how to make a hand-tied bunch

Sarah shows us how to make a hand tied bouquet of flowers - using home-grown flowers from her cutting patch at Perch Hill Farm.

Before you start, lay out all your conditioned flowers and foliage in the order you will use them and number them 1 to 6; three groups of foliage, three groups of flowers. Cut a length of string, 1m (3ft) long, double it over and put it on one side.

It’s important to get the scaffolding right first. Arrange the bunch of primary foliage to form a fairly symmetrical dome. Make sure it is rounded not rectangular, or long and then get this bit absolutely right before you move on. Hold the bunch of primary foliage in your left hand, then add all the other foliage and flowers with your right hand, a stem at a time.

Add the secondary foliage to fill any holes and create contrasts. You could also add an upper storey, standing proud. Don’t add every stem vertically, forcing them into the fist of your left hand. By the time the bunch is complete your hands will be too full. Add stems at a sharp angle across the bunch – just catching each new stem into one or two stems of your primary foliage. The scaffolding will hold the stem for a few seconds, before you pull it into place from below with your right hand. Pull, don’t push. You’ll break heads off if you do. Check you’re happy with the foliage before moving onto arranging the flowers.

Add the flower stems at a right angle, not straight down. First, the bride, usually nine or eleven stems; and finally the gatecrasher, five or seven stems. When you’ve added all the flowers, loop the double string around your bunch, poking the two cut ends through the loop. This allows you to tighten it immediately, pulling one end in one direction and the other the opposite way.

Cut all of the stem ends to the same length. Try not to cut off the ends you have seared. If you have to, and you have delicate plants like poppies in the bunch, sear the whole bunch again. I always say, you won’t do anything any harm from searing and you will do lots of cut flowers a lot of good.

Place the bunch in the middle off a couple of sheets of waxed tissue paper and wrap. Tie with a length of ribbon with the same knot as above. 

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