Chic At Home The Chic List

The Chic List: Chic In Bloom


The first day of Spring is just around the corner and our spring collection is in full bloom! To help us celebrate, we asked Eileen Tongson, owner of FarmGal flowers, to share some of her tips for creating beautiful, long-lasting floral arrangements at home.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve truly loved gardening. My parents were avid gardeners and we spent countless hours outdoors cultivating vegetables, fruit, and of course flowers. They taught me to appreciate nature and all that it provides, and I am ever so thankful to them for the early introduction to what has become a lifelong passion. 

My name is Eileen Tongson and after all these years, I’m still just as inspired by the natural beauty and cultivation of flowers. I consider myself a city dweller, turned home-grown FarmGal. I am the owner of Farmgal Flowers, an urban flower farm in Orlando Florida and I specialize in fresh from the garden, farm to table floral design. Fresh flowers bring so much happiness to the home and I wanted to share some of that happiness with you. Here my top tips for creating a beautiful long-lasting arrangement.

  1. My first tip is not that exciting but very important. Use clean tools! Keep your buckets, vases and floral snips clean.  I use plain old hot water and soap to keep these items free from dirt and bacteria. Dirt and bacteria will clog your flower stems and prevent them from drawing in water. This will greatly decease the vase life of your arrangement.
  2. Check out these floral design tools: I love Japanese floral snips and a lazy Susan! A sharp, easy to use, pair of scissors that do not pinch you are a must. Use your floral snips to cut your stems at an angle to create the most surface area and allow the flower stem to draw in the most amount of water.  You can also strip off any extra leaves at this point. Leaves in the water will make it dirty.  A lazy Susan allows you to easily view your arrangement from all sides. There’s less chance of missing a bare spot when you can view your arrangement from all sides. I love giving the arrangement a fun spin at the end too. These tools will make you feel like a professional!
  3. Add flower food to your water. Studies have shown that using flower food DOES increase the vase life of your flowers. Flower food provides nutrients for your flowers and also has elements to help keep the water clean.
  4. It is important to know and understand the types of flowers you are working with to create a complete and full arrangement. I often begin with foliage (pittosporum, nasturtium vine) to create structure for the arrangement. Then I like to add mass flowers (ammi and clusters of Peggy Martin roses) to fill in space and give support for the other flowers. Next are the line flowers (foxgloves and larkspur). They add height to the arrangement. Now I add the focal flowers (dahlias and tulips) which are the stars of the show.  They are typically the largest flowers and the ones your eye is immediately drawn too. Finally, I tuck in the supporting flowers (ranunculus) which tend to be smaller but complement the focal flowers and add extra interest to the arrangement overall.
  5. Take a quick photo of your arrangement. Any holes or bare spots will be quite evident as your eye us immediately drawn to them in photos. Then you can fill these spaces in and your arrangement will be Insta ready!
  6. Continue to care for your flowers even after the arranging is done. Place your arrangement away from any extreme temperatures in your home (i.e. fireplaces, kitchen stoves, hot direct sunlight, etc.). Trim the stems and add fresh water to your vase often.
Eileen’s arrangement, inspired by Chico’s Spring Collection

I hope these tips inspire you to create a beautiful and joyful flower arrangement for your home!

For more floral fashions check out Chico’s Spring Collection on Chicos.com. And for more floral design inspiration follow @farmgalflowers on Instagram or check out their website, farmgalflowers.com.

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