Hand-Tying Floral Stems

Sybil Sylvester, a florist in Birmingham, Alabama, knows of an unusual way of arranging stems.

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The technique is called "European hand-tying" and not only does Sylvester use it to make gorgeous bouquets, she also turns them into great-looking topiaries.

The technique involves crossing the stems to form a stand-alone bouquet. After adding and turning, and more adding and turning, the stems are cut and the bouquet is tied together with wire. The true test of a hand-tied bouquet is to see if it can stand on its own.

For a tall topiary, create a carnation bouquet, cut the stems all one length and wrap with floral tape. Fill a bucket with wet florist's foam and insert the bouquet into the center. Add a ribbon for a finishing touch.

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