I am not going to lie. I have never been known to have a green thumb. I have, in my adult life, accidentally and successfully killed both an aloe vera plant and a ficus tree, which were each gifted to me by my incredibly talented, master gardener mother-in-law. Thankfully, she loves me despite my lack of ability to care for plants/flowers. Do not get me wrong, I love flowers, succulents and gorgeous greenery! I just do not have a knack for keeping any of it alive. A few weeks ago, after I sadly disposed of an orchid my sweet mother-in-law gave me, I decided I needed to educate myself and dive wholeheartedly into the floral world. I have vowed to not allow another plant to die an awful, parched death on my watch.
Frisco has no shortage of interesting events, classes and happenings to take part in throughout the year, and if you are like me, the fall season just gives you a newfound sense of appreciation and love for florals and foliage. Simply Blessed Flowers is a local flower shop owned and run by Suzanne Gover and her parents, Billye and Ed Peery. The family-run shop has a deep love and passion for flowers and prides itself on providing customers with memorable and beautifully-crafted and designed flower arrangements and gifts. The shop recently began offering floral arrangement classes to the public so they may share their love and passion with customers who can take home all they have learned during class and build beautiful arrangements themselves.
I ventured out one evening, excited to soak in all things flowery and pretty. Upon my arrival for the class, I was greeted by a warm, smiling Suzanne, who led me through the small retail section of their shop over to their newly-finished work and classroom space. The space is inviting with a modern, clean feel, boasting cool, soothing colors, a large workspace with rectangle tables and a small partitioned space towards the back of the room. Here, class attendees can sit, enjoy refreshments and get to know each other after they have completed their arrangements.
I met Ms. Billye (as I called her) and, goodness, she was just so sweet, welcoming and excited to have everyone there! She showed me the work stations for class attendees and invited me to make myself at home and introduce myself to others taking the class. As we all settled into our work spaces, Suzanne took a moment to introduce the Simply Blessed floral designers there who helped teach the class and guide students throughout the evening. Ms. Billye took a moment to reflect on their years in business. She let us know that the idea behind floral classes was their sincere desire to share their love for the beauty of flowers, while building relationships with customers. She also explained that each class is different. Various techniques are taught during the respective classes and the cost of each class varies based on the particular arrangements.
During our class, designers Kim, Fabi and Helena helped at each work station to ensure we were feeling good about our work as the night progressed. On this particular evening, we made a beautiful, vibrant arrangement that featured roses, smaller spray roses and hydrangeas. Kim quickly went through the materials and tools we had at our workstations that included a vase, floral tape, green glo (makes greenery pretty and shiny), stem strippers, greening and a paring knife.
After we got a run-down on materials, it was time to arrange! We began by walking over to a large bin of lively, wild and crazy looking Curly Willow, which we added to the bottom of the vase. This added aesthetic value and, as Kim told us, helped with the stem placement in the bottom of the jar later as we added different elements. Next, we each got our floral tape and carefully taped a grid pattern horizontally and vertically across the top of the vase. We learned that this grid of tape would lay the foundation for where and how we placed the respective pieces and flowers of the arrangement. It also provides support and structure for the arrangement and prevents much movement. Who knew?
Our tape was secure and our foundations were set, so it was time to start arranging! The bases of most arrangements are comprised of what is called “greening.” Our greening was salal leaves. The designers showed us how to cut and clean (taking off extra leaves and imperfections) the stems and taught us that we always want the greening lower than the flowers, creating a “gentle collar,” as Ms. Billye calls it, for the arrangement. Another tip we took away was to hold the stem up to the vase to determine how long you want it and to measure where to cut. Next, we placed the sala stems carefully in the small squares we created with the floral tape and watched the green “collar” come to life. We then added a gorgeous green hydrangea to the greening after we cleaned the stem well and placed it in the lattice-esque tape. Fabi was at our table helping and taught us, as we worked with our hydrangeas, that the smoother the stems of the flowers you are working with are, the easier they are to place in and out of the tape and the arrangement as a whole.
As we worked, Ms. Billye was sure to remind us often that our arrangement was ours and ours alone and that beauty trumps perfection when it comes to an arrangement you are making. When our hydrangeas were nestled snugly against the greening, we added a couple of unique elements to the design that ended up being my favorite parts of the arrangement. As Kim explained where and how to place the trick dianthus (admittedly, I called this cute little guy the “hairy top thing”) and the amaranths (a mossy, droopy looking bloom) we picked one of each up and took them back to our stations to clean and arrange in our vases. Both additions added beautiful color and unique textures!
Then came the star of the show, the roses! We worked with beautifully-colored, large, grade-A roses, as well as smaller, orange spray roses. To clean the long stems of the roses, we used a nifty cleaning tool that stripped leaves and thorns right off the stems! To give the roses some extra support, we used floral wire and pierced the very base of the rose with the wire, wrapping it around the stem of the rose. We placed the roses strategically in the arrangements, nestling them gently against other elements of the design. Creative visions came to life right before our eyes!
The finishing touches were long, green, hollow sticks called “Horse Tail” that added height and texture to the design, as well as a few more sprigs of Curly Willow that added a unique twist. When we completed our arrangements, Billye, Suzanne and the designers invited us to the gathering space to enjoy a mini Bundt cake and water while we reflected on the evening and learned a little about each other.
I probably took too many pictures of my finished design, one or two of which went to my mother-in-law, of course, and I was just purely and simply proud of the work that I had no idea I could ever have successfully completed! Ms. Billye, Suzanne, Helena, Kim and Fabi were all wonderful, supportive, knowledgeable and so helpful throughout the evening. I truly left with a brand new knowledge base on how to create an arrangement in the future. I literally cannot wait to go back!
Simply Blessed’s floral arrangement classes are wonderful for a family night out, girls’ night, team building events or birthday parties. Simply Blessed has classes planned throughout the fall and winter months. You can register by calling 214.618.4994. Learn more about the specific classes offered at simplyblessedflowers.com.