|Want to create a natural, floral masterpiece? How about a gift basket of exquisite colours, plucked right out of your own garden? Perhaps you've already attempted to turn the odd bunch of flowers into an elegant floral arrangement. No matter how much you've tried, however, it still ends up looking like - a bunch of flowers. So, just what is the secret to artistic flower arranging?
The answer lies in following the basic principles of design as they relate to flower arranging. These are balance, contrast, proportion and harmony. Lets consider them one at a time.
Balance: All parts of the arrangement relate to one another. The design does not appear top heavy. Dark colours look heavier than light ones, so it is important not to have too many dark flowers at the top of an arrangement. Symmetrical balance can be obtained by placing similar flowers on each side of the vertical centre. It is often more desirable, however, to achieve asymmetrical balance, that is unequal distribution on either side of the centre., but with equal visual weight. This can produce a more casual look.
Contrast: Variety can be added to the arrangement by contrasting dark with light, rough with smooth, small with large. Repetition of a particular shape, or the combination of related colours creates a flowing line or rhythm which is aesthetically appealing.
Proportion: A generally accepted rule of proportion states that the arrangement should be one and a half times the size of its container. The setting of the arrangement must also be taken into account. The display area should not be too sparse or, on the opposite extreme, too cluttered for the arrangement to achieve its desired impact.
Harmony: All of the component parts of the arrangement should harmonise with each other. The Encyclopaedia describes it as " a happy appearance of being completely in tune" the flowers and foliage with each other and with the design: the colours harmonious and the container well selected for spirit, texture, shape and colour. A successful arrangement must also be in harmony with its surroundings.
Here are 5 additional tips to ensure your next arrangement is a success:
(1) For best results, pick the flowers a few hours before they are to be arranged.
(2) Cut the tips of the stems on an angle, put them in deep, lukewarm water and keep them in a dark, cool place until ready for use.
(3) To prevent bacterial decay, remove all foliage below the water line when you start on your arrangement.
(4) To keep flowers fresh for longer, place a lump of sugar or a spoonful of honey to each pint of water in your vase.
(5) Don't change the water daily, but keep the level constantly topped up.
So, why not try your hand at a little flower arranging? You may just discover that you have the right touch the touch that can transform a bunch of flowers into an eye-catching work of art.
I want to just tie the stems together, Can I?
Hand tied bouquets are very popular and all it means is that you literally make the bouquet in your hand and tie it with a ribbon. There are several advantages to this.
First you can keep the flowers in water until the last minute as the stems are exposed. Second, it is very easy and intuitive. If you don't like what you just made, starting over is very easy.
I want my flowers to be in a ball shape. Can I?
Use a bouquet holder (we carry them). When making your bouquets, put the first flower in the middle and set it at the height that you want your arrangement to be.
Then put the flowers on the sides as wide as you want the arrangement to be. Then add some filler and greens. You now see the basic shape. Then fill in the space with your 'main' flowers. Above all don't be intimidated!
What is "wiring" flowers and do I need to do it?
Wiring refers to two techniques. The first is where the wire substitutes as the stem. The natural stems are cut off and wires are inserted into the base of the flower, folded over to form a hairpin, and acts as an artificial stem. This is done so that you can have large bouquets yet a thin handle.
The disadvantages of doing this is that as the flowers have no water supply, the work must be done very last minute. The second technique that goes by the same name refers to wrapping a wire around the stem of flowers so that even if the flowers wilts, the wire will hold it up. It is not necessary however if you don't want to worry about anything the day of the wedding, it might be worth doing the outer flowers in a bouquet.
How do you make corsages and boutonnieres?
Corsages and boutonnieres are not difficult to make. Corsages are essentially multiple boutonnieres attached to each other. If you were making rose boutonnieres or corsages for example, you take florists wire and insert it through the green base of the rose. Bend the wire to form a hairpin.
Then wrap florists tape in a spiral down from the top. When the wire 'stem' is as long as you want it to be, cut it. If you want to add greenery or babies breath, then attach the sprig and tape it onto the wire stem. For boutonnieres wrap the end of the wire around a pencil to form a pigtail or cut it short. To make a 3 rose corsage, tape three boutonnieres (minus the pig tail) together.
Flower trends can come and go almost as fast as trends in the fashion world. Different "looks" go in and out of style. Particular colors get hot --while others just cool down. To find out what's new in floral and flower arranging trends, the Dutch are a good place to start.
More flowers come from --or pass through-- Holland than any other country in the world. Trends start in many pockets of the world --but the best ones tend to sweep the globe, says Mieke Stap, a floral design expert at the International Flower Bulb Center in Hillegom, the Netherlands, who stages international photo shoots year-round.
Following is Ms. Stap's list of top floral style trends to watch for during the spring-blooming season when bulb flowers such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, lilies, Star of Bethlehem (ornithagalum), Persian buttercups (ranunculus), and grape hyacinths (muscari) are at peak availability.
Single Colour Concepts - A hot trend in Europe and espoused here by such lifestyle arbiters as Martha Stewart: the monochromatic look achieves a special lushness by repeating one colour in mixes of all-the-same kind of flowers, or various types of flowers in closely-related hues. Arrangements are often densely packed with flowers.
Outside-In Arrangements - Here, both the stems and the flowers appear totally INSIDE clear vases so the flowers appear "under glass" as if in a jeweler's or museum case. The vase envelopes the flowers completely, with the flower tops aligned near the upper rim of the vase. Water is kept low, and topped off regularly.
Repeat Performances - This is a style designed to show off the singular shapes of particular flowers. Groups of identical containers are featured, each holding one perfect flower. How many containers? Anything goes --; more than three and as many as you choose. Continuity creates unity.
Low-Slung & Topsy-Turvy - With appealing results, trend-setting designers are choosing to flip-flop the traditional design formula of 1/3 vase topped by 2/3 stems and flowers. The new topsy-turvy look is bottom heavy, with the vase occupying the lower 2/3 of the arrangement, and the flowers just cresting over the top.
Unearthed for All to See - One fun trend in Europe now making its way "across the pond" (as some Europeans refer to our side of the Atlantic Ocean!), is to display spring-blooming bulb flowers such as tulips, hyacinths or amaryllis as complete units with the flower and stem still attached to the bulb and roots! The effect is reminiscent of historic botanical drawings.
The bulbs-and-flowers can be displayed inside a vase balanced among stones and moss (using the outside-in technique). Another design idea groups the bulb flowers standing upright in a small circle, with the stems tied just below the flowers. In either case, water is provided at the root level. To do this at home, purchase potted bulb plants, gently remove the pot, rinse off the soil and arrange.
A Different Twist - Designers with deft hands have adapted hand-tied bouquets, in which stems are carefully angled in a spiralling fashion, to create free-standing arrangements that stand on their stems in plates or bowls of water. While it appears that the flowers are standing upright without support, the water and tied stems provide just enough oomph to hold the flowers up.
Sticks & Stones - Adding structural elements from nature to floral arrangements is a continuing trend. The seashells of three years ago are waning, but sticks continue to fascinate. Fruits, berries and intriguing leaves of all sorts are favourite ways to augment flowers with character-building colour and texture.
Flowers can easily adopt multiple personalities. How we arrange them can be as simple as trimming the stems and dropping them into a vase, or as adventurous as threading them through a screen to make a wall divider or hanging display. With flowers, whatever one LIKES is just the right style.