As DIY brides make plans for their spring weddings, a simple hand-tied is often the bouquet of choice. One design technique to consider is a finished bouquet handle for a polished look.

Strip foliage from the flowers you will use in your bouquet so that you will be holding clean stems. Begin the design by holding the center flower (central axis or spine flower – in this photo, green hydrangea) with your left hand.  Add more flowers, one at a time, around the first flower in a spiral motion – building a rounded circle of flowers. (Here, roses and lilies are used). Visit your local florist to purchase the perfect fresh flowers for your design.

When you have completed the design, use waterproof floral tape or waxed string to tie off the bouquet at the binding point – just beneath the flower blooms. Pull the flower stems together and bind them again, with tape or cord, a little shorter than the width of your ribbon. Cut the stems straight across at a length that is comfortable for holding; at least 1 – 2 inches longer than the width of your hand. If you want the bouquet to continue to drink water, leave a couple of inches of stems uncovered below where the ribbon will be applied. This length of stem can stand in a vase of shallow water  below the ribbon’s edge without getting the ribbon wet.

Cut a width of ribbon long enough to wind around the stems and barely overlap itself. Turn under the a fold of the unfinished edge of ribbon and pin   or glue it in place for a finished look. For extra security with no mess, you can add double-faced tape or UGLU ( to the stems beneath the ribbon to keep it securely in place.

After securing the ribbon, insert into the ribbon/stems pearl-headed or accessorizing pins, glue on gemstones, or pin on a favorite brooch to personalize the handle to reflect the personality of the bride or bridesmaids. The brooch of a deceased loved one may be used in honor of their memory.

Mist the flowers with an anti-transpirant like Floralife’s Finishing Touch to provide nutrients and hydration. This ensures that the flowers will stay fresh longer. (

What questions about DIY Flowers you would like to see answered in this blog.

Need more wedding ideas? My book of wedding photos and tips, Flowers of the heart – a bride’s guide to choosing flowers for your wedding,  is available at, on, & FaceBook – Flowers of the heart page.

Celebrate life with flowers!

Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI


Celebrate Spring   by arranging fresh tulips for your table.

Red Tulips

First, select a vase. In this photo we’ve used a bubble bowl. Add a few stones around the perimeter of the vase interior – leaving a space for the tulip stems in the center. Add water. Use only a couple inches of water at a time. Bulb plant stems can disintegrate quickly and create bacteria in the water. Tulips are thirsty – give them fresh, clean, cool water daily. Add flower food for longer lasting flowers.

Blunt cut the tulip stems with a sharp knife. Drop them into the vase and let them fall naturally into place. Tulips can grow 1 – 1.5 inches overnight so allow for extra length in your arrangement. This simple design will be an evolving composition as tulips are phototropic and will curve toward light as they unfold to reveal their colorful inner petals.

To add dramatic line to this round bouquet wind a few branch tips through the arrangement. Enjoy!  Designing this arrangement is fast .. easy .. fun! Fresh flowers add beauty to our daily life. Give yourself a gift  with this simple, affordable luxury.

If you don’t have tulips growing in your yard – visit your local flower shop to purchase the materials you need and get professional advice from your florist.

Celebrate life with flowers!

Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI

A great new look in wedding bouquets is the trendy floral cuff. This is often a vertical bouquet, and is an impressive way to accessorize popular dress styles such as the mermaid dress, sheath, or the trumpet gown. The elegant lines of these dress styles are accented by the long, graceful lines of this form of floral design.

Sometimes brides who choose traditional bouquets find that the round, cascade, or crescent shaped bouquet is heavy or awkward for carrying as they enter the reception area to greet their guests or have their first dance. A fun new idea for brides is to have a second bouquet; a lighter weight, more comfortable bouquet that can be worn over the wrist as a floral cuff. The bride remains accessorized by her flowers that are more easily worn.

Just as many brides have a more formal dress for the wedding and a more ‘fun’ dress for the reception – a trendy bride can choose to make the same statement of style with her bouquets.

For more information about Reception Bouquets
see my book Flowers of the heart – a bride’s guide to choosing flowers for her wedding available for purchase on Facebook /

or ISBN – 13: 978-0-615-29222-9

A friend and I celebrated Mother’s Day by helping her two grandsons create floral art from a couple of old chairs. The  seats were no longer sturdy, but the unused chairs made great eye-catching flower planters.  It was a quick, easy project that allowed the boys to enjoy creating  Mother’s Day gifts.

To recycle an unused chair into a flower planter:

Remove the seat from the chair

Form mesh wire into a basket shape or use a wire plant basket

Attach all four of the chair seat sides using wood staples or nails

Line with burlap, sphagnum moss, or sheet moss topped by peat moss to help hold in water

Fill with potting soil leaving enough space to add the soil of the plants

Insert a variety of plants that will bloom alternately all summer

Choose a showy climber for the chair back like a running Rose or Clematis

Add depth by using plants of varied heights in the center like Zinnia, Elfin Thyme, or  Campanula

Place cascading bloomers to spill over edges like Impatients or Petunias

Scatter bark over soil to hold in moisture; water weekly

This can be a creative and inexpensive way for adults to re-purpose unused items into interesting yard art. Its also a  fun project to share with children. It allows kids to  be creative with nature and can  teach them to nurture living things. Allow them to make watering the plants their responsibility throughout the hot summer months.

