This time of year often feels dreary, as winter seems to drag on and we long for spring. While we can get cozy and try to enjoy this quiet season, bringing the cheerful color of flowers indoors can help liven things up a bit, too. And on February 28, we celebrate just that, with Floral Design Day.
Floral Design Day (February 28)
In 1995, Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld proclaimed February 28 as Floral Design Day to celebrate the art of floral design and to commemorate the birthday of Carl Rittner, who founded the Rittners School of Floral Design in Boston. The patient, humorous instructor was fondly called Mr. R and considered a pioneer in floral design education. At more than 70 years old, his school is one of the longest-running floral design schools in North America.
Why celebrate floral design?
Floral design is a unique art form with cultural significance. In addition to simply decorating tables, bouquets can be used to express love, friendship, hope, sympathy, and other emotions, as well as to recognize births, deaths, weddings, holidays, and other important events.
Floral art also impacts the designer, by fostering creativity and acting as a form of expression and release. Plus, flowers offer psychological benefits — it’s hard to look at a flower and not smile or feel more relaxed, especially when receiving an arrangement as a gift.
Related: Best plants for a cut flower garden
Ways to celebrate Floral Design Day
There are so many ways to celebrate Floral Design Day, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Visit a local flower shop, or browse an online store, and appreciate the many different styles of arrangements.
- Give flowers to a family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, etc.
- Bring a flower arrangement to work and place it in a common area where everyone can enjoy it.
- Buy flowers for yourself; take your time picking out an arrangement to brighten your kitchen table or workplace.
- Send flowers or another gift to a florist you know — they often don’t receive flowers, but they still enjoy them!
- Donate a bouquet or two to a nursing home, hospital, or shut-ins in your community.
- Try your hand at floral design on your own or through a course.
- Host a flower arranging party.
Floral design tips for lovely arrangements
Treat your stems right
If you’re interested in turning this into a serious hobby, invest in a good pair of florist scissors. Otherwise, use a sharp, sturdy pair of scissors to cut the stems. Cut stems diagonally and remove any leaves that will be hidden in the vase or container.
Get creative with containers
Canning jars, flower vases, teapots, watering cans … anything that holds water can be used for a flower arrangement. Colored pebbles will add interest to clear containers.
Prepare the vase
First, make sure your vase is sparkling clean. Then add room-temperature water and mix in flower food, which you can purchase from your local flower shop or make yourself — a quick online search will bring up lots of recipes!
Work your way down
Add the largest, showiest blooms first, tucking in smaller flowers and foliage accents in descending order, with the most delicate, airiest blooms going in last.
Don’t forget the greenery
The foliage helps frame the focal flowers and makes the colors pop. Choose textures and shades of green that complement the flowers in the arrangement, but make sure not to overwhelm the bouquet with filler.
Look at color, shape, and texture
When choosing components for the arrangement, consider the shape and texture of the flowers and leaves as well as the color, adding enough variety for interest while keeping to a theme and ensuring nothing clashes.
Consider it from all angles
Turn the vase to look for any gaps in the arrangement, and make sure the height and width are balanced. Since this is a three-dimensional work of art, it should look good from every angle!
Flower Designs for Inspiration
So simple yet so beautiful! This small bouquet in warm tones is arranged in a wicker basket with a long handle and has long-lasting flowers like carnations and daisies. Anyone can recreate this!
Simple and elegant! Pink and yellow tulips arranged in a white pitcher, against a white water-washed wooden wall.
Designing with flowers doesn’t always need to be in a vase or a bouquet. Here, a trio of jars, made of glass and ceramic, beautifully display a mixture of spring pastel flowers.
I hope you see a pattern: flower designing can be very easy and just as striking as more intricate flower arrangements. Here, a combination of daffodils and grape hyacinths contrasts the pale yellow of the narcissus with the bright blue of the hyacinth, for a dramatic look that will brighten anyone!
I love drying a few flowers in the summer so I can have a flower arrangement on display even in the cold months when nothing grows. Here’s an example of using dried flowers, grasses, and pods for a creative display in the winter months.
I hope you’ve been inspired and plan to celebrate Flowe Design Day this year 🙂
Enjoy the flowers!
Whether you design your own bouquet, send flowers to a loved one (or a stranger!), or simply admire arrangements in a shop or online, I hope you can take some time to enjoy flowers on Floral Design Day.
Serena Manickam is a freelance editor and writer and sustainable market gardener in rural Virginia. She holds a BA in environmental science and runs Fairydiddle Farm, a small market garden in which she grows no-spray produce and herbs to sell at a local farmer’s market.