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Flower Arranging on a Budget

There are two great loves in my life: my flower garden and my quirky little neighborhood. If you are fortunate enough to know my roots, this will make perfect sense! My mom’s flower garden is the envy of her block and my dad was the most generous neighbor I’ve ever known. Together they cultivated a passion for nurturing the land and the people around me.


These two loves intersect quite naturally as a simple bouquet of flowers and can be a wonderful way to connect with your neighbors. Is someone getting married? A cheery bouquet on their stoop is a lovely gesture. Has your neighbor been fighting a chronic illness and could use some support? A quick visit with a vase of blooms is sure to brighten their day.


I realize that we’re not all inclined to grow our own flowers. But I do believe that we all have the gift to share the miracle of a perfect bloom with our neighbors. That’s why I’ve put together this simple guide to help you create your own low-cost floral arrangements, using flowers from your local grocery store.


Choose Your Flowers


Head to your local grocery store with a floral department (Trader Joes is a great option if you have one nearby) and choose 1-2 types of filler and 2-3 types of flowers. It’s best to go without a firm idea of what you want; instead, look for flower bundles that appear fresh and happy!


Fillers are the stems that will add bulk to your bouquet. Look for generic greens, eucalyptus, goldenrod, statice, waxflower, or anything with several small blooms. These stems are not the main event of your bouquet, so go for low cost.


Flowers are the stems that add beauty and interest to your arrangement. They’re the focal points. Look for carnations, sunflowers, daisies, roses, etc.


One way to really stretch your budget is to look for items you can gather (safely and ethically, of course!) that are nearby. There are ornamental grasses and wildflowers along most roadways in the US during the summer months.


Lastly, be sure to keep your stems in water until you’re ready to build your bouquet. Even a few minutes without water can be hard on blooms!


Find a Vase


The first place I look for a glass jar is in my recycle bin! You can either remove the labels with soap, water, and elbow grease or you can cover the labels with a paper sack or ribbon. Other options are your local thrift store or Dollar Tree. I prefer jars with a smaller mouth than body; it gives shape and structure to the floral arrangement.


Gather Your Supplies


To assemble your bouquet, you will need sharp scissors or pruning shears, your chosen stems, and your vase with water in it.


Prepare Your Stems


Before you begin placing flowers in your arrangement, it’s important to prepare them correctly. This will help extend their vase life and make assembly easier.


Begin by removing all foliage that will fall beneath the water line in your vase. Next, you’ll want to gently remove any petals that are wilted or bruised. Do this to every stem!


Cut and Place Your Flowers


Beginning with your sturdy filler stems, cutting them to your desired length. It’s best to snip each stem at a 45 degree angle—this maximizes surface area for water absorption.


Finding the right length might take some time. I generally like my filler to be about 6-8 inches taller than the vase I’m using. I find it’s best to cut an inch or two at a time until I find the sweet spot. Once you have one perfect stem, you can cut the other filler stems to the same size.


Place your filler stems in a crisscross pattern to make a grid for your next stems.


Now, begin trimming and placing your flowers, one variety at a time. Once you have your flowers placed, go through again and add more filler (either the same as before or a new variety) to fill in any sparse areas.


Does this sound way too complicated? If so, don’t stress out! We have a video! Click here to see all these steps in action.


Attach a Note and Deliver Your Flowers


Once you’ve assembled your personalized bouquet, you can attach a note and deliver it! We’ve included a printable download that includes several tags to choose from.


Over the years, I’ve found that sharing flowers with my neighbors is a lovely way to cultivate connection and spread neighborly kindness in my community. I hope you’ll give it a try!

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