Flower Blog

Design magic – fresher hand-tied bouquets

Brides often wish for the natural look of a hand-tied bouquet with the flower freshness of a water-filled bouquet holder. With a little design magic, we can have both.                                                                                              
      Using a little imagination, OASIS® Wedding Belle® Bouquet Holder handles can be covered with a decorative treatment of stems. This inventive technique hides the mechanics of the bouquet to create the illusion of a hand-tied. In this photo, excess stems cut from the flowers of the bouquet are glued securely onto the handle treatment to create the look of a natural handle.                                                                                                     


Start with the basics

Decorate the handle of a foam-based holder while the foam is dry. Next, place the face of the foam into a shallow bowl of water only deep enough to soak just the foam.

Then, remove the holder and place it with the foam side down on a paper towel to drain before inserting flowers. This will prevent water damage to the decorative holder. 


Add ‘Tricks of the Trade’
  • Even up the narrow, tapered handle to a more uniform size by adding padding to create a straight and widened form. Pad the holder with sheets of plastic, batting or layers of OASIS® Double-Faced Tape.
  • Cover the padded treatment with OASIS® Floral Adhesive, OASIS Double-Faced Tape or UGLU™ Adhesive Strips to adhere materials to it.
  • Create a faux handle of stems. Remove all foliages from stems. Cut stems all the same length. Place stems side by side, pressing each into the adhesive.
  • Add a decorative band encircling the stems that binds the materials more securely. Attach with an adhesive. For decorative choices think Decorative Wire, Raw Muslin ribbon, fabric or fresh                         foliages, etc.

Wedding Belle® Bouquet Holders


Personalize your bouquets 

Create your own design magic. With a little sleight of hand a bouquet can have the finished look of a hand-tied bouquet with the freshness of flowers in a water source.

Have fun experimenting with clever decorative materials to create intriguing looks for ‘real’ handles on your faux hand-tied bouquets.



Sharon McGukin

Sharon McGukin                                                                                                  sharonmcgukin.com

Questions? Ask us. We can help you find design solutions.

Sign up for more tips at Oasis Idea Weekly at http://oasisfloralproducts.com




Add seasonal vibe to wedding cakes

In search of decorative wedding cake ideas?                                                                                
Fresh flowers are a popular choice for wedding cake décor. You can add a natural vibe with seasonal color and texture. The rich colors of autumn make an especially beautiful backdrop.
Working with a cake baker and florist?                                                                                              
Ask your baker for a photo or diagram of the cake you have selected. This helps your florist calculate the volume and price of the flowers needed to decorate the cake. Have your florist and cake baker exchange contact information. As a precaution, ask specifically for cell phone numbers in case of a cake emergency. Ask them to schedule in advance a meeting for on site floral decorating of the cake or agree on a plan for how cake decorations will be added.
Extra icing, please!                                                                                                                         
One decorating technique that works well is to have the cake baker place mounds of icing in the areas where the flowers stems will be inserted. The icing acts as the design mechanic that holds the flowers in place. The stems won’t touch the edible parts of the cake. Prior to cutting and serving the cake, a cake server can be used to remove the flowers and icing to a plate nearby.
Add unexpected details
Add highlights of seasonal color and texture with surprising decorative accessories. Wire and rattan are eye-catching elements that are fun to experiment with OASISFlat Wire and OASIS Midollino Sticks are two great products that are easy to design with when accessorizing cakes. They can also be easily removed when it’s time to cut the cake.
Other installation options
  • The florist can mark the spots for the placement of icing mounds on the cake diagram.
  • The cake baker and florist can meet on-site to install and decorate the cake together.
  • The baker can leave a tube of icing for the florist to place the mounds as they design.

Placing cakes outdoors
Special consideration must be given when placing cakes outdoors or in extreme hot or cold areas.

