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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Building Fresh Flower Bouquets

I know that summer has passed and fall is well on its way, but while I can, I thought I’d post about building fresh flower bouquets with pictures. Whether you need to build bouquets en masse, or are working on a single bouquet for the table, the process is basically the same. If you have any last of the season dahlias or cosmos, in the garden, build a bouquet to brighten the kitchen.

My friend Janice is a master gardener and grew almost all of our wedding flowers (she did cut from another friend’s garden as well—a deer broke into her garden in the last few weeks and snacked on some wedding flowers). Garden bouquets are beautiful and sustainable--good for all!

The day before the wedding, I pulled together a great group of friends and we had a mass building party, putting together 26 bouquets in white enamelware and blue mason jars in just two hours. The key was to assembly line the process, with each set of hands adding the same one or two types of flowers to each bouquet, and one person touching them up at the end.

Some tips:

  1. Flowers should be picked and placed in sterilized containers (washed in bleach water and dried) filled with clean water and flower food for several hours (or overnight) before building bouquets.
  2. Make sure you clean all leaves, thorns, and buds off of stem that will be submerged in water.
  3. If your bouquet is going in the center of a table, the flowers should be no taller than the distance from your elbow to fingertips. You want to be able to see who is sitting across from you.
  4. Cut the stems at an angle. Cutting them straight across will prevent the flowers from absorbing water and food.
  5. I like bouquets that either showcases many colors/varieties, or just a couple of colors/varieties. For our wedding bouquets, we chose color—and the results were absolutely perfect.

Nine friends (and family) helped build bouquets (including the one who took the pictures above--thanks, Lisa!) and others helped cut and clean the flowers. I got my dream wedding flowers thanks to their care and help. I am more than grateful.



Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at