easy flower arranging tips

I think I live for Sunday nights and Downton Abbey.

And somewhere along the way I got hooked on Mercy Street, too.

Just in case you haven’t watched it, I won’t discuss.

Even though I want to.

Even though I want to say to Edith….FINALLY.

But I won’t.

I’ll just talk about my flowers and arranging and how I took this bundle of white roses from the aisle of the grocery store to the halls of Grantham House in London.

I’m sure even Violet would approve. 

white roses

Here’s what I started with.

A bundle of white roses from the artichoke aisle.



But let’s go all Downton and take it up a notch.

white rose stems

Start by laying out all your stems on a flat surface.

Next, trim off all the leaves.

Be careful as you trim because every rose has its thorns.

Or at least that’s what Brett Micheal’s told me.

white rose with petals

When you are done you have flowers that look like this.



Ready for a new arrangement.

flower arranging

Choose your selected container and add duck tape to the top in a cross hatch pattern.

This provides a support for your flower arrangement.

I cut my strips of duck tape in half and used white to blend in.

Don’t worry about the excess hanging over, we will trim that later.

flower arranging DIY

Start with your center flower first.

This will be your tallest flower.

Trim the stem so that the base of the flower is about four inches above the rim of the container.

(tip:  cutting the stems under water will make the roses last longer)

Insert the flower into the center of the cross hatch.

flower arranging tips

Then add your first layer of flowers.

This layer should be about an inch shorter than the center.

Place the flowers so they are on the outside of the container.

Continue until you have the entire first level as a base.

white roses arrangement

Next, trim the white duck tape back even with the edge of the container.

The leaves should cover it.

Continue layering in your flowers until you have filled in all the spaces.

farmhouse white roses

Here’s the finished arrangement.

You want to make sure your vase is full of water and adding a little sugar to the water helps keep them fresher longer and helps the buds to open.

This arrangement will look even prettier when the flowers open just a little more.

Now I have to ring Lady Mary and tell her I’m stopping by for tea. 🙂

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    1. Image for JennyW JennyW

      I'm glad i'm not the only one feeling bad for Thomas! Everything seems to be wrapping up nicely, so I hope his character finds happiness too - who'd a thunk it?

  1. Image for Shawn Shawn

    But we can comment on Lady Mary's gorgeous white coat and hat! without spoiling it for anyone, can't we?! It's going to take a lot of Thistlewood Farms blog posts to get through Sundays after February 28.

  2. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    Beautiful, clever and I love the white roses! And is that milk glass? It just so happens that love milkglass too ;-)

  3. Image for Linda Linda

    Gorgeous! Yes, I agree about Edith and yes, poor Thomas, never thought I'd say that. This year has been so good I don't want to see it end. I have watched a few episodes of Mercy Street and it is good. Have a great week!

  4. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    My husband is hooked (along with me) on Downton Abbey. I don't tell him it's like the soaps I used to watch...

  5. Image for Mary Mary

    Oh so pretty!! Got a lot of fog here today. So pretty flowers brighten things up. Am recording Mercy Street so don't tell us yet!!

  6. Image for Peg Peg

    I have been buying up every milk glass vase I can find. We are using them as centerpieces for my daughter's wedding in Septenber. It will be stunning, I just know it!! Love, love!!

  7. Image for Susan Susan

    Soooo soooo pretty! My niece is doing white roses for her wedding...I'll have to show her this! Thank you for sharing your tips with us!

  8. Image for Preppy Mountain Farmer Preppy Mountain Farmer

    What a terrific step by step tutorial on flower arranging! You have such an ability to take a domestic pursuit and turn it into an elegant, interesting, and witty blog post. Thanks for the duck tape tip. I will definitely give that a try.

  9. Image for Christopher Christopher

    Beautiful roses. I just have to say, if poor Edith doesn't have a happy ending, I will be one sad boy! She has always been my favorite character. I even named my girl pup Edythe, just spelled different obviously. :)

  10. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Love white roses. I am sure Violet would approve. Didn't you love Mr. Carsen and wife sneaking their 15 seconds on the Grantham sofa? And Carson preparing dinner... wonder if the dishes had gone cold before he served them. tsk tsk. poor old fellow. Serves him right for being such a dolt sometimes. I am fearing something dreadful is going to happen to Thomas. And Edith, yes, yes, and yes!

  11. Image for Diane Diane

    Great flower arranging tip! I decided to read Downton Abbey spoilers,for the most part, it will end well. Love Mercy Syreet,it gets better every week. FYI, Lady Mary..Michelle Dockery, is going to be in a new series on TNT. I think it starts in the Sumer. It is a modern day series.

  12. Image for sydney85 sydney85

    My favorite show of the week is Downton Abbey. I am happy for Edith having a happy time. I do worry that Thomas is going to have a bad ending. I hope not. I loathed him at first but I do have empathy for him now and want a good ending for him too.

  13. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    Kids to bed by 7:30 so we're ready to watch Downton Abbey! I was so, so tempted to buy Series Six at Costco but I stopped myself cold in my tracks...I also won't do any research to see how it all ends up. Yes, your roses would be perfect on a sideboard in the dining room. But can we talk clothes? - the styling and fabrics are sheer perfection.

  14. Image for Shirley Shirley

    I love all your white& the roses look so pretty. I love it when you write about Downton as it has finished here in England . Last night it was the Baftas( film awards).They had the Kiss cam & Leonardo DiCaprio turned round & kissed Maggie Smith who was in the next row. When she realised what was happening she kissed him again. As you would.

