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The Right Tools for the Right Job: Essential Equipment for Arranging and Maintaining Your Flowers

You don't need to spend a fortune to condition flowers, arrange them properly and maintain them. All you need to make the design of your dreams are a few essential supplies.

Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging

Work in a cool room, sweep up leaves and stems from the floor as you work so you don't slip on them and use a large bucket to condition the flowers and foliage. The equipment pictured here is described clockwise, from the top left.

Florist's tape is used to bind floral foam to a plastic tray or bowl.

Clear tape
is used for binding split stems, making grids across vase tops and wrapping bouquets.

Stem tape
is used to cover and seal individually wired flower and foliage stems.

A hand mister is used to refresh or revive blooms with a fine mist of water.

Garden stakes 
provide support and can help placing ingredients in position.

Rubber bands
are useful for making up bunches of finer foliage such as bear grass.

Decorative colored reel wires
can be used to bind the stems of flowers or add decorative details.They are availale in various colors and thicknesses.

Raffia
and garden string are ideal for binding hand-tied bouquets and arranged stems.

When cut down, a plastic bottle can hold flowers in water in non-watertight containers.

A floral foam block and tray provides a good base for medium-sized floral foam arrangements. Cut and trim soaked floral foam with a craft knife, which can also be used to condition flowers.

Shears
are used to trim and split woody-stemmed foliage and thick-stemmed flowers, while florist's scissors are ideal for conditioning and trimming flowers and thin-stemmed foliage.

Chicken wire
can be molded to fit in an opaque vase or container to hold the stems of an arrangement in place.

Use a bottle brush to clean vases and containers.

Keep single-stemmed flowers fresh in a vial before they are presented. Long-stemmed vials can be attached to short-stemmed flowers in mixed designs.

Use a paintbrush to dust any pollen off flower petals.

Pearl pins
can be used to attach boutonnieres to jacket lapels and pin ribbons in place.

Rose wires
are used for wiring smaller-stemmed flowers and boutonnieres. 22 gauge wire is suitable for wiring larger flower stems, ribbons and other equipment.

Attach fabric and coverings to containers with mounting putty.

A deep plastic bowl holds enough floral foam for a large front-facing display. A shallow plastic bowl holds enough floral foam for a small arrangement.

You'll need a pin cushion to arrange stems at precise angles.

Add sterilizing tablets to a vase or container of water to kill bacteria and help to keep the water clear.

Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2011

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