A group of Ateaze Senior Center members are getting hooked on floral design, winning an award for their wreath design just a few months after starting their new hobby.

“It’s amazing how you can just take just five flowers, and make something out of them,” Susan Karasinski, a student in the senior center’s new floral design class, said while making a Christmas arrangement this month.

Before the 18-week class, she would just put her flowers in a vase and call it a day. But after learning the tricks of the trade from Susan Alpigini, who teaches the new course and has been practicing floral design for about 37 years, Karasinski has been able to take home the different floral designs she makes every week.

The class “seems like it’s really flourished” during its trial run this year, Alpigini said. Not only have the classmates bonded through helping each other with floral arrangements over the past few months, but they have come close to professional-level crafting.

“There’s a lot of talent in this building” which can be used in crafting activities, Alpigini said. A few of the floral design students also participate in the center’s art and ceramics groups, and were pulled in by their classmates in those classes.

The floral design class recently made a Christmas wreath together to donate to the Kenny Krieger Institute’s annual Festival of Trees event, as Alpigini wanted to “see how well they could compete and work as a team.”

The wreath sold for $75, and won a second place “Best in Show” award for floral design.

“At this point they’re not students, they’re designers,” Alpigini said, about 14 weeks into the 18-week course, which starts with a session on how to start designing, and works the students up through vases and baskets to simple arrangements and sympathy flowers. The students also send text messages to Alpigini in their off time with ideas that they want to try, giving them an opportunity to find their niche in the flower world.

“So far, I haven’t left with anything ugly,” Karasinski said, owing the group’s success to Alpigini. “So, I believe her.”