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How to Take Your Home Flower Arrangements to the Next Level

Professional (yet approachable!) tips from L.A. florist Eric Buterbaugh.

The first truly beautiful flower arrangement I received upon moving to L.A. was one of Eric's. He’s known for classic flower arrangements and, in particular, his signature bouquet of roses. I’ve long-admired him and his beautiful designs, so I jumped at the opportunity to share some of his tricks for making home arrangements look more like his: beautiful, lush, and show-stopping. 


After our team walked into Eric's beautiful flower studio/art gallery/parfumerie, we had a few moments to admire the stunning space, which felt like a secret garden in the middle of bustling L.A. We figured that his signature monochromatic rose bouquet must be a unique varietal because they looked so different. We were floored to find out that he uses a technique called reflexing to make regular roses look extraordinary. 


Reflexing roses is basically pulling back the first few outer layers of petals to expose its center and increase the overall size of the bloom. Another pro tip from Eric: Remove the leaves and the sepals from stems. This creates a cleaner look and increases the longevity of the flower because it helps keep the water in the vase clean.


Eric loves a monochromatic arrangement because it's a fail-safe way to make a statement arrangement (see roses above). When making more multicolored bouquets, he keeps this same philosophy in mind and tries to stay in the same color palette when choosing florals, greenery, and branches for an arrangement. For example, if using blush florals, pair them with softer green leaves instead of dark, vibrant greenery. 


As a big fan of smaller vessels for flower arrangements, Eric recommends accruing a personal collection of small bud vases or larger vases with smaller mouths. This makes it easier to fill the vase and create a full, lush arrangement. By the same token, whenever possible, buy more stems than you think you need. The last thing anyone wants is to end up with a partially full vase and an arrangement that looks half-finished because not enough flowers were purchased. 


It's also key to arrange flowers from the outside in, and slowly rotate the vase as you fill it in with flowers. This ensures a symmetrical arrangement that looks good from all angles and helps to create a rich and full bouquet. 


Although many of his bouquets are larger, Eric is an equally big proponent of simple arrangements, even as simple as a single rose bud in a vase. To make a small cluster, arrange the florals and greens in your hand, instead of immediately inserting individual stems into the vase. This way, you can see how the final arrangement will look instead of figuring it out as you go (and can make adjustments as you go).


Thank you to Eric Buterbaugh for having us!

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