My floral inventory for seasonally themed decor didn’t happen over night. With each season and over the years, I have added where needed. Sometimes, I even need to purge and replace.
My overall goal, when combing the basic elements and focal floral stems, is to achieve an elevated look. When it comes to florals, there are two words I first consider: Cheap and Inexpensive. When planning a purchase, I think about both quality of material and price. I am all for inexpensive, but not usually a fan of cheap. For this reason, most of my floral inventory are individual stems. Many of the bushes available in craft stores will not have the quality needed for feature florals. As I have mentioned before, the basics (filler stems, sprays or branches) do not have to be the highest quality material. These basics can be mixed and matched across many different themes or seasons, and as they play backup to the feature florals or decor pieces of a theme, the eye does not stay focused on them. Although these can be less expensive, I still look for items that will hold up under repeated use and storage. Just because it is cheap in price, it does not mean it is worth buying. If the materials are too cheap in quality, they can end up looking tacky or tattered over time. As for the feature florals, here is where I certainly don’t want cheap in materials. These are the stars of my decor and where the viewer will focus. Usually larger in scale, people can see the quality, which will elevate the overall impression of the finished look. I plan my Christmas themes at least two or more years in advance. This allows me to keep an eye out, not just for the right floral stems, but for the best time to buy. I can take advantage of after Christmas or yearly clearance sales making them more inexpensive!
There is also a difference between fake and artificial. Yes, of course these florals are artificial, but they don’t all have to look fake. Several of my floral stems are “real feel”. This even allows me to mix artificial orchid stems in with real ones, and people can’t tell the difference!
In general, I look for florals of one color without gold, silver or frost highlights. This allows me to use them with different themes and various combinations. However, sometimes a stem is so stunning and perfect for a theme I’m less concerned about limited in use.
Height brings drama, so I want long stems to have the height when and where I need it. When using them for the first time, the natural tendency is to cut them to length for the specific use, vessel or vase. But I remind myself – these are my inventory – what if next time I use them it is a different vase or I need a taller arrangement? I can’t invest in higher quality stems and then limit their future use by cutting them. Luckily, I have a few tricks:
Coil the stem. It actually adds dimension and character, and helps to fill space!
Bend the stem. I find that in most arrangements the stem ends aren’t obvious or distracting. Again, they help fill the space.
Remove the stem. This isn’t possible on all florals due to construction, but when it is, I do it! I then use different length floral picks to arrange the flower head low.
Scale and Texture
When buying feature florals, I remember to have various sizes in my inventory. This will allow for interesting combinations or different placement and use. For example, a 30″ poinsettia will be stunning on the tree, but too large for a tablescape. To bring interest and texture to my decorating, I buy varied styles and sizes of basics – round and elongated, small, medium and large. For example, here are some of my gold leaves:
Are you wanting to build your floral inventory? Start by trying a new theme this Christmas. Maybe you have never done a dramatic scale. This year, use a large impact flower (10-20″). Remember, these should be higher quality floral stems. Depending on the size of your tree, you don’t need as many as you might think. Using odd numbers, stagger them around the tree. Give them even bigger impact with a bow behind each one.
Maybe you have never used any floral on your tree. This year, create a floral tree topper arrangement and repeat the floral stems throughout the tree and fireplace mantel.
Start building your floral decor inventory and have fun every season!
These are a just few of the places I find higher quality floral stems:
Frontgate Decorator’s Warehouse Lightbulbs ZGallerie Pier1 AFLORAL Christmas Central My local garden and landscape centers (for example Als Garden Center) have specialized Christmas decor. Don’t forget to look at your local centers.