Create a gorgeous rose boutonniere for any special occasion by following these simple step-by-step instructions. This approach uses wire to keep the rose maleable. You can experiment with using other flowers.
The goal of wiring a single, beautiful flower in perfect condition is to be able to gently manipulate the flower head and surrounding leaves into the perfect angles once the boutonniere has been attached to the lapel of a jacket.
Fine wires and green stem tape are used to replicate the slim, smooth flower stem. The tape also seals in moisture to help the flower stay fresher for a little longer. It's important to keep the lengths of wire as straight as possible to avoid creating unsightly bumps.
Choose three immaculate ivy leaves that will be large enough to cup the head of the rose. Turn each leaf over and insert a rose wire through either side of the spine (or midrib), making as small a stitch through the front as possible so the wire can't easily be seen.
Bend each side of the wire 90 degrees so the two lengths are parallel to the stem. Then twist one of the wires around both the stem and the remaining straight wire; this is known as a double leg mount.
Split a long length of stem tape in half with scissors. Do this by running the slightly open blades of the scissors up the center of the length of tape. Using thinner stem tape ensures a finer and more delicate result.
Attach one end of the thin stem tape to the top of the leaf stem. Wind the tape around and down the stem and wires, keeping the tape taut and stretching it as you wind it. Wind the tape down to the ends of the wires and back up again slightly. Pull off the excess tape with your fingers and seal it down. Repeat the process with the other two leaves.
Bunch several rose wires together. Fold them over the scissor blades at one end to create a small "U" shape in each wire. Snip off these folded ends to make staples. Press these staples into the sepals — the small green leaves immediately below the petals — so they are held in place.
Trim the rose stem at an angle to 1 inch long and push a 22 gauge wire up through the base of the stem. Then use a thin rose wire to pierce the side of the stem. Push this wire halfway through the stem so you have an equal length of the wire at each side. Bend each side of the rose wire 90 degrees so the two lengths are parallel to the stem. Twist one of the rose wires around the rose stem, the 22 gauge wire and the remaining length of rose wire in a double leg mount.
Wind another length of thinned stem tape around the stem of the rose and the wires. Wrap the tape down to the ends of the wires and back up again slightly. Pull off the excess tape with your fingers and seal it down cleanly.
Place one of the wired leaves against the side of the rose so that the top of the leaf stem aligns with the top of the flower stem. Wrap only the wires together with stem tape so the stems themselves remain separated.
Bind the other two leaves to the flower in the same way, ensuring they are evenly spaced. Don't cut the length of florist's tape off when you attach the last leaf; you will need it shortly.
Trim the three leaf wires to different lengths to create a graduated effect. This means that as you push them against the 22 gauge wire they align smoothly and don't create a lumpy effect. Then cut the 22 gauge wire down to about 3 inches.
Wrap the loose end of the stem tape around the trimmed, graduated wires and down around the rose wire. Twist the tape around the base of the 22 gauge wire and then wind it back up the wire a little.
Massage the bound stem tape slightly in your fingers to seal it properly and then pull or cut off any excess tape. The wired stems should look and feel like one smooth flower stem.
To attach the wired rose to a jacket with a buttonhole, insert the wired stem through the buttonhole. Thread a pin through the backside of the lapel and around the stem to secure the rose in place.
Viewed from the front, only the rose and leaves are visible; gently tweak the leaves and flower head to show them off at their best angle.
Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2011