Style at Home: Tips and tricks for pretty florals

Mary Carol Garrity

I cannot put a flower bouquet together to save my life. I’ve tried. Over and over again. Every time, the vase full of blooms looks like a Pinterest fail. But I love to use fresh flowers in my decorating. So through the years, I’ve learned a few tricks for pulling together pretty floral arrangements that are so foolproof, even I can’t mess them up. Here are a few tips and tricks for creating pretty floral arrangements:

1. Use small-mouth vases.

I’ve learned from trial and error that when I use vases with very small mouths and just insert a bloom or two, they look pretty good. When you cluster several vases, the effect is lovely.

And just because a vase has a small opening doesn’t mean you can’t create a bouquet that makes a big statement. On a spring mantel, we filled milk-bottle inspired vases with interesting pebbles and inserted faux pussy willows. We kept the picks long to create height, which is especially important if your room has high ceilings. This is also a great treatment if you have a narrow mantel.

2. Clip the blooms short.

If I’m doing an arrangement in a vase or planter that has a 4- to 5-inch mouth, I use this trick: Line the opening with leaves (I use hostas), pull the blooms into a tight bunch and trim the stems so the blossoms stand just above the container’s opening in a tight mound. I like to use hydrangeas from my yard, or roses.

3. In a pinch, pick live flowers or plants.

Want to keep things super simple? Just insert a pot of fresh or faux plants or flowers into beautiful cachepot. Done!

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at She can be reached at