December 13, 2018

Look mom, no flowers: alternative bouquets for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, florists, grocery stores (and a few freeway onramps) will be swarmed with people buying flowers at prices jacked up for the occasion. But why give your mother — or wife or daughter — the same old bouquet year after year? She’s one of a kind. She deserves a bouquet that’s just as special.

My mother is, in fact, allergic to flowers, so I learned early to never give her a floral bouquet. I had to be creative. Here, then, are just a few ideas for flower-less bouquets that are easy to make, stylish, simple and sweet.

Artichoke and herb bouquet
This lush, fragrant bouquet is perfect for anyone who loves to cook. The artichoke resembles a large bloom, and the surrounding herbs are like wildflowers. This bouquet is also perfect as a housewarming or hostess gift. It’s even a bouquet guys will enjoy, so keep it in mind for Father’s Day.
• Purchase the artichokes from farmers markets, where their longer stems are usually intact.
• Arrange the herbs and artichoke in your hand, then tie them all together with string or a rubber band.
• Wrap the bouquet in butcher or tissue paper and tie a ribbon around it.
• Your mother can display the bouquet in a vase — after she gives you a big kiss.

Succulent bouquet
Succulents are currently enjoying a surge in popularity, and it’s no wonder. Their beauty rivals that of flowers, and the cuttings stay fresh for days — or even weeks. The succulents in this bouquet also can be replanted, so your mother can have a reminder of your thoughtfulness all year long.
• Use succulent cuttings or purchase new plants.
• The key to assembling this bouquet is to create “stems” for the succulents, as their existing stems will probably be too short.
• For succulents with thicker stems, insert a wood skewer in the stem and wrap with green floral tape, which is available in crafts stores.
• For succulents with thinner stems, insert floral wire through the base of the bloom and wrap the wire with floral tape to create a longer, thicker stem.
• The bouquet can be presented as is, or in a vase — no water needed.

Candy jar bouquet
As gorgeous as botanical bouquets may be, this candy jar arrangement is the one bouquet that’s guaranteed to make everyone smile. In fact, the whole family may be fighting over it. (Hint: Make an extra one for yourself.)
• Fill a mason jar with jelly beans or M&Ms.
• Using clear packing tape, attach wooden skewers to the backs of candy bars.
• Insert the skewers into the candy jar.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at