The slow pace

Autumn homemade bouquets

Every Saturday we spend a fair amount of time at the flower market. It’s part of our routine and one of the things we love the most about living in Germany. The flower culture here is fantastic. Every season the flower market changes and it gives us a sense of time and place. When tulips arrive we know Winter is finally coming to an end, cherry blossoms mark Easter, peonies announce Summer and dahlias encourage us to light candles and prepare for the cold temperatures.

We love buying lots of flowers on Saturdays and creating our very own arrangements and bouquets. Just as we meal prep on weekends, we love preparing our home for the week ahead. And since Autumn is a time for nesting, we thought we could share three easy but beautiful flower arrangements that you can easily prepare at home.

There are lot’s of thing you can use to display your flowers. Vases are an obvious, practical and perfectly fine choice but we love using whatever we have at home to create our arrangements: old mugs, empty bottles, glasses, jars or milk jugs. Look around your home and chances are you will find tons of different vessels for your flowers.

This week we have used little empty bottles, the jar where we usually have our wooden spoons and a milk jug we bought in Ikea a few years ago. We bought different flowers choosing three colour palettes: yellow, purple and pink. You would expect more ochre, orangey shades this time of the year, but since days are shorter and light begins to fade, we chose vibrant colours to make our home brighter. Of course, you can mix and match colours, but I love monochrome bouquets.

When buying flowers to make our own bouquets we choose three kinds of flowers: the one with the leading role, two or three with a minor role and the extras. This is like a theater piece! You need a star, but you also need a supporting actor that can make the star shine and a few extras to add life to the general picture. Usually we choose a seasonal flower to be the star. In this case we have chosen a rare type of yellow roses, ornamental kale crane, hydrangeas and small carnations. We know dahlias are so in season right now, but I have to admit that they are not my favourite.

Our supporting roles go for yellow freesias, pink hypericum, yellow craspedia and purple speedwell. The extras are a bunch of green and yellow wild herbs that we found for a ridiculous price and some rosemary we had left in the kitchen.

  

The first arrangement is clearly Autumnal inspired and it will dominate our living room this week. To prepare it we started by grouping the ornamental kale crane and the yellow roses in our hands. Then we inserted a few craspedia to fill in the gaps, making them a little bit taller than the roses and the kale crane, so that the arrangement had different heights. Afterwards, we added a few freesias in the outer area to give the bouquet more texture. Finally we added the yellow and green herbs to the base of the arrangement.

The result is stunning and very, very big! But since to extend the life of our arrangement we will recut about a quarter of an inch off the stems  every day, it doesn’t matter if right now it’s too big.  And talking about extending the life of your flowers: change the water (not just top off) every other day.

  

The second arrangement has to be my favourite. Hydrangeas are absolutely gorgeous, you really don’t need anything else to make a stunning bouquet, and since they require a lot of water they do better alone. So a bunch of hydrangeas is all you need to have the most simple, rustic, beautiful arrangement. Large blossoms give you lots of impact! Besides, you can let them dry which also makes beautiful Autumnal decor. However, we added a few speedwells for a fun touch. Place the bouquet in a simple white jar and you will have the cutest arrangement for the kitchen.

  

And finally a few small arrangements that can make any room prettier or that you can use together to liven up your table setting for an informal lunch or dinner. Here we used small pink carnations, pink hypericum and rosemary. This has to be the easiest one: just cut the stems so that you have two heights: carnations and rosemary stand out and the pink hypericum stays at the base. We used a little bit of string to decorate our tiny bottles and achieve a rustic effect. Herbs are a lovely touch for this kind of small arrangements.

Just a few more tips for your homemade arrangements:
– Aside from wilted petals and dry leaves, an easy way to determine a bouquet’s freshness is to look at the bottom of the stems. You should see white and green fibers in the center, any brown or mushiness means the flowers have been sitting in stale water for a few days.
– Opting for flowers that haven’t bloomed means you’ll be able to enjoy them for longer, however there are flowers, such as peonies, which might not bloom.
– Strip stems of any leaves that would otherwise be standing in water.
– Place the brightest flower in the center to create a focal point.
– Flowers will look fresher longer if they’re kept off heating or cooling units, which give off heat that wilts them. Also keep them out of direct sunlight and away from hot or cold drafts.