Getting Organized With … Ann Evans of Cypress Floral Design

Arranging flowers is one of my favorite aspects of entertaining at home, but there are many occasions when it is more appropriate to call in the pros. Lucky for Jacksonville, we have Ann Evans, owner of Cypress Floral Design. Ann is a beautiful person inside and out, and her flowers are equally stunning. I’ve worked with her on both personal and professional levels many times and she never fails to delight. In addition to designing numerous weddings throughout the South, Ann has created the floral designs for the Cummer Ball and the Art & Antiques Show. Knowing many people will be pulling out their vases during the next few weeks, I asked Ann to share her best organizing tips with us. Here she is:

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Ann with a selection of her vase collection

What are the few, key vases everyone should own?
I’ll start with the vases you should not own and then suggest ones that you should.  There are a few factors  that go into choosing a great vase. The most important  is whether or not it can be easily cleaned! If the mouth of a vase is the size of a quarter and the vase is over 12″ tall, it is almost impossible to clean. Additionally, I prefer translucent or opaque vessels over clear ones because the water typically turns before the flowers. Also make sure the vessel is water-tight—you don’t want any leaky vases. To answer your question, besides water-tight translucent or opaque vessels,  I think everyone should own a set of really beautiful silver mint julep cups. They are versatile and can be dotted around the house or placed collectively on a dining room table mixed with votive candles. They are traditional and classic, but they take on the life of whatever flowers you put in them—from soft hydrangeas with mixed greenery to edgier deep red roses. Same vessel, different look.

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shallow cabinets, perfect for storage vases

Do you have any tips for storing these delicate, sometimes bulky items?
You know that saying “if you can’t see it, it isn’t there”?—well, that’s how I feel about vase storage. I store my vases so that I can see nearly all of them at a glance. Some are stacked together with felt in between them for protection, but I know they are there. I also have a lot of stainless steel wire racks. I often suggest clients put these racks in their garages or utility closets for storing vases (as well as many other items). It is amazing how much they hold and everything remains visible. Another idea is to have a carpenter shorten the depth of a cabinet by putting a wood panel inside—this makes for shallow shelves and allows easy access to vases. Then you can put valuable or seasonal items behind the panel and out of the way.

In terms of vases or floral supplies, what do you see too much of in people’s home?
I see too many unused vases! If you never use it, take it to goodwill, recycle it or have a garage sale.

Are there any tools that really make life easier for you that we should consider using?
I just bought a pair of Corona snippers at Philips Garden Store and I love them! They are really tough and sharp but not bulky. They cut everything from woody hydrangea stems to soft tulips. I highly recommend them.

Ann Evans - floral 2a bridal bouquet by Ann Evans

How do you stay organized before really big events?
Lists! I have checklists for every event. Always typed and printed. I have terrible handwriting and creating lists on my phone or iPad doesn’t seem real to me. I list every piece and part of every floral creation and tablescape I design. Then I check off every supply and each completed design.

Ann Evans - floral 1table and flowers by Ann Evans

What are some simple tips for keeping more fresh flowers around the house?
Call me! Ha :) I love designing flowers for people whether it be on occasion or each week—but I completely understand if you see some beautiful blooms at the grocery store and want to brighten up your home. Go for it! Flowers are such a treat. Just be sure to give the stems a fresh cut and put them in water immediately.

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