New This Month

3 Stunning Floral Arrangements For Every Summer Occasion

Warning: They’ll steal the show.

 

Arrangement instructions and floral photos reprinted from Color Me Floral by Kiana Underwood with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018. Header image by Elizabeth Messina. All other photos by Nate Underwood.

 

The key to elevating any summer fête, be it a picnic or a wedding, is with a striking spray of expertly-arranged flowers. Not an expert? You’re about to be. Kiana Underwood, the insanely talented floral designer behind Tulipina (and the most-followed floral designer on Instagram), just published her first book “Color Me Floral,” with step-by-step instructions on how to create her stunning, garden-style, monochromatic arrangements. Here, the San-Francisco based designer walks us through three of her favorites bouquets, and admits that, like us, she’s known to grab flowers at her local grocery store.

Go For What’s In Season

You don’t need to search high and low for the perfect summer florals.

“If you’re buying it in season, then it’s going to look summery,” says the designer. She touts dahlias, gardenias and peonies as great summer choices, but adds that availability is the most important part of her process for choosing flowers. “Whatever is at my disposal, I use it, whether it’s at a flower market or just Trader Joe’s”.

Make Your Own Rules

You can use a “recipe,” like the arrangements here to capture a specific mood, or you can do what Underwood loves most: invent something of your own. “At the market, I basically take what I’m drawn to and arrange with that.” Underwood follows her instincts to create what is “pleasing to the eye,” often blending unexpected colors.

“You can play with red and pink and blue, and hints of yellow—as long as the colors aren’t overwhelming each other,” she says. “When you play with color in ways no one else would allow themselves to, you create something that will stop people in their tracks.”

Mix In Greens

Just like your diet, floral arrangements can always benefit from added greenery. “When I think about summer, I think about wild, happy colors, and foliage helps that,” she says. You can step right outside and grab something from your own yard. “I’ll take leaves or grass from my garden, the neighborhood, even a plant in the house,” Underwood says. “You can even buy a plant from your local hardware store, and keep it to mix into your arrangements.”

Arrangement 1: Picnic Showstopper

When Underwood chose the 10 color palettes for “Color Me Floral,” peach made the cut because there’s so much variety in every season. “Dahlias have varied shades and textures, which gives this all-peach arrangement a lot of richness and dimension,” she says.

The designer recommends bringing home as many shades of pale pinks and peaches as possible. “When you let these shades live together, you get the feeling of a summer sorbet, refreshing and bright.” While it’s perfect for a picnic or luncheon Underwood also says, “it’s so everyday, you can have it [at home] all season long.”

Palette

Tools:

  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) floral pin frog

  • Floral scissors/shears

  • Floral putty

  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) floral pin frog

  • Floral putty

  • Floral scissors/shears

Ingredients:

  • Dahlia (white)

  • Dahlia (peach)

  • Poppy

  • Viburnum

  • Dahlia (light peach)

  • Carnation

  • Ranunculus

  • Eucalyptus leaf

  • Dahlia (white)

  • Dahlia (light peach)

  • Dahlia (peach)

  • Carnation

  • Poppy

  • Ranunculus

  • Viburnum

  • Eucalyptus leaf

Steps:

  • 1

    Using floral putty, secure the floral pin frog in the bottom of the vessel. Establish the structure with the eucalyptus leaves and viburnum.

    kiana underwood summer peach floral arrangement step 1
  • 2

    Add the first shade of dahlia.

  • 3

    Add the remainder of the dahlias for a peach explosion.

    kiana underwood summer peach floral arrangement step 2
  • 4

    Add the ranunculus. You can stop here for a simple arrangement.

  • 5

    To continue: Add the carnations.

    kiana underwood summer peach floral arrangement step 3
  • 6

    Finish with the poppies.

Arrangement 2: For Your Elegant Affairs

When Underwood falls in love with a botanical specimen, she just can’t pass it up. “Near my home, outside San Francisco, there are hills, and I was walking my dog through that neighborhood when I saw this beautiful walnut tree,” she says. “It wasn’t in a yard or anything, just on a hill by itself. I thought, ‘There’s my foliage!’” Underwood picked a few branches and brought them home to create this arrangement.

The hints of pink in the flowers add a touch of modernity. “Green has an old-world look to it. It’s classic looking,” says Underwood. Consider using an arrangement like this to give your space a traditional feel. “I can see this green arrangement being used on a beautiful piece of heirloom furniture or in the foyer for a lovely tea party,” she says.

Palette

Tools:

  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) floral pin frog

  • Floral scissors/shears

  • Floral putty

  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) floral pin frog

  • Floral putty

  • Floral scissors/shears

Ingredients:

  • Walnut branch

  • Young branch of weeping willow

  • Zinnia ‘Lime Cordial’

  • Limelight hydrangea

  • Ranunculus

  • Chinese lantern

  • Orchid

  • Siam tulip

  • Spray rose

  • Walnut branch

  • Chinese lantern

  • Young branch of weeping willow

  • Orchid

  • Zinnia ‘Lime Cordial’

  • Siam tulip

  • Limelight hydrangea

  • Spray rose

  • Ranunculus

Steps:

  • 1

    Place the floral frog inside your vessel and secure with floral putty. Begin with the walnut and weeping willow branches to form the structure.

    kiana underwood summer green floral arrangement step 1
  • 2

    Add the Limelight hydrangeas.

  • 3

    Here insert the Chinese lantern.

    kiana underwood summer green floral arrangement step 2
  • 4

    Add the zinnias.

  • 5

    Add the Siam tulips. You can stop here for a simple and beautiful arrangement.

    kiana underwood summer green floral arrangement step 3
  • 6

    To continue: Add the spray roses.

  • 7

    Add the orchids.

    kiana underwood summer green floral arrangement close up
  • 8

    As a final touch, add the ranunculus. I’m using this bunch because in addition to green it has some lovely pastel hues to match the flowers on the vase.

Arrangement 3: Go Dark for Dinner

“In the black floral arrangement, when you see the black tomatoes, they just scream summer,” Underwood says. “Most people don’t think about using fruit and vegetables, but they give an arrangement a new, warm feeling.”

Underwood uses tomatoes to play with texture, too. Their roundness and shiny finish make this arrangement look especially polished. “Black is perfect for a dinnertime, especially an early, outdoor summer dinner,” she says. “It’s a little more formal and it can elevate a meal outdoors, even [a dinner] held near a farm or garden.” Placing the arrangement in a low, wide container allows the branches and vines to spill out and look lush.

Palette

Tools:

  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) floral pin frog

  • Floral scissors/shears

  • Floral putty

  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) floral pin frog

  • Floral putty

  • Floral scissors/shears

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate dahlia

  • Cosmos

  • Angelica stricta ‘Purpurea’

  • Black tomato vine

  • Painted tongue

  • Crepe myrtle

  • Chocolate dahlia

  • Black tomato vine

  • Cosmos

  • Painted tongue

  • Angelica stricta ‘Purpurea’

  • Crepe myrtle

Steps:

  • 1

    Place the floral frog inside your vessel and secure with floral putty. Begin with the tomato vines, as they are the heaviest elements of this arrangement and should be well secured in the floral pin frog.

    kiana underwood summer black floral arrangement step 1
  • 2

    Add the crepe myrtle.

  • 3

    Add the ‘Purpurea’.

    kiana underwood summer black floral arrangement step 2
  • 4

    Place the dahlias throughout the arrangement, including buds for texture and variety. Stop here for a beautifully simple arrangement.

  • 5

    To continue: Add the painted tongue.

    kiana underwood summer black floral arrangement step 3
  • 6

    Add the cosmos for more complexity and shape.