  • Check the cake site in advance at the wedding time of day on several occasions. Be sure there isn’t a hot spot there from bright sunlight.
  • Shield the cake from direct sunlight, heat, wind and rain.
  • Make sure the table supporting the cake has a firm foundation and won’t turn over.
  • Create a plan for keeping insects and house pets away from your wedding cake.
  • Have an alternative plan for moving the cake indoors in the event of inclement weather.
  • Place needed serving items such as utility table, serving utensils, plates, etc. out of the cake display sightline but within reach for easy serving.
Use flowers of the season
Flowers of the season are more accustomed to seasonal outdoor temperatures than hothouse flowers of another season. You may save money using readily seasonal flowers versus out-of-season flowers shipped from another climate. As a bonus, seasonal flower colors are typically more complimentary to the season’s wedding fashion colors as well.
Floral design questions? Let us know. We can help you find solutions.
Sharon McGukin
Want more tips like these delivered to your email inbox?                                                                 
Sign up for Oasis Idea Weekly at http://oasisfloralproducts.com

4 Tips for Wedding Pew Markers

One way to make your most honored guests feel special on your wedding day is by making sure the people most important to you are seated in the front giving them a good view of the ceremony.
                                                                                                                                               Pew or aisle markers are just what they say they are – a way of marking the pew, bench, chair, aisle or even a hay bale (okay, so I live in Georgia!) as reserved seating for your guests of honor.
                                                                                                                                              How many pews should you reserve?
Mark the first five to ten rows of seating as reserved for your parents, grandparents, immediate family and honored guests. Try using ribbons, tassels, bows, flowers or greenery in your designs. Candlelight can be added to the decorations as well.
                                                                                                                                                  For limited honor seating, you can make a list of names for the ushers and introduce the honorees to them in advance so they know whom they will be seating in each seat. If creating a larger reserved seating area, place small ‘between the ribbons’ cards in the invitations of guests selected to sit in these pews of honor. The guest then presents their card to the usher who will escort them to this area.
                                                                                                                                               Four suggestions:  
  • Place a special aisle candle at the seat of the deceased parent or grandparent in their memory. You may choose to mention this detail in the wedding program.
  • Arrange flowers, branches, candles, photos, seashells or handcrafted items and place on the floor next to seating areas, hang them from the seats or affix them to free-standing stanchions that border the aisle.
  • Layer flower petals, piles of Fall leaves or drifts of faux snow massed along the side of the aisle to lend the natural color and texture of a seasonal wedding.
  • Create a window box effect for an outdoor wedding by alternating short rectangular containers on the ground alongside the chairs and fill them with flowers preserved and supported in OASIS Floral foam. Or, use appropriate lengths of OASIS Raquettes as the flower base to create a pathway of flowers.          


Remember …
The aisle leads to the altar, so the décor chosen to mark the seating should continue the style, color harmony and variety of flowers used for altar decorations.
A word of caution
Most facilities have strict rules about how decorative materials can and cannot be affixed to furnishings.
Several OASIS products can help. The shape and size of the pew or chair will guide you in which decorative style and product works best.
                                                             Leave no residue
Oasis BIND-IT Tape is great for this purpose. Clear BIND-IT is hardly noticeable, adheres to itself and leaves no residue on the decorated area.
Keep décor weight in mind as you design. Attach Bind-It to your design and wrap it around the decorative top rail of the pew. Overlap the tape to create the self-fusing, watertight seal that holds the design in place. Clip the tape with clippers to quickly remove after the ceremony.                                    
                                                                                                                                              Design, deliver, clip and unclip!
Another possibility is the LOMEY Pew Holder. This plastic clip expands to securely attach over the end of a pew or chair. The foam-filled cage acts as a water source and design mechanic for your flower arrangement. Your pew decoration is easy to deliver, clips into place quickly and removes just as easily. This saves you time and money.
Sharon McGukin
Enjoy experimenting with different pew marker styles and products to find your favorite.
                                                                                        More questions?                                                                  Let us know. We can help you find design solutions.
Sharon McGukin
Want more tips like these                                             delivered to your email inbox?                                                                 
Sign up for Oasis Idea Weekly at http://oasisfloralproducts.com


Tears on a wedding day shouldn’t be for the bouquet!


I love weddings.

Sadly, as every florist knows and some brides learn, these events can be rough on fresh flower bouquets. We’ve all heard of bridal bouquets that have been mistakenly stored in a freezer, left in the sun, forgotten in a car, dropped on the floor or worse.

 It isn’t pretty to watch ‘things fall apart’ for a bride on her wedding day.


  • Her bouquet gets a hard bump and the flowers fall out in a trail of petals down the aisle…
  • Her dancing bridesmaid showers the dance floor with loose stems of flowers…
  • The bride tosses her bouquet to guests as she departs and it comes apart midair in a mass of flying stems… (You hope that photo or video doesn’t go viral!)

Help take the stress away                                    

Wedding bouquet designs such as cascades, crescents, and nosegays can have lots of flower stems inserted into foam-filled bouquet holders. If a heavy and flower-filled design is handled carelessly, the ability of the foam to hold all those flowers can be easily compromised.

