Carnations? (Yeah, Carnations!)

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Carnations aren’t usually my first choice, but lately they’ve been my go-to flower. They’re SO cheap!! And they can be so pretty when they’re bunched together in the right way. The trick is all in how you cut the stems!
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I got three bunches of pink carnations for just $12 at my local grocery store (Fry’s Marketplace always has a ton of great options). Can’t beat that, especially considering they last for several weeks!
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You’ll want to use a bowl that has a wide mouth and is only about 5-8″ tall. And definitely use the floral preservative too!
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Here’s the secret to getting carnations to look like a more expensive flower: Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut off one individual bloom at a time, right at the base of the stem. If you just cut down the main stem and leave the blooms so staggered and far away from each other, they’ll always just look like lame carnations. Cutting them down individually and bunching them up tricks the eye!

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Once you’ve cut them down, make a big pile of the blooms.

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Bunch them together with all of the petals right up next to each other. And then trim the stems so that everything is the same length (whatever length works best with your vase).

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You’ll be left with big bunches of blooms that end up looking more like peonies and less like straggly carnations!

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Once you have them all bunched in your vase, just fluff up the flowers that have sunk down. I also like to pull out some of the little green buds. I think they help to break things up.

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Pretty, right? If I change the water every few days, I can get these carnations to last two or three weeks! Do you have any good tips for getting grocery store flowers to stay fresh? (PS Here’s another one of my favorite grocery store flower tips!)
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  1. Oh yes, I always love carnations! They're so bright, they last forever, and they're perfect any-occasion bouquets. Yours look beautiful!

  2. Thanks for the tips as always, Jenny! I have a question about the last pic of your office: where did you get the giant planter with the hairpin legs? Or is that a DIY? I've scoured your archives but can't find anything about it, but I've got some large plants I'd love to get off the floor and closer to some higher-placed windows in my home.

    Thanks again!

    • JACKIE

      Look up Eric Trine. He makes plant stands of all sizes just like that, and I think he recently collaborated with West Elm. Plus, if you follow him on Instagram he posts a video of himself dancing every Friday ????

  3. Emily

    You have changed my mind about carnations!
    My tip for keeping flowers fresher longer ….if you can fit it in your fridge, do this every night and remove each morning.

  4. I just want to stare at your super awesome office! Love the sofa, the chairs, the rugs….the planter and oh, yeah….the carnations!!!!

    Instagram: michellebostonsheehan or east_tugalo_design

  5. Nicole

    Every once in a while I love a good bouquet of carnations, they are just so cheery and it doesn't hurt that they are cheap! Really starting to like this room now that the color palatte is a bit more editted, it looks so much more high end collected and less thrift store.

  6. I always loved them. They remind me of my grandpa who gives them to my grandma for special occasions.

  7. Thank you for redeeming the carnation! I've always thought the flowers themselves were beautiful, but in a bunch as they come weren't fab, so your tip is spot on!

  8. This is priceless information!! It's amazing how arranging them that way gives them such a different look!! Love it!

  9. Amazing!! I never would have thought of doing it this way. I love the look of fresh flowers, but the cost is usually prohibitive. Not anymore! Thank you thank you!!
    Jen Pollard
    Park Place Designs
    http://www.parkplacedesigns.net

  10. Pale pink carnations have always been my favorite flower to have at home. Cheap and pretty. :)

  11. I've always loved this filler flower. Is that so wrong? ;)

  12. Jess

    Do you use all the floral preservative in the first bowl of water? Or, since you change out the water so much, do you save it and add a little each day? Beautiful!

  13. Hey Jenny–This picture begs the questions: "How are those floors holding up?" "Do you like them?"

  14. Jenny:

    Did you recover those chairs in the green floral fabric yourself? I died when I saw the fabric because I bought some pillows at a Round Top Flea Market years ago and they were in that same green floral but I've never seen anymore of it since. Let me know. They are so dang cute!

  15. The plant stand is from West Elm. I bought mine at a local outlet for $20 and picked up a planter that fit the stand just at Home Depot and sprayed it white. Cheap and easy! Room and Board sells some great looking bullet style planters too though!

    Karen – I posted about the chairs a couple weeks ago. They were floor samples from Barneys department store that I got off Craigslist. It was the find of the century for me!! My design assistant found them and I will be eternally grateful to her! :) Not sure about the fabric maker!

    xo

  16. Hello
    I am sure you have been asked before but was striped fabric purchased here locally? Is it good with sticky lil girl hands?
    Thanks

  17. also look for putomayo carnations – they are a bit bigger than the standard ones! used a bunch in between white roses for my wedding.

  18. That space is just so so good. How are the floors holding up? I'm curious whether you'd recommend the same application for the ceiling? I'll definitely be picking up some carnations next trip to the store!

  19. Beth

    If you don't mind, the marble tray on your kitchen counter, where is it from? thank you!
    -beth

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