Dive in and try your hand at this classic European bouquet style.
Travel anywhere in Europe, especially France, and you will notice the abundance of flower shops and find it hard not to take something with you. Although the shops do carry a selection of containers, it is usually not extensive as most Europeans see no need to send flowers in a vase—everyone already has a suitable container. If you receive flowers in Europe they will most likely be delivered in a cellophane bundle filled with water to keep the flowers alive until you can transfer them to your own container. The European handtied bouquet is the quintessential gift to give abroad.
One of my favorite pastimes is to stand (mill about, rather) in a European flower shop and watch as the staff cranks out these bouquets, quickly and effortlessly. I’ve learned many ways to teach this technique and have found this method to be the easiest.
Right off the bat let me say this: Do not be intimidated. It looks complicated, but it’s not. Anyone can master it. I used to agonize when we would receive an order for delivery in the flower shop where I worked, knowing it would take me at least 45 minutes to even produce a small handtied. Now, I can do them blindfolded in less than 5 minutes.
Your first step is to clean all the stems of excess greenery, shoots, or thorns. It will make or break your success.
- Break down the spray roses, lisianthus and ranunculus, removing shoots of new growth or even single blooms if necessary.
- Peel the leaves off the tulips carefully as their stems are more delicate and remember to remove grower (outermost) petals from the roses.
- Begin by holding a single flower. I usually choose arose with a good, solid, straight stem to start. Hold it in front of you and add another flower to the left ofthe rose, crossing the stems as you do. My second flower was a small, cream lisianthus. Turn your bundle slightly to add another flower to the left of the lisianthus. Don’t panic if the flowers shift as you turn, and do not hold the flowers too tightly or you’ll pinch the heads off or dent the stems.
To read further about how Mimi achieved this classic European bouquet style, pick up our Spring 2010 issue.