Not everyone has the time or desire to trek to the NY Flower Market to shop for the freshest of blooms – and that’s OK! The beauty about New York is that it is a city of convenience; you can have your laundry/dry cleaning picked up, food delivered at any hour and, well, bodegas in every street corner.

Most bodegas sell flowers, but to even an untrained eye, they look generic, wilted and sad. (And, not to forget, bizarre – who know that there is a bright blue NY daisy variety?!) But, for convenience sake, we buy them anyways, hoping they survive a few days, bringing happiness and warmth to the home.

I’ve been guilty of shopping for ‘fresh’ blooms at bodegas more that I care to admit, so I’ve mastered the art of shopping for the freshest and creating arrangements that look far from a street corner pickup. Here’s how:


Don’t buy damaged flowers or those that look too open. If you want to buy roses where half of each dozen looks perfect but the other looks shabby, don’t be shy to ask the florist to combine the best of the two bunches. Flowers that are too open (tulips have this problem) mean that their at the end of their lives, so try and look for ones that are small and who’s buds are still tight. They will last longer.


Don’t spend money on filler flowers and leaves – they are already costly (think $7 for three sprigs of green). Fillers scream BODEGA so steer clear of them! If you want to add green, you can use the foliage that comes with the flowers or you can add some accents of eucalyptus.


Start a relationship with your bodega florist – you’re probably going to buy more flowers from him in the future, for convenience-sake, right?! Tell the florist what you’re trying to create, for what occasion and what you’re looking for. Ask him what the freshest flowers are, which ones he’s received that day, and which ones last the longest. If you’re nice, you may even be able to haggle a few dollars off your buy!


I find the cheesiest arrangements tend to be more colorful a pack of Skittles – so I like to stick with a specific color pallet and make the composition interesting by using different textures and sizes, all in the same general hue. You can add accents of green or even some thistles, as I’ve done, by try and keep the arrangement fairly monochromatic. This does not read boring at all, but highly sophisticated!


No, I’m not Frederik Fekkai talking about a haircut… Make sure to give your flowers a good trim before putting them into a clean vase. A florist trick is to elevate a generic glass vase by putting pebbles or a large aspidistra green to conceal the web of stems.

Give this a whirl and shop at your nearest bodega. With these tips, I promise you’ll create something beautiful and individual!