The secrets of flower arranging from the great floral designer Amy Merrick

If Amy Merrick were to write her newly released book—On Flowers: Lessons From An Accidental Florist ($ 29.95,– a few years ago it would have been a very different book. “It would have followed a lot more simple flower arrangement format, ”she explains.“ When I started the structure was seasonal, but as I went along it felt really misleading with the way I was living. ”The writers / stylist / florist have been traveling for five years and the book reflects that. It has all the practicalities of a how to flower arrangement manual (best practices, step-by-step instructions, flower care tips), but is also part of the briefs, scrapbook party, and partly a love letter.

Katagiri Atsunobu

“Manufacturing On the flowers felt like making a bow around all of them different flower experiences I have had over the past decade as a florist in town to a flower grower, move to Japan to study ikebana, and work in a garden. I felt like every story was a stalk and when arranged together the book became a bouquet in itself, ”says Merrick, who not only wrote the book but also photographed, styled and directed its content. While the first chapter is devoted to flower arrangement 101, each subsequent chapter is a mix of Merrick’s poetic reflections, artful imagery, collected ephemera, quotes, and flower guides (edible flowers in one, a list of museums for flower lovers in another) – all complemented by the author’s expert advice on flower care.

Related: Tips for Making a Martha Approved Flower Arrangement

“From On Flowers by Amy Merrick (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Tif Hunter.”

Rather than focusing on seasonality (as originally intended), Merrick’s book is aimed at the spirit of different flowers, dividing them into five categories: city, country, fantasy, humble and distant. These groupings align with his myriad of life experiences around flowers, create luxury arrangements for Oscar de la Renta and The Metropolitan Art Museum while living in New York City to make $ 12 farmer’s market bouquets at a flower farm in Washington – which she eloquently weaves throughout the book to help both tell her story and share this that she learned.

“Of course in the end I realized that a humble flower can also be whimsical, and cities can be pretty wild and we’ve put these boxes in place to define things, but there really is a much smoother crossover, ”Merrick recalls. Here, we asked the expert to share more of her learnings, including her top five floral secrets.

Related: Our Most Beautiful Flower Arranging Secrets

“From On Flowers by Amy Merrick (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Tif Hunter.”

Always cut your flowers

“The easiest flower arrangement advice I can give is when you bring home a simple bouquet of flowers, cut each stem a slightly different length,” she says. “That alone will make your flowers much more natural and effortless when you put them in a vase. “

For a natural look

Asymmetry is the fastest way to create a wildflower feel, “says the expert. To achieve the popular look, she says to establish one side of your arrangement with a high point and offset that with a low point.” The look will already be much more. loose and more pictorial. “

Flower fodder

“Don’t buy anything!” said Merrick. “It’s amazing what we can find to manage even if we don’t have a flower garden.” The florist always tries to include wild herbs or leaves in its arrangements. “It gives the impression that a bouquet is still growing.”

Be economical

Another favorite tip is to use potted plants as a source of organizing materials. ” I often go buy a geranium and cut a few flowers and leaves at a time, you can get a lot more for your money than buying a bouquet of cut flowers that will wilt in a week, ”she says.

Don’t neglect the carnations

Eyelets can feel totally luxurious in that chic 1950s way! “says Merrick.” They are actually very beautiful, like ruffled ballet tutus. There are all kinds of pretty colors available now, and if you buy them in bulk and arrange them in a loose, rippling mass, they make a really nice substitute for peonies. “

Rosalie M. Dehner