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How To Make A Chic Summer Bouquet

 with Petal by Pedal 

Kate Gilman, founder and CEO of New York-based floral company, Petal by Pedal took us through a step-by-step guide on building a beautiful hand-tied floral bouquet with locally grown blooms. Kate is a champion of supporting local businesses (something we love here at J.McLaughlin!) The e-commerce flower company is rooted in sustainable practices; all blooms are sourced from local New York farms (never imported!) and delivered by bicycle throughout New York City.

Shop Kate’s look: Britt Linen Top in Sky Blue, Lexi Jeans in White and the Erin Wicker Bucket Bag (used as a vase!)

Follow along for tips and tricks on how to create a beautiful summer floral arrangement with flowers from your local farmers market or personal garden.  And stay tuned, Kate will also be popping up in local J.McLaughlin stores along the East Coast this summer and fall for floral takeovers that follow the seasonal growing calendar. 

Flowers Kate Used:





*the tips below can be applied to any floral varieties that you have on hand!

From These Local Farms:  

Petal by Pedal's Cutting Garden

Rivergarden Farm

Rosemeadow Farm

Step by Step Guide: 

1. Buy Your Flowers - For this workshop, we'll pick a few ingredients for a wilder full summer look, paying attention to scent and texture as well as color. For this arrangement we used white, blue and green tones of alstroemeria, hydrangea, mint and thistle.

  1. Reminder - It's important to pay attention to where and how the flowers you buy were grown -- flowers don't have labels the way food does and you wouldn't believe how far most have traveled to reach your vase. At Petal by Pedal, we believe in supporting sustainable local agriculture, which means when shopping for flowers, choosing a farmer florist like Petal by Pedal or going directly to your community's local farmers market.
  2. When buying bundles at the market, keep to a single type of flower in a monochromatic color tone for an elegant look in the right vase.

2. Prep Your Flowers - Once home, remove any packaging and strip off leaves that might fall below the water line in a vase. Separate your ingredients by type. This is a lot like preparing to cook.


3. Grab Your Clippers - Make sure you have clean, sharp clippers. If not, they'll damage the stems and introduce points of entry for bacteria.


4. Start with Your Hardier Stems - Begin making your hand-tied bouquet by holding a single hardier stemmed flower in your non-dominant hand -- in this case, hydrangea. This will serve as the start of the hand-tied bouquet. Feed flowers into that hand from your free dominant hand.


5. Add Stems at an Angle - Introduce flowers from at a 45-degree angle, laying each new stem on top of the last at the same angle. 


6. See A Spiral Start to Form - The hand-tied technique will make a spiral with the stems so that the bouquet has an elevated appearance, whether you wrap it in burlap or paper or leave it as-is -- it will even be able to stand on its own once it's tied. 


7. Balance is Key - you don't have to have uniformity or symmetry but you do need to have balance when picking which flowers to feed into your bouquet. As you place the flowers into your non-dominant hand, remember to turn the arrangement as you work to continue to shift perspective. We want the bouquet to look great from all angles.


8. Lead with the Stems - Try not to handle flowers by the head as you work; oils on your fingers can damage the bloom. Instead, pull or push from the stem to make arrangements to your bouquet.


9. Allow for Breathing Room -  For a wild organic look, let the flowers breathe -- create pockets of space with greens instead of packing flowers tight and allow for slight difference in height to give dimension. 


10. Snip, Snip - Once you have added enough ingredients layer by layer, turning as you work, you're ready to cut the stems. Cut at an angle to increase surface area and allow more efficient drinking. 

  1.  A good rule of thumb is to cut small -- it's better to cut a few times than to cut an arrangement too short and not be able to get that length back.


11. Final Touches - If you're giving the arrangement to a friend, lay the bouquet on its side and wrap it in paper or burlap. If you're keeping the flowers for yourself, make sure you pop it into a vase of clean water that gives room for the bouquet to open up -- this is usually indicated by how wide the mouth of the vessel is.


12. Voila! You have made a gorgeous hand-tied bouquet. This is a skill you can bring with you everywhere, with any size arrangement. It'll help when you're on the go -- no need for a vase or supplies beyond clippers for a styled arrangement!

  1. Don’t forget to compost any of your scraps!


Be sure to follow @jmclaughlin on instagram and see Kate create this exact hand tied arrangement in an IGTV!