Do-it-yourself Flower Arranging

Make the most of summer’s best flowers.
Alissa Nudi of Bloom Time Floral creates a low-profile centerpiece perfect for your next dinner party.

’Tis our favorite season: summer. Make the most of it by making the most of the season’s best flowers—whether they are from your own garden or the local farmer’s market. With a little advice from local design experts from Bloom Time Floral, Lilia Flower Boutique and Zinnia Design Floral, you can turn fresh-cut flowers into a beautiful bouquet, perfect for in—or out—of the house. 

Bring some of the season inside to delight your dining room. Alissa Nudi of Bloom Time Floral says that a summer floral arrangement is the perfect décor for any soirée. Nudi’s favorite choices for homegrown beauties straight from the garden are peonies, roses and hydrangeas. “For a formal setting,” says Nudi, “I would choose a low-profile container that mimics the shape of the dining table and complements the flower colors. Next, cut the stems short so the heads of the flowers lay right long the rim of the container, adding flowers to form a short, tight arrangement.”

For a gift that’s sure to please, Liz Mattingly of Lilia Flower Boutique suggests an arrangement of gladiolas, which she says can be grown by even a novice gardener; they can also be purchased at a local farmers’ market or flower shop. “For me, gladiolas are some of the most beautiful flowers for the price,” Mattingly says

To create the perfect hostess gift, start by selecting a tall, narrow vase, which Mattingly says will complement gladiolas’ shape and size. Then, choose nine stems (Mattingly suggests a dark purple for June or a yellow bud for mid-summer) and trim them so each flower is taller than the vase. “When you cut the flower,” she says, “use a spring-type scissors or very sharp knife.” A dull pair of scissors will squish the stem, which will shorten the times the flowers look good. Then, with seven stems of ornamental grass, layer the gladiolas and ornamental grass; one gladiola should be at the center of the vase, surrounded by some stems of grass, with a ring of gladiola flowers on the outside. Given with a gentle reminder to replace the water each day, this vase makes a heartfelt and long-lasting gift.

It’s common to bring fresh flowers indoors, but Karolee Goodrich of Zinnia Design Florals also likes to design unique floral arrangements for outdoor living spaces. In particular, Goodrich suggests a simple and natural design of glass vases filled with river rocks and bulbs for a table. To do this, first select a variety of vases, round or rectangular. (Goodrich prefers rectangular because you can see the roots of the bulbs.”) Then, choose your favorite bulb; she recommends hyacinth or tulip. Make sure each bulb has about three or four inches of green showing, although each will continue to grow up and out the vase. Then, wash all the dirt off the bulb and trim the roots so that they are about a quarter of an inch long. Layer some river rocks on the bottom of each vase, place the bulbs in the vases, and add another layer of rocks so that just the top half-inch of the bulb is showing – roots must be submerged in water.  Stagger these vases with candles the length of the table for a beautiful, effective design for any outdoor meal. “It doesn’t matter if you are having a formal dinner or a Sunday brunch,” Goodrich says.



Bloom Time Floral, LLC,  2223 Portico Green, Wayzata; 952.836.5939;

Lilia Flower Boutique, 236 Minnetonka Ave. S., Wayzata; 952.473.0366;

Zinnia Design Florals, 3418 Shoreline Dr., Wayzata; 612.710.9150;