Domain: Projects: Posy Up

Effortless DIY arrangements (that look florist-delivered)

10-minute idea: Perfect for quickly prettying up a bedside table. To do: Wrap vase in cut-to-size bark and secure with a twist of twine. Cut stems short on a tight bunch of single-color flowers — we opted for white peonies, hydrangeas and lisianthus — place in vase, and add water. Love the stylishly crowded look? Also try roses and sunflowers.

25-minute idea: Create a rustic-but-chic dining table centerpiece — or an organic indoor window box. To do:  Fill bottom of a long rectangular vase with floral foam (see tip #4). Top with enough potting soil so that bulbs are half-covered (about two inches). Secure paperwhites with stakes into floral foam. Staple cut-to-size bark where ends join at top. Stuff the sides and top with moss to hide vase. Use ribbon to keep paperwhites from leaning.  Find bark and floral foam at local craft stores.

5 Fresh Flower Tips

1. Vases can make a beyond-the-petals statement. “I just bought this handblown red and orange patterned vase, and all it needs are two magnificent tall blooms,” says Donna O’Brien, owner of Beautiful Blooms. “I went with calla lilies.” Her insider tip: Manipulate calla stems with the warmth of your hands to make them curve.

2. Get variety with succulents. “I use them for their different sizes and colors,” says O’Brien. Mix aeonium, cheiridopsis, aloe, echeveria and faucaria with flowers for a handsome detail that won’t filch water from delicate buds.

3. Buy fresh. With roses, O’Brien touches the flower-head base to make sure it’s hard (soft indicates the bloom is starting to go). Select paperwhites, amaryllis or daffodils at different stages — in bud form, just opening and full — to give your arrangement longevity.

4.  If you use floral foam, immerse it in water for 15 minutes until thoroughly soaked. “Don’t push down on it with your hands because air pockets will form, and that will be space where a stem might not get water later.”
5. Grow your own greens for something handy to complement fresh-cut flowers. “I love hosta leaves and rosemary,” says O’Brien. “I use the tall, woody rosemary and strip the leaves from the bottoms. It’s wonderful for the scent.”

Donna O’Brien creates masterful works of floral art for parties and weddings at her studio. Beautiful Blooms, 1011 North Hancock Street, 215-925-9300,