Inside the Catalogue | Bring the Outdoors In
—are a surefire way to give a touch of softness and life to interiors. Floral arrangements play with palette, add to your design without taking anything away, and are the perfect way to bring the outside in. In our McGee & Co. summer catalogue—you can find the digital version of it below and here—we talk about how to pick stems based on size and the way the colors and textures of the blooms play off of one another. Get our full guide to creating stunning arrangements throughout your home, created exclusively for you by our resident Studio McGee floral lover, Ashley Swapp, and get inspired for creating ones of your own with all the beautifully arranged centerpieces from our summer McGee & Co. shoot below.
What do you look for in a great floral bouquet?
Movement, texture, and color! I pick stems based on size and the way the colors and textures will play off one another. If there is a larger bloom that will ground an arrangement, I always want to be sure to balance that with whispier, softer blooms, like butterfly ranunculus or sweet pea. I think of adding texture in the same way—variation in shape of greens and blooms bring an arrangement to life.!
When arranging, where do you start?
I like to lay out all my stems, both greens and blooms, and take note of the shapes, sizes, and textures I’m working with. 9/10 I like to start the shape of the arrangement with greens. From there, I start placing foliage at various heights to give the arrangement shape and dimension, layering in larger blooms toward the bottom of the arrangement and whispy babies floating around the top to give the arrangement movement.
Can you give us your rule of thumb for filler and greenery?
No rule of thumb here, just follow your heart! Some arrangements look amazing with all blooms, but foliage definitely adds a different element (and keeps the cost from soaring). If I had to say, you want a mixture of 3-5 fillers/greens for 5-7 types of flowers. I like the greenery to serve as the accent, not the focal point.
Any vase-size recommendations?
Start with a vase smaller than you think you need. If you want an arrangement to serve as a centerpiece at the dinner table, consider a small low bowl (bonus points if it is footed). You can make nearly any bowl a vessel by adding a floral frog to the bottom (secure with waterproof sticky tack), and a balled-up piece of coated chicken wire placed in the bowl to help support the arrangement. If you want a showstopping arrangement on your kitchen island, look at larger vases with wider mouths and fill with oversized branches—no need to stuff the vase; the branches look best when they’re given some room to breathe. Or a simple bud arrangement on a nightstand can be beautiful in a tiny vase with just a few of the same blooms placed neatly in the vase.
How do you extend the life of your flowers, especially those you bring in from the garden?
Process your flowers as soon as you bring them inside. Clip your fresh blooms, either from the package or off the stem, on a 45-degree angle to give them the most surface area to drink up water. Strip any foliage that will sit below the waterline in the arrangement to keep the stems from collecting mildew.
Can you share your thoughts on what floral arrangements do for the home? Why do you love them, and how do they impact the space they’re in?
Floral arrangements are the perfect way to bring the outside in. They add a touch of softness and life to interiors. I love the way an arrangement can play off the colors of space, adding to the design without taking anything away.