MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Garden Club hosted its Feb. 1 meeting, where former president Carolyn Deevey taught members how to create a centerpiece, boutonniere and vase presentation of cut flowers.

Deevey taught the members about the various craft items available to make vases and containers attractive, such as leaf ribbon – wide ribbon that actually looks like ribbon – and “bling on a roll” – rhinestones on sticky tape that can be applied to a clear vase to add sparkle. She also gave insider tips such as how to order bulk roses (“They charge you by the length of the stem, so go with 50 cm, because it’s cheaper”) and how to make any arrangement last longer: “If the flower grows in warm weather, place it in warm water. If it grows in cooler weather, place it in cooler water. Leaves are water suckers, so remove them.”

Deevey began with a centerpiece in a footed bowl. She soaked oasis (green floral foam) and placed lemon leaves all over the foam, then placed roses in the corners, working her way in layers.

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“I like to use purple with hot pink and red, because it pops,” she said.

She used alstroemeria, roses, statice, and lisianthus.

“For a pop of green I like to use limes, artichokes, or Brussels sprouts,” she said.

Deevey took fresh Brussels sprouts and poked them into stakes which she added to the arrangement in threes. But you won’t catch Deevey using baby’s breath in her arrangements.

“That’s an 80s thing that I got sick of,” she said with a laugh.

Next Deevey made a vase arrangement, which she always starts to assemble in her hand. She used several colors of roses plus lots of green flowers.

“Hypericum berries, which are St. John’s Wort, add a lot of texture,” she said.

She used a border of lemon leaves to hide the stems below the flowers.

“You can’t have too many lemon leaves,” she said.

Then she wrapped the arrangement with waterproof florist’s tape, and used a knife to cut the stems to the height of the vase. She urged members to cut too little off the stems, try the arrangement for height, and then trim off some more. Deevey said to keep changing the water in the vase periodically.

Making a boutonniere was as simple as wrapping a flower with floral tape while pulling and twisting. Deevey likes to curl the bottom end instead of leaving it straight. She taught the members how to tie a ribbon bow and wrap it with wire to add to the boutonniere.

“A corsage is three flowers,” she explained.

Deevey said she has been arranging flowers for about 22 years.

“My mom went to Parsons in New York City to learn how to do it,” she said, “and then everything I know I learned from watching her.”

The Garden Club of Montville meets the first Wednesday of the month, September through April, at the Senior House.