Check your local florist or garden center to procure the floral products needed for this activity. Also, look for other creative ways to enjoy working with flowers and adding visual interest to your flower garden this summer season.

Celebrate life with flowers!


Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI is a floral designer,

author of Flowers of the heart – a bride’s guide to choosing flowers for her wedding   ISBN – 13: 978-0-615-29222-9;  $49.95  + S/H,

and Incoming President of the American Institute of Floral Design

Visit for more details about AIFD.

Sharon travels across the country speaking to audiences and

encouraging all to celebrate life with flowers!

As you plan your summer gatherings of family and friends, don’t forget to make them feel like special guests with flowers on the table. The beauty of fresh flowers and plants help make celebrations of everyday events.

This past weekend I had two parties … that’s right … two! While the schedule is open, the house is prepared for guests, and party centerpieces of flowers are on the tables – I find that it is just as easy to plan two events as it is to host one. This plan saves time and leaves open a later date to enjoy other activities instead of hosting another event.

For this weekend’s casual events, I created color bowls of small plants including Lisianthus, Ajuga, and Sedum in soft shades of grey-blue and purple to highlight my black table cloths outdoors. I chose some teal and black bowls that I had on hand to use as my containers. I finished off the designs with black stones to cover the exposed soil. A circle of small votive candles placed around the designs highlighted them as the evening progressed. The great part of these designs is that later I can plant these items outdoors in my garden. Now – I have not only saved time, but money as well.

To create your plant color bowl:

  1. Decide on your theme and colors
  2. Select a waterproof bowl
  3. Choose your plants
  4. Remove plants from containers and plant in bowl
  5. Mist plants and soil with water
  6. Add stones to complete the design

You can choose your favorite plants depending on size, color, and preference. Other suggestions include spring bulbs in pebbles, a collection of cacti in sand, succulents in colored glass, small grasses surrounded in seashells. A glass, plastic, ceramic, or pottery bowl could be chosen according to the style of centerpiece you want to create.

These materials can be found for purchase at your local florist or garden center. Be creative! Design your color bowls with your own preference of color, theme, and plant materials. It’s a great activity to share with children, as well.

Celebrate life with flowers!


Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI

is a floral designer, author of Flowers of the heart a bride’s guide to choosing flowers for your wedding                                                                                                                                  , $49.95 + S/H.

and Incoming President of American Institute of American Designers Visit for more details about AIFD

Sharon speaks to audiences across the country and encourages all to celebrate life with flowers!

Recently, I got a clue that it was almost Thanksgiving.

Early one morning, I heard a light tapping on our glass French doors at the side entrance. I went to the sunroom to see who was at the door. What a surprise! 21 big fat turkeys were standing on my porch tapping on the glass doors and windows with their beaks or pressing their faces up to the glass to see in. It shocked the … turkey … out of me!

I ran through the house to get my camera from upstairs. The flock ran along the outside of each room I went through, looking in the windows to see what I was doing. Weird. When I came back downstairs they were at the front door tapping. Apparently, they had never heard that ‘back door guests are best!’ They began roosting on my roof, then flying back down. Not very graceful at landing, I must say.

I went out to photograph them and they all came running to me (scary) like they were saying ‘pick me … pick me!” Those really fat ones would have looked great served on my turkey platter for Thanksgiving.

We live in a wooded area and we often see birds, deer, groundhogs, squirrels, etc. but never a flock of turkeys … fat, tame turkeys begging to come into the house for Thanksgiving. They kept looking in the dining room windows at the table – checking out the floral centerpiece. Seeing if it met their Turkey Day standards, I suppose.

My husband followed a trail of loose feathers through the woods and located a house nearby with an empty pen and an open gate. He contacted the owner and when she came home from work she walked over and the turkeys followed her home. Their Thanksgiving visit was over. Thank goodness!

DSC_0997Fat TurkeysDSC_1004

Check this out: Toyota’s Giant Flowers on Tour …

Saw this interesting blog entry on FLOWERS BLOG:

“Los Angeles artists and Toyota have teamed up to work on a functional art project. They have designed large, colourful flowers that provide free Wi-Fi and power outlets in public places.

Along with the creation of this flower, a new company called Poetic Kinetics has been created, with the help of Patrick Shearn and Cynthia Washburn. The flowers and the principles of the new company are on display at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens.

The bright colours of the flowers attract users during the day, and LEDS lights draw attention at night. The flowers have been going on tour around the country, with executive communications director for Saatchi and Saatchi, Toyota’s ad agency on the project, John Lisko, saying that they have been to New York, Chicago, Seattle, and will soon be going to Los Angeles.

The flowers also serve the purpose of conveying the theme of Toyota’s new Prius: Harmony between man, nature and machine.”

The flowers convey the theme of Toyota's new Prius: Harmony between man, nature and machine.

The flowers convey the theme of Toyota's new Prius: Harmony between man, nature and machine.