On a recent walk around the neighborhood, we couldn't help but notice all the massive bird of paradise bushes studding the yards of Palolo. When passing by a bush brimming with flowers, we had to stop to offer our admiration and ask to snip a couple of stems. Throughout the year, bird of paradise leaves are a favorite for arrangements, so having a few of the flowers was a real treat!
We wanted to keep it simple, so we just snipped two stalks of big fresh flowers. With a vase already in mind, we kept the stems pretty short and made our way back home.
We happened to have a few older arrangements that were ready to get tossed, so we salvaged the leaves (they tend to last longer than the flowers), and picked a nice dracaena to go with our flowers. With simple arrangements, it's all about composition. Stagger the heights of your flowers to avoid symmetry and the awkward "bunny ear" look. With that in mind its hard to go wrong!
To keep your bird of paradise arrangement fresh make sure to use a clean vase (we use hydrogen peroxide as a safe cleaning agent), use flower food if you have it, change the water about every other day, and remove dead petal clusters (you can gently pull up fresh ones from the pointy flower base).
For more tips on foraging and arranging, check out our book, 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora, available for purchase on our website!
Photos and Story by Kenna Reed