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Picking Teams: the Ruthless Art of Decorating with Fresh Flowers

Last weekend was a fun, busy one for us: we had family in town, celebrated Weston’s 2nd birthday, and my friends and family threw a beautiful baby shower for the little girl. So that was my excuse for “needing” fresh flowers around the house.

Before I tell you about all that family stuff, let’s talk about the ruthless art of decorating with fresh flowers.


When most people cut and vase flowers, they probably sing along to the music of harps, while tiny woodland creatures join them in song. It’s a peaceful, beautiful event. Just cutting and vasing flowers, while pausing happily to smell their aromas. Kind of like this:


The flowers themselves probably open up a little and maybe even actually smile.

For me? It’s ruthless. It’s heartless. It’s like picking teams in elementary school. The flowers quiver in fear, just hoping they’ll be chosen to be on display. Here’s my process:

1. Assemble the Troops

I picked up four bouquets half-off from Kroger, spending about $15 total.

Then I gathered all my vases, glasses, containers.

The only thing I think I could have put flowers in that I didn’t collect was Weston’s toddler potty. Looking back, that may have been a missed opportunity:

2. Mix up a concoction of flower grub

Can we talk for a minute about flower food thieves? Why are the flower bouquets I buy always missing that little packet of flower food? Are there tiny elves that feed on it who steal them from the bouquets after the store closes at night? Are there people who take them from the store and sell them on the black market for profit?

Just once I’d like for all my store-bought bouquets to come with the packet of flower food as expected.

In the meantime. I make my own hearty helping of floral cuisine, using some combination of this stuff:YUM. If you were a flower, your mouth would be watering right now.

3. Match flowers to vases

This is where I get RUTHLESS: dividing my buds in to A-team, B-team and the sorry losers who should never have made it into the store-bought bouquet. (Important disclaimer: I promise I do not think of people the way I think of flowers.)

I never, never, NEVER display the bouquets as they come from the store. It’s my rebellious nature, always defying convention with my florals. Back home they call me the James Dean of Flower Displays.

I think pitchers look best with droopy flowers like tulips, so the tulips got to go in the pitcher. (Yes this is the same pitcher I ruined a while back.)

This is my favorite little vase so I pulled out three of my favorite flowers – those gorgeous orange roses – and put them in their new home.

I thought they deserved some backup dancers, so I brought in these green guys and let them play too:

I have an odd affection for this little bud vase (sorry for the blurry pic), so I put the last rose in it and made a sweet, simple little display for the guest bathroom. Tiny bud vases make single flowers feel adored and appreciated, and this rose deserves only the best. It’s beautiful, so it deserves love. (See? Heartless.)

I had this little collection of three white bud vases which I like “okay.” I like yellow flowers “okay” too, so they became the B-team: a little deconstructed display of sunny delight to which I added some greenery from the other bouquet.

The rest of the yellow flowers got to go in this $1 goodwill vase.

Alstroemeria are among my least favorite store-bought flowers, because they’re everywhere and they’re cheap and I can afford them. So I pulled out all of them and made them all hang out among their own kind where they wouldn’t infect the other flowers with their commonness. Gross.

Finally, these ugly, sad flowers. Why are they even IN the bouquets? Dear God, why did you create these flowers? I don’t know what they are, but they probably deserve a gross name like STINKBUDS or something. I make them all stay together so they can just be grateful I didn’t throw them away, then I put them somewhere where I won’t have to see them very often. Losers.

Here’s the final line-up:

That is a LOT of flowers for 15 bucks, no?!

4. Display

I forgot to show you the mason jar where the rest of the tulips went, but it got displayed on a stand under a cloche, which I thought was pretty cute until my husband said, “What is this, Beauty and the Beast?”

And now that’s all I see when I look at it.


The orange roses got a place of honor on the coffee table next to my pet horse.

And the rest of the displays got scattered throughout the house. I think it’s a lotta bang for $15, but the process requires a heart of stone. Do you go through this process when vasing fresh flowers? (Or is this a sign of some sort of disorder?)

Let's connect


  1. I totally laughed out loud with the Beauty and the Beast comment. 🙂

    Aww poor yellow flowers, you can come be on my A-team! Hehe. I love yellow.

    I’m suffering from bad cabin fever. Maybe Abby and I will walk down to the grocery store today and see if they have any cheap fresh flowers…. that should help brighten my mood and my house. Thanks for posting!! 🙂

  2. I totally saw the Beauty and the Beast reference before you mentioned it, but I really liked that display!

    We get our flowers from a local market only once a month, but we do have a Kroger nearby as well…might have to check that out next time guests are here. 🙂

  3. You seriously crack me up. I rarely have fresh flowers in the house. I’d love to but 0.1% of my house has natural light so fake or dried it is. I do go through a similar process with fake or dried, which actually may be worse. I mean who can be picky with fake flowers?

