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Photograph via @amy_merrick

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Mother's Day: Master Class

Amy Merrick’s Floral Guide

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Just in time for Mother's Day, a how-to guide on flower arrangements from floral stylist Amy Merrick's must-read book, On Flowers.

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The Art of Arranging

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1. Preparation of Materials
Choose a vase. Insert a frog or other supporting structure if needed. Fill the vase with water. Condition your flowers by removing any leaves that fall below the vaseline, or that will detract from your arrangement.

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2. Structure Foundation
Use leaves, branches or a substantial mass of flowers to build your overall shape. By starting with sturdy stems, you create a firm base to support more delicate flowers.

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3. Focal Flowers
These are the most eye-catching blooms. Try place one directly on the edge of the vase for both. visual and mechanical stability. By cutting them to different lengths, you add dimension and levels to an arrangement. Once you have placed the focal flowers, smaller supporting flowers can be used tto fill out your vase.

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4. Gestural Flourish
For levity and movement, add something unexpected: a wisp of a tall, feathery grass; a tendril of vines; or a pair of tiny blooms dancing above a display. The finishing touch is a perfect change to make a final splash with scale, providing a sense of whimsy with delicate stems that would otherwise be overwhelmed in an arragnement.

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Flower Care

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1. Whether flowers are plucked from the garden or bought at a shop, trim their stems at a 45-degree angle immediately before placing them in water.

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2. To extend the life of your flowers, allow them to hydrate in water for an hour or more before arranging.

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3. To hurry closed buds such as peonies or lilies into bloom, give them a long drink of warm water.

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4. Flowers that have wilted on the journey home can be revived; gently wrap them in paper, and place them in a shady corner.

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5. Arrangements should be kept in cooler corners, out of direct sun, for the longest life.

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