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Flower Arranging Tips from Master Heights Florist Gaye Jackson

And here we are Houston in the busiest social month of the year! If you’re like me, your calendar is packed with work events, social functions, reunions with old friends, holiday parties, and tacky sweater occasions. If you’re also like me, you might find yourself hosting one or two extravaganzas as well. One thing that always holds up well–whether it be a hostess gift, a centerpiece, or an excuse to treat yourself–is a bouquet of flowers! As someone who never leaves the grocery store without a fresh bunch, I’ll take flowers as a hostess gift over wine any day.

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Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to do a flower arranging workshop with og florist Gaye Jackson. The event was arranged by Circa Real Estate in a beautiful mansion in the Heights (this one to be exact). Gaye Jackson has been in the florist industry her entire life. She has owned her own shop for more than thirty years, and is now back in the Heights at her original location at 113 E  23rd Street. She specializes in custom and unique floral arrangements, floral design courses, and special occasion arrangements. She was voted as “Houston’s Best Wedding Florist” for nine straight years in a row…so she knows her stuff!

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In addition to arranging a beautiful centerpiece that served me well through my birthday and Friendsgiving celebration, I learned some florist tips and tricks that I’ll be sure to remember while arranging my grocery store bunches.

heights florist gaye jackson houston

Flower Arranging Tips & Tricks

  • Put the greenery in first.
  • Cut the stems with a knife (we all got souvenier ones) not scissors so you don’t smash the stems. Cut at a big angle so you give the flowers more water
  • Hydrangeas are crazy water dependent. When you buy them, they come with their own little bags of water. If they get wilty in the vase, you can sumberge the whole flower –petals and all–and it will perk back up in less than 4 hours.
  • Prevent leaves from getting into the vase water. Cut them off and prevent bacteria growth
  • The closer the flower is to the water, the better!
  • If you have lilies, gently open the buds (if they’re not too tight) and remove the staimen. This will prevent the pollen from getting all over your table, walls, hands, clothing, etc. SUCH A GAME CHANGER FOR ME!
  • Change the water for your flowers every other day. Instead of pulling the flowers out and dumping the vase water, just put the vase in the sink and let it overflow until the water is fresh and clean.
  • If you have to travel with the vase, put the arrangement in your front seat and put the seatbelt around it
  • If your arrangement has curly willow, you can plant the branches and eventually grow a tree!
  • If you want the flowers to be a table centerpiece, be sure to make the arrangements low. You can use the distance between your elbow and hands as a reference.
  • Gaye Jackson sells fresh flower bunches at her store, but you can also find a good variety at Trader Joe’s. I’m personally biased towards the selection at HEB.  Florists tend to have the freshest flowers though.
  • If you have a fresh Bird of Paradise, you have to “birth the bird” and open up the flowers, otherwise it never will on it’s own.
  • Fresh roses come with an extra protector petal. If you look closely its on the outside and has a line going down the middle. Remove that if you want your rose to open up and blossom. You can also gently open up the rose buds yourself with your fingers or letting a light trickle of water fall down onto the petals until they get heavy and fall open.

Photos by Lauren Olvera from Stills By Garcia for the photos.

Any flower tricks you want to share?


7 thoughts on “Flower Arranging Tips from Master Heights Florist Gaye Jackson

  1. Thanks for helping me learn more about flower arranging. I actually didn’t know that you should try to prevent leaves from getting in the vase water to prevent bacteria growth. You mentioned to cut them off and I’m interested to know if this applies to leaves that have just fallen off the flower.

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