I am honored to introduce our Entertaining and Floral contributor to the Mezza, Anne Valgoi. Not only is Anne a kind and Classy lady she is a fantastic floral designer. Before we head into some of Anne’s tips for the perfect vase arrangement, I wanted to share a little bit about Anne.
A lover of flowers and all things pretty, Anne Valgoi enjoys entertaining whether it be with her family, close friends or neighborhood garden club. Anne has a natural gift for arranging florals and loves to share her ideas. She and her husband often host dinner parties in their 1930’s Atlanta home and Anne also has creative thoughts on setting the perfect table. Anne is embracing her “Mezza years” as she artfully balances her work as a part-time clinical pharmacist specializing in Infectious Disease with her other passions of floral gardening, competitive tennis, and travel. She and her husband have three grown children and one sweet grandson who they adore! Anne spends most Saturday mornings during the Spring and Summer months tending to the 185 roses at the Martin Luther King Jr. World Peace Rose Garden. Here, she and other fellow members of the Atlanta Woman’s Club volunteer their time and talent. Anne is already looking forward to bringing her grandson Nolan to this historic garden to assist once he is old enough to hold the clippers!
Some great tips from Anne:
FLOWER POWER! A trendy 70’s saying yes, but this also references much more. Bright, beautiful flowers are key to successful entertaining according to Anne Valgoi. She and her husband, Renee (who she absolutely adores), often host friends in their renovated 1930’s Buckhead home whether it is an outdoor garden party, neighborhood dinner club event or simply having cocktails and conversation with associates. Luscious flowers, delicious food and great wine (of course) are all that is needed for the party to flow says Anne. “Flowers set the tone of your get-together, be it formal, informal or natural with a few girl-friends socializing”.
Anne always has flowers in her home. It may be a few bud vases filled with hand- picked flowers from her backyard garden or perhaps a more elaborate arrangements prepared by Anne for a dinner party. Last month Anne invited a handful of friends to her home for a floral arranging party! Anne recalls that it was a very rainy day and each friend was asked to bring their favorite vase as well as a few handfuls of flowers and some greenery. Everyone gathered around the large kitchen island and immediately began socializing and creating their personal arrangements. “We shared our flowers with one another and advice. By the time my friends finished, the sun was shining and so were our emotions.”
Below Anne articulates her thoughts on floral arranging:
In my opinion, the most important piece in creating a unique arrangement is the VASE. I have two “go- to favorite vases”. My most preferred is a large vase that I purchased years ago from Southern Living. I adore the opening of this vase and the way the flowers lay; also I love the pedestal base of this display vessel. My second most favored is a low, square cubed vase which is wonderful to showcase a tightly packed floral arrangement. You simply cannot go awry, if you have the correct vase.
Next, begin by adding the greenery around the edges of the vase. Greenery is available in different shades (light, dark and variegated). Don’t forget to add texture to your displays whether it be through different greenery, with your flower selections or with your vase! Texture provides interest!
It’s advisable to cut the stems at a 45-degree angle of all flowers and greenery in your arrangement. This will allow for a greater surface area (rather than cutting your stems at a 90-degree angle) and therefore your bouquet will have increased water uptake for longer lasting blooms. Additionally, it’s important to trim off all the vegetation on the stem that will be below the water line. This will keep the water clean and promote a fresher appearance. I also like to change the water of the display every few days!
Lastly, have fun with adding your flowers whether they are similar in color tones or are a variety of bright colors such as floral designer, Paula Prkye of London often does. For traditional arrangements, the height of the flower stem should be no more than one and a half to two times the height of the vase. Try staggering the heights of the flowers and remember to turn your vase as you create so that the arrangement is distributed evenly, especially if the floral display will be viewed beautifully from both sides.
Flowers are powerful – they elevate us. Whether they are bright, textured, simply stated or a statement piece, flowers bring out our creative personas. I encourage you to dust off your special vase and purchase some flowers (my favorite spot is Whole Foods Floral Department in Buckhead). Give it a try and begin to create. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for questions or comments. Until next time!