint in Toronto. She is usually wearing cool pants and screaming about something she loves; she tells us it's charming! Follow her on Instagram at @grapewitches or on her website grapewitches.com.