Floral Design Tips
by Mary jo Mather
· Urns, pots, baskets, tureens, tulipiers, etc.
· Vases: glass, crystal, porcelain, pottery, etc.
· Any container you’ve already received flowers in!
· Food containers: wine bottles, canned goods cans, olive oil canisters from restaurant garbage!
· Fruit, vegetables: think pumpkins, gourds, eggplants, apples.
· Medical suppliers: test tubes, beakers, etc.
· Hardware store: zinc pails, paint buckets and cans, plumbing supplies, copper tubing, ductwork…
Serves 2 purposes:
l. Must be suitable to physically support floral materials
2. Must support method of supplying water, either free-
standing water, or soaked Oasis©.
TYPES OF MECHANICS
· Oasis©: If given the choice, use standard versus instant.
Time saved in soaking is not that significant, and standard is more sturdy, and less likely to crumble.
NOTE: OASIS© CAN NEVER BE RE-USED!!!
· Mechanics made for the Floral Industry Containing OASIS©: cages, bouquet holders, hanging cages, raquettes (can be used for mantel displays AND tables), candle adapters.
· Mechanics made of glass/metal/ceramic.
3. Chicken wire, spool wire
BE AWARE THAT METAL REACTION IN WATER MAY SHORTEN THE LIFE OF FLORAL MATERIALS.
· Grid-Style Mechanics Method: A grid can be made over the container opening with:
1. Green sticky floral tape (1/4” or ½)
2. Clear floral tape for use on clear glass or transparent containers.
3. Any material that you want to use in a grid as an obvious design element, i.e. ribbon, twine, colored wire, raffia, shoelaces, leather, bamboo, etc.
III. FLORAL MATERIALS
Sources: your garden, your neighbor’s garden!!, grocery
store, warehouse clubs, floral wholesaler.
Sources: as above: magnolia leaves, pods and blooms,
skip laurel, oak and maple branches, fruit tree branches,
ornamental grasses, i.e. liriope.
Vegetables and Fruits
REMEMBER THAT FLOWERS, GREENS, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES CAN BE INTERESTING IN ALL STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: for example, red twig dogwood, devoid of leaves in Winter, raspberry or blueberry branches with un-ripened berries, leathery, crispy oak leaf branches, with or without acorns attached, smoke bush or copper beech, maple or dogwood in any season, star magnolia branches in early Winter and Spring with formed buds.
IV. DESIGN STYLES
There are three very broad design categories:
· Chinese and Japanese
V. GENERAL FLORAL DESIGN TIPS
· Condition materials appropriately. BE AWARE THAT FLOWERS LAST THE LONGEST IN WATER.
· If using Oasis©, soak correctly: float block on water, and let absorption occur WITHOUT TOUCHING, until block rests on the bottom of basin.
· Use floral preservative packets in conditioning water, Oasis© soaking water, and water used for replenishment.
VI. DESIGN TIPS
Choice of container:
· Choose a container to suit and link to site.
· Traditional container for tradition décor, ETC.
· Container to enhance and complement table top décor
· Container appropriate to a theme.
· Relate scale of container to size of room or site.
Relate floral materials to container:
· Provide a transition. This is especially true when using a white or black container, a metal container (zinc, copper, silver, etc.)
· If using a patterned or colored container, floral materials must relate color-wise to the container.
· When using a clear glass container, the beauty of the stems in the water, and their magnification can provide an added element to the total design effect.
· If NOT creating an arrangement with one type of flower, vary shapes, textures, and weight of materials for interest.
· Allow space between flowers to allow for further blooming, closing of some types of blossoms in darkness (anemones), growth of stems (tulips).
· Allow space for a butterfly to move around flowers. NEGATIVE SPACE IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS FILLED SPACE.
· APPRECIATE FLOWERS IN THEIR NATURAL STATE: i.e. let vines drape, allow for natural “lean”, leave tall stems long (agapanthus, allium, fritellaria, amaryllis).
· If mechanics are NOT meant to be a design element, they MUST be obscured by foliage or floral material!
· Floral shears or snips that you find comfortable to use (regular scissors mash stems, while floral shears are designed to cut without crushing).
· Floral or kitchen paring knife
· Heavy duty pruners
· Baster and watering can with a long, thin spout
· Floral spool wire
· Floral green sticky tape
· Plastic bucket
Above all, have fun!