  4. I just bought my first fresh bouquet last week. I think I’m going to continue. Your stash for $15 is impressive.

    And now I will have Beauty and the Beast songs in my head all day…

  5. Recipe for the flower-feeding water?

  6. Beautiful! And very funny. 🙂

  7. Haha. Beauty and the Beast. I can’t believe how far you made those $15 go. I love fresh flowers in the house but the dogs like to eat them. Yes, they eat flowers. 2 male dogs + David = no flower power. The overwhelming stench of testosterone emanates from my house stiffling out blossom dreams everywhere.

  8. Kelly,

    I am glad I’m not friends with the “common flowers” that felt your wrath 🙂 I love your beauty and the beast display….awesome idea.

    Have a blessed day,

  9. You are hilarious! I HATE HATE HATE making flower arrangements. They always look so dumb and then I get really annoyed and can’t even enjoy them.

  10. You are hysterical. And warped. Seriously warped …


    And I am the worst flower arranger in the history of all time. Just can’t get it right … I knew I should’ve taken that flower arranging class in college!


  11. I think we should start a vigilante group against flower food thieves, there will be capes and everything! They drive me nuts! Luckily my florist lets me take a stash of them home because I have no clue what’s actually in them! I love how you arranged your flowers, I’d like to say that I do the same but I don’t (not sure why actually as yours looks much better than straight from the store)!

  12. I’m so ready for spring.

  13. I love your process! I’m going to keep it in mind next time I have fresh flowers. I need to get more ruthless too! I love how you spread them out into so many different containers. Oh and I have to remember your plant food ingredients too! When my fresh flowers don’t come with their own little packet of it, they’re totally screwed because I have no idea what flowers eat. But, now I do- bleach, sugar, and lemon juice. Never would have guessed that!

  14. I’m so impressed! I walk by the fresh flowers at our local Brookshire’s and they all just wilt. I am a bad omen to anything that is supposed to be growing in dirt. It’s terrible! But these are beautiful and of course you are hilarious!

  15. I would be happy with a single vase of any of these flowers. Yes, even the “ugly” ones 🙂 They are always the last thing on my list as my bags are always filled with essential groceries. I think they need to be added to the essentials.

  16. Lots of bang for your buck! I love the tiny ones with just one or three flowers the best, so sweet.

  17. ugh i was always last picked…. anyhow.
    i think you got a whole lotta bang for $15!!! nicely done!

  18. I LOVE flowers and wish I could have them around more often….but those darn cats chew on them and then barf them up and overall it’s just very undesirable. We have to put them high up on shelves and then I forget about them. Sad. Love those orange flowers, and Weston’s potty vase. (It would have made good fertilizer, no?) Happy 2nd birthday to your baby boy!!

  19. I love that you deconstructed them into smaller bouquets with like flowers. They look way prettier that way. Why haven’t supermarkets caught on yet?

  20. I do the same thing!! Forgot about those little scragglers they supermarket sticks in the bouquet. And I love to chop those stems to within an inch of their lives if it means they’ll look good in one of my vintage containers.

    Here’s to another James Dean – take no prisoners!!

    Of course, I never considered a potty arrangement but maybe you’re onto a new trend?!

    Sorry it took me so long but am finally a Linky follower!

  21. hahhaha the beauty and the beast comment is hilarious because it is SO true! Love what you’ve done with the flowers – I need more small bud vases is the conclusion I came to from this post…and yes, that is a lot of flowers for $15!

  22. Fun post! You got lots of flowers for 15$ and Springified your home.
    I need to do that too!

    Come on over to my giveaway from cutting edge stencils.
    I’m now on wordpress! Spread the word and help me celebrate! Hope you have a great day!

  23. I love Beauty & the Beast, what a great idea! 😉 I really think you did a wonderful job displaying all your flowers, how fun! I might need to go get some fresh flowers now.

  24. wow! i can’t believe $15 went that far. I have never seen 1/2 off flowers in our grocery store..apparently i need to pay better attention! i love all the arranging you did…you have inspired me to rearrange in the future once I get the flowers home 🙂

  25. You are too funny – I love your writing style! Your floral arrangements are too cute and seem like such a great way to bring some spring into the home. Thanks for sharing! Following you now via Linky : )

    Caroline @ Double the Decor

  26. LOVE your post!

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