I learned a little something this morning. But, before we get to that, let’s travel back to this past weekend.
I was an assistant to a wedding planner at a gorgeous wedding this past weekend. It was at a beautiful, prestigious country club here in town, and had 250 guests! One thing that I did, was greet the guests as they entered, and take their gifts off of their hands. Standing at the front door, I must have heard people exclaim at the beauty of the entrance flowers at least 50 times. And they were gorgeous. And that was just one piece. There were similar grand centerpieces at the dining tables, and many, many small arrangements throughout the venue. I couldn’t identify all the flowers in them- I saw roses, hydrangeas, peonies… and some gorgeous gigantic flowers that I just LOVED. Here was the entry piece:
There were flowers everywhere. I have no clue how many thousands of dollars were spent on them, but they were beautiful. And at the end of the night, they were still there… Somebody paid a fortune for these flowers, and they were only to be enjoyed for a few hours? Not on my watch! With permission, of course, at the end of the night I gathered up as many small arrangements as I could.
Although it would have been wonderful to have these all over my home for a while, I knew they’d be better served elsewhere. The morning after the wedding, (after church and plenty of coffee), we brought all but one of these to the assisted living center where our family volunteers each Sunday. As soon as we pulled up, an elderly couple that we both really care about were going out to their car. Chris plucked a rose out of a vase and told her it was for her. She said it made her feel like a young woman again and made her day. I loaded up a rolling cart with the rest of the flowers and wheeled them inside. Before I could begin to distribute any flowers, the nurses swooped in on them and started putting them where everyone could see them. Which is great- I want as many people to enjoy them as possible- but it wasn’t quite what I had intended for them. So, while the nurses fussed over the arrangements, I grabbed up two vases – one in each hand – and took off with them. I placed one of them in a room where there are often seniors who can’t move or communicate, just to brighten up that room.
As I wandered a hall looking for a place to put this last vase, I looked in on a room. There was an elderly lady sitting at the edge of her bed, looking down. Her walker was in front of her, and I couldn’t tell if she was looking through it, or if she had dozed off. I quietly knocked on her door, and noticed a birthday card was taped to it. She looked up right away and clearly said, “Come in!” I guess she had been waiting for a staff member who said he was coming back, and was surprised when it was me. I introduced myself as a volunteer, and she told me her name was Frances. I told Frances that I had brought her some roses to brighten up her room, and asked if it was her birthday. It had been about a week ago, and I asked her to consider these a belated birthday gift from a new friend. I asked if I could sit and talk with her, and she seemed delighted that I’d spend the time. She said that the flowers were so beautiful and fragrant. When I told her I had others throughout the center, she said they would really make the place seem so friendly to so many who, like her, don’t have any family. I asked her if she gets any visitors, and she said not until me…. She did later mention a nephew, so hopefully he comes to see her sometimes.
I’m so glad that I poked my head into Frances’ room that day. I hope she remembers me when I check in on her again, too. But even if she doesn’t, I hope she’s enjoyed the roses that I placed in her room. The roses seem to have lasted longer than the other flowers, so I hope they are still bright and happy for her and remind her that somebody cares.
That one vase that didn’t go to the center stayed in my home. I just had to have one arrangement for us. It has been on our console table since that day, looking fresh, and bright, and summery. I just love that it’s the first thing to greet you when you come in the front door. The last couple of days, petals started falling, so I have thinned out and rearranged the flowers. Some of them are so large, though, that even with some being tossed out, they still fit into two smaller vases! I hope they last just a little bit longer.
So, remember how I said I learned a little something? I didn’t just mean that flowers really can brighten up someone’s day, or change the look and feel of a room. When I was disassembling the arrangement I had at home, to remove the wilted flowers and create new arrangements, I learned a secret! I’ll share it with you. The square vase was segmented into a grid using tape!
I’m sure it’s some kind of waterproof florist tape, but I imitated that on my vases with regular old scotch tape just to see. And who knew? That really helps you place flowers in a pleasing, well spaced way. In addition to that. The flowers had been cut short to use in a squat, square vase. The vases I was putting them in would normally be way too tall for these short stems. But, with the tape grid in place, I was able to place the bigger, bushier flowers in first, and the grid held them up out of the water. I just inserted single stems all around those, knowing they first set flowers would keep those lifted, too. It’s so simple and smart!!
Yay flowers! I just love them. What do you love about flowers? Do you have other floral arrangement tips to share?