A great way to help your bouquets ‘hold it together’ on that all-important day is by gluing internally.

FLORALOCK™ Plus Stem Adhesive                                                                                                 


Secure bouquet flowers in place with Floralock.

FLORALOCK is a spray adhesive that helps to securely hold flowers in place in fresh or dry foams. It will help prevent your bridal bouquet falling apart in the fun-filled activity of a hectic wedding day.

This lightweight spray adhesive should only be used on finished designs. The foam will absorb the adhesive and harden on it’s outside surface, making it impossible to remove or add flower stems.

How to lock in your flowers 

  • Shake FLORALOCK can to insure a smooth even flow through the tube
  • Insert red tube firmly into nozzle so adhesive goes directly into foam
  • Place the red tube between the flowers and into the foam
  • Spray in short bursts so the foam has time to absorb the adhesive
  • Apply in multiple places around the foam to be sure all flowers are secure
  • Don’t over-saturate foam with Floralock or it can leak back out 
  • Wash the tube with hot, soapy water to keep the glue from clogging it
  • Tape the tube back to the side of the can for it’s next use

Need help securing other finished wedding designs that have to endure awkward transportation, placement, or weather issues? Spray adhesive like FLORALOCK can help you ‘hold it together’!

“Have fun celebrating your life with flowers!”

Sharon McGukin



Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI     (Mc Gook in)                                                                        is a nationally known floral expert and Smithers-Oasis Design Director.

Sharon enjoys sharing floral design tips, trends, and techniques with audiences.                               For more design ideas visit her blog – http://www.sharonmcgukin.com

Sign up for tips at Oasis Idea Weekly at http://oasisfloralproducts.com.

www.sharonmcgukin.com   www.sharonmcgukin.com


What design tips and ideas would you like to read about?





Visit Vizcaya … a historical Miami villa



We were visiting Vizcaya. Our taxi turned off a busy Miami highway, near Coconut Grove, onto a quiet, cool, shady lane. We gazed into overgrown foliages lining either side of the winding, graveled road. Sun-bleached and moss laden stone statuary, standing within the native woodland landscape, witnessed the car’s arrival. Our driver said softly “This reminds me of my old country. Haiti.” He was right. It did seem as though we were entering a place from long ago or faraway.




Vizcaya opened in 1916, as the winter estate of American businessman James Deering. This Renaissance Italian villa was built from the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune. Architects Paul Chalfin, Diego Suarez and Burrall Hoffman brought Deering’s vision to life. The estate was opened to the public in the 1930’s.


www.sharonmcgukin.com www.sharonmcgukin.com www.sharonmcgukin.com


Expansive bay-front gardens, lawn pools, gazebo and a ship-like water platform tied the well-manicured grounds to the breathtaking natural views of Biscayne Bay.

The house was built around a central, sunlit courtyard. Elegant orchids growing there reflect the timeless beauty one feels when experiencing Vizcaya’s intricate architectural detail.  


www.sharonmcgukin.com    www.sharonmcgukin.com    www.sharonmcgukin.com


Except for the light-filled courtyard, the ornate interior is somewhat dark and heavy. To escape into the light, one can wander down the back stone steps and into a sun kissed European-inspired garden. 


www.sharonmcgukin.com     www.sharonmcgukin.com         


As one looks back for a garden view of the anachronistic house, a glimpse of the modern skyline of Miami can be seen. The juxtaposition of old and new lifestyles comes to mind. Vizcaya was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1994.


www.sharonmcgukin.com www.sharonmcgukin.com


Terraces, garden gates, and flights of stone stairs help a visitor to meander through a variety of gardens to rest amongst the well-placed statuary, fountains and pools.



www.sharonmcgukin.com  www.sharonmcgukin.com


A short walk down the back steps of the villa leads one into a peaceful tree-lined formal English garden. Shallow pools, vine covered gazebos, and time worn statuary graced multiple tiers of shady resting places.


www.sharonmcgukin.com  www.sharonmcgukin.com


Juxtaposed to the formal gardens lay informal stone covered walks guiding one up wrought-iron stairs passing grottos, and a rough-textured cactus garden along the way.


www.sharonmcgukin.com    We weren’t the only visitors of the day. Along with the tourists, a huge Iguana found a nice resting spot in the sun with a glorious view of Biscayne Bay.

