If you happen to find yourself at O’Hare airport at 4:30 on a given morning, you may run into Barrington Flower Shop owner, Glen Egeland. “Growers overseas have experienced staffing problems this past year due to COVID-19, so now certain flowers only come in on certain days,” says Egeland who has been in the flower business since he was 8 years old. In 1919, his family opened their flower business in downtown Chicago where Egeland pitched in after school. His natural eye and talent for floral designing drew the attention of his Uncle who took him under his tutelage and began to foster his potential. For the past 32 years, Egeland’s flower shop has been in Barrington at the same location on Cook Street, where you can find him most days.
The former College of DuPage floral design teacher hosts a weekly “Wine and Design” class at his local flower shop, “Bring your own wine to enjoy while learning and making a flower arrangement,” says Egeland.
Egeland is noticing that popular spring flowers this May are tulips, hydrangeas, irises, and forsythias. “Monochromatic arrangements are coming back into style, which I love on a long table,” says Egeland. “With vibrant colors being welcomed this spring such as green, chartreuse, and orange.” In lieu of one arrangement in the center, embrace the monochromatic trend by having “glass cubes filled with flowers all in one color down the center of a long table,” says Egeland. “The purpose of the gathering dictates the floral arrangements. For a laid-back, informal vibe an arrangement of all the same flower works best, like a beautiful white ranunculus.
For a more formal event, mix up the flower types in each vase— still sticking to one color in each vase.”
“Green is the most popular color so far this spring, but that does not include dark green—only different shades of light green,” says Egeland. “The second most in demand color this spring is purple or lavender, with the ever-popular white coming in third.”
Aysel Cristian Floral Atelier’s lead designer and owner, Camille Cristian’s minimalistic, sustainable, and unique designs were on display at Hannah Orr and Alex Klass’ wedding this past spring held on the grounds of Klass’ family home in Barrington. “To create an equally beautiful tablescape at home with flowers sourced from your local flower shop, or grocery store, start with knowing what occasion you are buying for—a dinner party or a holiday,” says Cristian, “and decide ahead of time where the flowers are going to be placed.” Carefully inspect the flowers before snapping them up—make sure the blooms are not bruised and the stems are damage free. “I always flip the stems upside down and look at the cut—if it is blackish the flowers were not given a fresh cut, possibly shortening their vase life,” shares Cristian.
To add interest to the monochromatic spring floral trend, “choose two complimentary colors. Tulips, hydrangeas, gerberas, or roses all make for a great selection,” says Cristian, who also sees green as a top color this spring. “For greens, I love eucalyptus, ruscus and sometimes branches, such as forsythia.”
Don’t let thoughts of needing specific flower arranging tools hold you back from trying to make an arrangement at home. “All you need,” says Cristian, “are garden shears, a knife, chicken wire, floral tape, and a vessel.” But where to find chicken wire? “At the hardware store,” says Cristian. “Cut a piece, make it into a ball to serve as the armature, and place it in the container before adding water.” Alternatively, use floral tape instead “to create a gird, securing the ends by going around them with tape. Add flower preservative to the water (if you have it),” shares Cristian. And to allow for more water intake “always first cut the stems on an angle.”
Before beginning designing the arrangement, “remove all foliage that would sit below the water level—leaves in the water turn it murky, shortening the vase life for flowers,” says Cristian. She also shares that for roses, its best to remove all the guard and damaged petals.
To create depth, Cristian always alternates the stem height, placing heavy foliage (such as eucalyptus or fern) in the vase first before adding flowers. Once ready to start arranging, Cristian says to “place the mass flowers (those with a bigger head, such as hydrangea or gerbera) close to the lip of the vase to aesthetically balance the arrangement, keeping the small head flowers higher so they don’t get lost in the arrangement.” This creates an “S” shape arrangement—with one side spilling over the lip of the vase and the other side higher. “I believe gradating colors of flowers works better and is visually more pleasing than the polka dot way of designing. And I love the color palettes of white, cream, and blush; rust, coral, red, and cream; and blue, yellow, and cream.”
Alternatively, both the Barrington Flower Shop and Aysel Cristian offer flower subscription services for weekly home delivery and are just a phone call away for any special arrangement needed to elevate a tablescape.
For more information, visit Barrington Flower Shop, 201 South Cook Street, Barrington, barringtonflowershop.com, 800-382-4090; visit ayselcristianfloralatelier.com to learn about Cristian’s online flower arranging tutorial classes.
TABLESCAPE FOR NEW SPRING FLORALS