Combine flowers in a big bouquet for a big surprise

Jill Slater and Lauren Bonar Swezey,  – August 26, 2004

TIME: About 1 hour

COST: $100 or more (depending on the number of flowers purchased or picked from the garden), plus container. You can make a smaller bouquet for about $30.


• Three bricks of florist’s foam
• Pruning shears or a florist’s knife
• Waterproof papier-mache liner to fit the container (12 inches wide by 51/2 inches deep)
• Florist’s tape
• 10-inch-square piece of chicken wire (for extra support)
• Wire clippers
• Pot or bricks (optional)
• Large container, 13 inches wide (inside)
• Flowers and foliage


1. Saturate the florist’s foam in a bucket of water. Cut one block of foam into 2-inch cubes and put the cubes into the waterproof liner.

Place two bricks of soaked foam atop the cubes. The foam should rise about 1 inch above the top of the liner.

2. Secure the florist’s foam to the liner with florist’s tape.

3. For extra support, cut a strip of the chicken wire to fit the diameter of the liner, if necessary, and place it over the florist’s foam.

Secure the chicken wire to the liner by running florist’s tape from one side of the chicken wire around the bottom of the liner to the other side of the chicken wire. (For a smaller version, set the moist florist’s foam directly inside the vase and eliminate the chicken wire.)

4. Set an upside-down pot or bricks in the bottom of the decorative container if necessary to make the edge of the liner even with the edge of the pot. Place the liner in the container.

5. Arrange flowers and foliage as shown below.

Big-bouquet flowers

• Anemones, white (30 stems)

• French tulips, purple (7)

• French tulips, cream (4)

• Irises, white (5 stems)

• Larkspurs, white (5 stems)

• Larkspurs, pink (10 stems)

• Heather, pink (20 stems)

• Pussy willows (10 stems)

• Roses, long-stemmed light pink (12)

• Viburnums, green (5 stems)

• Foliage: camellia, New Zealand flax, pittosporum, variegated ivy

The smaller version uses the same design principles and palette but fewer flowers–white anemones, pink tulips, heather, and foliage.