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Flower Power: How to Create a Beautiful Bouquet

Spring is here, which means we’ve got flowers on our mind at The Shops at Columbus Circle. Look around, and you’ll see stunning blooms everywhere. And there’s nothing like fresh-cut flowers to brighten up your home. So we talked to Floratech's Michael Collarone, a.k.a. Mikey Flowers — the mastermind behind the arrangements at the Mandarin Oriental, New York — to get his top tips for putting together a beautiful bouquet.


Mandarin Oriental, New York's Asiate Restaurant


Floral arrangement in a Mandarin Oriental bathroom

We’ve heard that flower arranging has become the new wine tasting. Why do you think it’s so appealing?

When you’re creative and learning how to do something like flower arranging, you get a sense of relaxation and feel good about yourself. Plus, you don’t get a hangover.

Any flowers that you’re excited about right now?

There’s a magical Zen feeling when you get an orchid. Proteas are another great choice: They have an organic look and last a long time. And I’m excited about succulents, which are also called hens and chicks. They resemble a flat artichoke and almost seem like they’re from Mars.


Any tips for cutting fresh flowers?

Cut flowers on an angle because if you are you cut them straight across, it creates a vacuum on the bottom of the stem. A flower stem is almost like a straw, and the trick is not to perforate the straw, so I would measure twice and cut once.

How about arranging flowers?

Use subtle or extreme contrasts. Choose similar tones. Another idea is to use greenery in the vase to support the flowers. It’s like a modern-day version of flower foam. (And be wary of using foam, which can clog the stems.)


How do you keep flowers fresh longer?

Don’t use too much water. With some flowers, the more water you use, the faster they will die. Fill up a quarter of the vase. Floralife powder also helps by breaking down algae in the water. Another trip is to use a drop of bleach, which purifies the water and keeps it fresh. Don’t use sugar or a penny.

What kind of flowers do you recommend for different occasions? Do the old rules — like red for love — still apply?

Not really. In today’s world, people are breaking the rules. Work backward. Find out what colors someone likes. Instead of red, try purple or pink. If you want to give a birthday gift that will be around awhile, give an orchid plant. And when you’re going to someone’s home, make sure the flowers are almost in full bloom. You want the flowers to look their best, like a firework going off.

Want to wear your flowers? Check out these designs, below, from The Shops at Columbus Circle.


Ted Baker heels ($180)


Hugo Boss clutch ($1195)


J.Crew earrings ($65)

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