As a supermodel, Frederique van der Wal has shared her natural beauty with the world's top magazines and brands, from Vogue to Victoria's Secret, but now she's paying homage to one of Mother Nature's most prized beauties, flowers. When her native Holland named a lily after her, the passionate floral entrepreneur turned the honor into a blooming business, Frederique's Choice, and a new TV show called Homegrown Makeover. In the hit series, Frederique joins designer and eco-living expert Carter Oosterhouse to show people how they can enhance their greenery-deprived living spaces with flower and plant solutions, crafting unique, custom-designed arrangements that bring their homes back to life. We asked the top florist to share her secrets to crafting the perfect arrangement, tips and tricks for keeping them alive, and how flowers make a healthy home. Scroll down to read Frederique's busy girl's guide to flower arranging.
>MYDOMAINE: How can flowers and greenery influence our health, happiness, and well-being?
>Frederique van der Wal: Having greenery and nature indoors definitely has a calming effect on us. Think of the last time you walked through a park or took a stroll along the beach. These experiences help to make us feel Zen and relaxed. That’s a proven fact. Nature has a wonderful effect on our being. Having flowers and plants inside your home can elevate your mood, heal, and soothe. There are many scientists who back up the notion that the presence of flowers in your environment can provide all sorts of positive health benefits, both mental and physical.
>In our bouquets, I like to use eucalyptus, which detoxifies the air; English ivy or peace lily are also great for this. We all need to find more ways to unplug. It is vital to our mental and physical well-being. Connecting to nature does that, not to mention your house really comes alive when you have flowers and plants in it.
>MD: Can you share some simple flower and plant solutions to cheer up greenery-deprived living spaces?
>FW: Firstly, make sure you try flowers consistently in your living space for at least a few months, just to see how they feel. Once you get a bouquet of flowers, find a few nice bottles or any other cool vessels that can hold flowers, and be creative. Take a few stems out of the bouquets and place the bottle with one stem in your bathroom or bedroom, or anywhere in the house that could use some brightening up.
Make sure you cut the stems of the flowers diagonally (that helps them to get the most water possible) and freshen the water after two or three days for the longevity of your flowers. Or get a few plants, like the aforementioned peace lily, and see how it changes and enhances your space. I love trees, too, like a ficus, which is not very difficult to care for and grows in a lot of different environments.
MD: What are your foolproof tips for creating a simple floral arrangement that looks good all the time?
FW: The Dutch way is to bind bouquets spirally so that you always have a beautiful presentation. If you decide to buy a variety of flowers, make sure to unpack them, find the right vase, and cut the stems diagonally and place your flowers one by one in the vase. Sometimes depending on the flowers, if they are different kinds of flowers, you could cut them in different lengths. Or, say you have three stems of lilies; just a simple tall glass vase with the lilies does the trick. Don’t add anything; just keep it simple yet wonderfully chic.
>MD: What are your secret tricks for keeping flowers alive longer?
FW: I can’t urge people enough to always cut the stems of your flowers diagonally (cut off about three inches) the minute your flowers arrive home. This will make it much easier for the flowers to absorb the water and stay fresh. Make sure your vase is clean, add water (not too cold), and if you have flower food, add that. When you place your flowers, avoid putting them in direct sunlight. If a bit of sun hits your bouquet during the day, that’s fine, but constant sunlight is no good. Don’t place your flowers where there is a draft.
>In the winter, be careful not to place your flowers too close to a heater or the heat source in any room. Change the water in the flowers after two or three days, and then again after about five or six days. Take out the wilting flowers and rearrange what is left. That way you can get a lot more from each bouquet and make your flowers last.
MD: How can busy women incorporate more greenery into their homes without taking up too much of their time to care for it?
FW: As a busy woman and mom myself (and a person who really benefits and loves having flowers around all the time), this is one of the reasons I offer a subscription model, as well as just sending out single bouquets. They arrive every other week, all you have to do is cut them and add water. Each bouquet arrives with a vase to make sure you can do this quickly and have more time to play around with it.
>Once you have some flowers and plants in the house, it becomes a ritual of giving water and reorganizing bouquets. I can tell you that just giving a little bit of care to flowers can bring a sense of peace into your daily life. We are all busy, but it’s important to introduce the happy and healthy qualities of flowers into your environment. Every woman can think of it as a tiny bit of “me” time with lots of benefits. Flowers really make you feel good.
>MD: What are your favorite flowers for encouraging the below emotions in a space?
>Tranquility and Calm: Use blue and purple colors in your flower choice; just the color will have a calming effect.
>Happiness: Any flowers, all flowers make you happy. It’s been proven that flowers have a great effect on us.
>Health and Well-Being: Having flowers and plants around creates a healthier environment by connecting us to nature, even if we live in the middle of a big city.
>Relaxation: Having a mix of flowers and plants is great for improving the air quality in your home; it changes it immediately. I also love white bouquets because they are so pure and chic and give a sense of serenity.
>After reading this, you're probably ready to experiment with your own floral arrangement. Shop some of our favorite vases below to get started.
What are your tips for arranging flowers? Do you have any tricks for keeping them alive? Share them below.