  15. Image for Marsha Marsha

    Yes. I do love Downton Abbey. I make scones every Sunday night (and a few days in between) to eat during the show. I'll be glad when I quit making and eating scones ever week made with a stick of butter and a cup of heavy whipping cream--but I'll miss D. A. Guess if I get the box set, I could keep making and eating....:) Great flower arrangement tips....may I add a couple more? Another good (old school) measure for trimming flowers....make the flower and stem 1 and 1/2 the height of your container. Also, you can trim the flowers as soon as you get them and place in slightly warm water and that will help the tighter blooms to open a little quicker (warm-not hot). Mercy Street....watched the first episode, enjoyed it, but I have the feeling that we don't win the war....again. :(

  16. Image for Lin Lin

    I love Downton and have been watching Mercy Street too. As a former nurse I have to cringe at unclean methods they use but then they just did not know about sterilization back then!! What will we ever do without Downton? I am so sad that it will not continue and I will even be sad to not hear the theme every week!! The roses are gorgeous. Thanks for the info.

  17. Image for Kris Kris

    I'm hoping my niece watched DA last night so when we do coffee tomorrow, I will have someone I can chat with about it and not have to worry about spoilers! Mrs. Patmore worked behind the scenes beautifully to help out Mrs. Hughes and Daisy. I suspect there may be more bends in the road before Edith gets her happy ending. I have a theory that Mosely's well-deserved good fortune will also help out Thomas, but I will have to watch and see if my theory turns out right. I want to vacation with the Dowager. What a riot that would be. Robert's gift from her was wonderful. Am I the only one who can't warm up to Mr. Race Car driver???? I kinda liked the pig wrestling match from whatever season it was, with Lady Mary and that other guy .... I love your rose arrangement, BTW. And I feel that I can take responsibility for your new love for Mercy Street. OK, not really, but isn't it a great show??? I work in healthcare, like Lin, and I keep wanting to tell everyone on the show to glove and gown and use good handwashing techniques, for Heaven's sake, but they are being true to the time period. ACK! I just found out that the finale is 2/21/16!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't want it to be over so soon ... but I think maybe Grantchester is coming back and I do think the vicar is easy on the eyes, I mean, he is a talented actor ...

    1. Image for Marsha Marsha

      Yep, the vicar is eye candy. It was a fun show to watch after Downton was over for the season. I got a great wool blanket because of Grantchester. I did a post about it.....Thank you, Grantchester.

  18. Image for Kathy Kathy

    I fully intend to throw myself on the floor and kick and scream when this series ends. But then someone will have to help me up. My heart breaks for Thomas. Never hated him, didn't understand his motives. I have so enjoyed the clothes and set design. Everything has been perfection. I think that I will buy flowers and bake scones regularly to keep the memories alive.

  19. Image for Tracey B Tracey B

    My mama's name was Edith (after her own mother) but she detested it and went by her middle name Ann - she was known as Annie. I love the old names and hearing people use them thanks to the popularity of shows like Downton Abbey brings back lovely memories of my mom. She passed away very young (38) but I'm sure the resurgence of "old fashioned" names like her own on DA still wouldn't convince her to use it! PS - your white roses are beautiful.

  20. Image for Kristin @ Pink Camellias Kristin @ Pink Camellias

    I love Downton Abbey and I love fresh flowers!!! This season has been a really good one. We don't have cable and my digital antenna was not picking up the signal well and the show was coming in and out, so I am going to have to rewatch online. I will be sad to see Downton end!

  21. Image for Patricia Patricia

    I love love love the costumes on Downton. Even the men looked more elegant in their black tie or white tie. I would love to see a traveling display of the costumes up close so we could appreciate the wonderful details...

  22. Image for Michele Michele

    I love this technique. I went many MANY years without knowing this and always felt like I couldn't use my wide mouth vases. Then a friend of mine that used to be a professional florist taught me...with a wide mouth mason jar! What a wonderful idea! I'm so glad you shared it so people can use their wide mouth vases and create gorgeous Downton Abbey arrangements. ;) I HAVE to catch up on my episodes, when is Downton Abbey NOT a good idea?!?

  23. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Rather sad this is the last season of Downton Abbey. Yes, Edith! Poor Thomas even though in the past I loathed him. Ah, Mary. Don't be a snob; let love win. Will Tom find new love? What about Baxter and Mr. Mosley? I will miss this show!

  24. Image for Terri Wilson Godfrey Terri Wilson Godfrey

    Yes, I love Downton Abbey, too!. Poor Thomas, he doesn't even like himself which is really the problem. I'm hoping he has a turnaround. I see Baxter and Mr. Molesley marrying. Love Edith's current happiness with a man who clearly adores her. Mary's in such a quandary these days. Maybe she will be a spinster running a business. I wonder if Tom will hook up with Edith's female editor? I hope the Dowager doesn't pass on during her voyage; that is my fear. I think Mrs. Patmore may have a suitor in Daisy's father in law! I love how each new episode brings the whole crew further into the more modern world. The writing is clearly genius in so many ways. And the costumes! So many great actors. Love your arrangement. I will offer you a tip from floral design school ( I had my own business Thyme in the Garden for many years). We were taught to cut rose stems submerged in water. It prolongs their freshness by days. Cutting them mid-air forms tiny air bubbles inside the stems which contributes to their early demise. Gorgeous. White roses, one of my favorites. Elegant mixed with any type of décor. Thank you, Kari, for your entertaining, informative website. Guaranteed a smile every time. Terri

  25. Image for esther esther

    i love mercy street! i sure do not want downton to end. your home is beautiful, and i can relate to all your mistakes. I am looking at my sofa that has the back you are describing! Thank you for your wonderful blog.

  26. Image for Malini Malini

    You split me up with the "Duck" tape. Ms Karianne you are funny without trying too hard. I love your blog and I love your style.

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