In conjunction with In Bloom and flower-themed events at the Denver Art Museum this summer, Lindsey Housel of Moonpenny's is leading (sold out) flower-arranging workshops. Below, she shares tips for how you can create interesting and lasting flower bouquets at home.
Carleen Brice: How do you get ideas for creative arrangements?
Lindsey Housel: I try to do three things regularly to fuel my creativity; 1. stare into the sunset, really watch the light transform the cloud color, the sky, and mountains. Nature is such a good teacher. 2. Give myself design challenges; use only one color family, face my least favorite flower and make something with it, pair two unlikely materials and make it work. 3. Talk to myself: ha, this one sounds funny but it works…when I'm in the car, for example, I ask myself, what do you see? How can this translate into a flower arrangement, a floral design, or serve as inspiration? Sometimes it works and sometimes, traffic is just, well, traffic.
CB: How do you make the arrangement look good at different angles?
LH: Constantly turn your vase around, pause, and look at it from a new vantage point. I like to put my works in progress on a counter and step back, then turn, move the arrangement then to a low stool or chair, and take it in. Ask yourself, does it need something, is it full, where is my eye going?
CB: Do you have any tricks for making cut flowers last longer?
LH: Cut flowers are unpredictable. They are natural and are in the process of dying. I happen to enjoy the slow fade and love the way the blooms and greens change from day to day. However, I know that getting an extra day or two out of your stems is desirable; so using a good flower food in very clean water and a perfectly clean vase will do wonders. Be sure to give your stems a fresh cut every couple days and change the water out.
CB: What kind of “rules” are there regarding mixing colors, textures, heights, and types of flowers?
LH: Rules schmules. Do what you love, try things out, experiment, and take note of what you think works, get feedback from friends and onlookers, and keep playing. That is how Moonpenny's started, from allowing myself to explore my flower passion without judgment.
CB: How do you select the right vase or vessel for a bouquet?
LH: I suggest choosing a vessel that is 1/3 the size of the arrangement height or shape and offsets the color palette of your flowers in an interesting way by serving as a backdrop to make the colors pop. The shape of the vessel is also important as it can suggest a form for the arrangement and can even suggest a style (contemporary, naturalistic, romantic, or bold).
CB: If you could give just one tip for creating a beautiful bouquet, what might it be?
LH: Number 1 tip? Enjoy yourself. They are just flowers after all. Set up a space and environment that is relaxing, throw on some music, and let yourself go. I like to think of my arrangement as a story. I want to help the eye get from point A to point B by creating color stories, texture relationships, and feelings.
Top: Bouquet by Lindsey Housel, Moonpenny's. Photo by Kate Osborne Photography.