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How Do I Make My Dozen Roses Look Right?

When I first started to design flowers I often heard how designers had difficulty making a dozen roses look nice. That it was hard to keep the roses in place. But it is really very easy to do if you know a few simple basics.

1) First prepare the rose by taking off the bottom half of the leaves and popping off the thorns. Most people prefer the thorns off but as much as possible I leave the thorns on. This is because taking them off can leave open wounds and may allow microbial bacteria to enter and shorten the life of the flower.

2) Cut the rose stem slantwise under water (so they don't get an air pocket that prevents them from drinking) and place in small bucket or vase that has warm water and flower food.
3) Make sure you have the right size vase. Too small and you'll have them all standing up straight and it will look funny. Too big and you'll have way too much space to fill in. This may sound common sense but believe me; all beginning designers have made this mistake.
There are two ways that I have found to be the best: 
a) Fill a vase with water of the way full.
b) Take your greens (usually leather leaf) and start putting them in the vase starting from the outside all around and moving inward. The greens should be crisscrossing themselves. This gives a good stiff base for the roses to be able to stand without flopping. 

White Rose

a) Take a dry vase and clear floral tape. You can get this at a craft store and it is very sticky and water proof.
b) Use this tape at the top of the vase by making a grid. You should leave enough room to allow the stem and greens to pass through.
c) Fill the vase with water and flower food and start putting your greens in, same as before, start inserting from outside towards the inside stems crossing each other. The advantage to using the grid is you can use fewer greens.
d) Now you are ready to place the roses in. 
In most floral designing you design from the outside inward. But for roses I prefer the opposite. I start with what I call the anchor rose. I take my longest stem and stick it right in the middle. If you have done your greening correctly, is should stand straight up. Place the next 4 roses in around the first rose but slightly shorter. Continue in this fashion until all
roses have been placed. Now stand back and look at it to see if you need to make any adjustments. Then place in the filler of your choice such as baby's breath. Finish with a bow and enjoy your creation. 

There are many ways to place the roses but remember, keep it simple. Don't make it complicated. There is a beautiful motivational print called Beauty-White Magnolia that says, "Appreciate Simplicity". That's my motto.

About The Author: Willie Jones is a freelance writer, researcher, floral designer, and artist, for Art Inspires, Inc. Make sure you enroll in the free motivational poster drawing at



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