Historic Vizcaya and its fourteen acres of spectacular subtropical setting, formal gardens, sculptures and grottos is a perfect location for a photo shoot, wedding or other elegant event. It’s also a great place to wander through the gardens and reflecting back to a time when life was well-lived in this impressive home.                                                                                                                                          


Have you visited Vizcaya or other historical estates? What do you love most about homes from this period of time?


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 South Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 250-9133


Sharon McGukin with orchids   Audiences enjoy this floral expert’s floral tips, trends & techniques.  Find more design tips, floral products, & ‘People, Places, & Petals’ blog @ sharonmcgukin.com.

Send Valentine’s Day flowers you love!



5 Top Tips for ordering great Valentine’s Day flowers


  1. Develop a good relationship with your local florist.

            A professional florist, who knows you personally, is more likely to know your floral preferences. They can customize the flowers you send (and receive) to exceed your expectations.

 As a bonus, there are less handling fees when working directly with your personal florist instead of third party transferred orders and that saves you money!


  1. Place your order at least 5 days in advance.

            Place your order at least 5 days in advance to give your florist time to order and receive your flowers fresh from their supplier. This results in less need for substitution and is especially important during the increased volume of holiday orders.

 Ask for your florist’s suggestion of seasonal flowers and colors that are perhaps more readily available and less expensive than out-of-season varieties.


  1. Ask if the flowers are arranged in a vase or loose stems in a box

            Some online companies cut the cost of a flower order by shipping cut stems in a box that the recipient must arrange. For some people this works, but be sure your recipient enjoys arranging flowers before sending boxed flowers to their home.

Ask if the flowers are vased or boxed. Order what your recipient will enjoy best. Remember, boxed flowers are usually inappropriate for funeral or hospital deliveries.



Hyacinths add fragrance to Spring.

  1. If ordering flowers online, keep an open mind about substitution

            Orders placed online with national companies are transferred (at an additional fee) to local florists for delivery. Florists are hardworking and service-oriented, but they can’t possibly keep on hand every flower and container shown by online vendors.

For less chance of being disappointed with online ordering – stick to simple, one color or one type of flower designs and, if necessary, be open-minded about flower and vase substitutions.


  1. Be original. Send flowers customized for your recipient.

         When sending flowers from your Florist, consider the recipient’s personal style and taste or your own Signature Style. Customize your flower order to reflect personal preferences.

Be considerate, don’t send heavily fragranced flowers to someone with allergies. Be a Rock Star – have them delivered to their workplace. People love for their co-workers to see them receiving flowers!


Which Valentine flowers do you love to send or receive?


www.sharonmcgukin.com  Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI (Mc Goo kin) is a nationally known floral expert who shares floral tips, trends, & techniques with audiences. Enjoy her design tips, floral products, and ‘People, Places, & Petals’ blog at http://www.sharonmcgukin.com.


10 Tips for Thanksgiving decorating.


Impress your family and friends, at the Thanksgiving meal, with your holiday centerpiece. The color and fragrance of fresh flowers on the table makes them feel like special guests. Allow the colorful foliages, textures and forms of the autumn season to inspire you.            As I wind up my curving driveway in the Fall, I always feel as though I am entering a live postcard. We can use … Read More >>>

Inspired by the Space


  Guests coming? To quickly add natural beauty to a room, simply add a few fresh flower faces to your favorite vases in special places. Enjoy impressing friends and family with your flower-savvy talents and celebrate life with flowers!    Follow these easy steps when arranging flowers for those special places in your home: Choose five eye-catching spaces –                                                  What are the special places in your home … Read More >>>

The Cascading Bridal bouquet returns as a wedding favorite


Cascading bouquets are back as the favorite floral design of trendy brides. After years of choosing the simple, easily duplicated ’round-moundy’ hand-tied bouquets, brides are realizing how gracefully cascading bouquets flow from a bride’s hand. A more sophisticated look; these designs add a touch of elegance against the background of their beautiful gowns.     When in comes to trends, whatever we have been doing – we decide to do the very opposite … Read More >>>

Daffodils or Jonquils? What is the difference?


Do you enjoy a springtime walk amidst sunny Daffodils …                                      or are those Jonquils?   Yes, I ‘m guilty, too.  I often use the names, daffodil and jonquil, interchangeably when referring to these happy-faced flowers of early spring.     As the first flowers to pop up beneath the brown branches of … Read More >>>