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arrangements provide a key visual element in home decoration to
accessorize and transform a living space and infuse it with colour
and style. They are often used to tie the colours, elements, or
textures of a room together to create a harmonious theme with the
surrounding decor and the scent of flowers is one of the easiest ways to
bring the garden inside your home.
The visual appearance, and the scent that flowers impart, adds a deeply
personal touch to any room whether you prefer a simple bouquet of sweet peas on
your nightstand, an elegant arrangement of lilies in the foyer or
a floral centrepiece on the dining room table.
Learning a few basic principles
for flower arranging such as balance, harmony, colour co-ordination and
suitability for where the arrangement will finally be placed you can create attractive floral designs for every room in
Here are a few of my favourite tips...
- Try to use flowers and foliage from your garden
when it is possible so that if you make a mistake it is not so
expensive. Cut the flowers using a knife, serrated shears or floral
clippers early in the morning or near or after
sunset keeping the stems as long as possible. Picking flowers more
than one day before making the arrangement is generally not
- If you do not have a garden (or a friend with a garden) inexpensive flowers
can often be obtained from your local florist. When buying flowers from a florist
choose flowers with upright, firm petals and buds
just beginning to open. Stems should be clean and unbroken and tips
clean and free of debris. Yellow, spotted or drooping petals or leaves
are a sign of age. Dark or mushy tips may signal an old flower.
The water should
smell fresh and clean and a strong odour may mean the stems have
begun to decay, shortening the life of the bloom.
- Balance the correct proportion of flowers to the vase as
it relates to the height and width of the arrangement. The arrangement should be larger than the
container it is being put in by a factor of one and one-half for a
- Arrangements can be symmetric or asymmetric. Symmetric design is of
key importance. These designs are created so that both sides of the
design are equal. This is achieved by grouping together flowers of
like size, colour, and type on both sides of what would be referred
to as the vertical centre. Asymmetrical designs contain different
design elements on each side. This type of arrangement must have the
correct weight on both sides to look visually pleasing.
- Flowers have distinct shapes, fragrances, and
colours. When you arrange the flowers so
that darker ones are with lighter ones and smaller ones are with
larger, you achieve an effect of contrast. Determining the use of
light and dark flowers in an arrangement is critical to the balance. Therefore, it may take at least two or more light-coloured
flowers to equal one dark flower within the arrangement. By putting the same
shape and colour flowers in repetitive arrangements you will get a
"flow" effect that is pleasing to the eye.
- Take into account the decor and architectural
elements of the room where the flowers are to be placed. This helps
to determine the design lines and overall look of straight or
curved lines. Rooms with tall windows, columns, or
other vertical decor call for flowers or foliage with tall thin
lines that imitate the dominant features in the room. Using the
colour of the walls within the arrangement will make it more
harmonious with the surrounding decor. Texture helps set the tone of
the arrangement. Surfaces, containers, and floral elements that are
smooth, shiny, reflective, and glittery are best used in formal or
elegant settings. Natural or dried materials, raffia, straw, burlap,
wire, or rough textures such as wood are informal, and lend
themselves to a more relaxed decor. Be sure that the type of flowers
or other materials used in the arrangement are compatible with the
container and the room decor.
- Before placing cut flowers in a
vase, store them in a cool location that is free from light until
you are ready to do the arranging. Snip the tips of the flower's stems at an
angle and place them in a container of lukewarm water until ready to
make your arrangement.
- The container and your cutting
tool should be clean. Wash the container and tools with a detergent or
antibacterial cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse well. Cleanliness
affects the presentation and life expectancy of cut flowers.
flower food prolongs the life of your arrangement. Follow the mixing instructions on the packet. Adding too
much water can dilute the solutionís effectiveness.
- Stems may be re-cut with a sharp
knife or floral clippers if
there are signs of wilting to extend the life of
your arrangement. Hold them under water and cut away 1 to 2 inches.
Trim away any leaves that will fall below the water line. Bacteria
growth caused by submerged leaves reduces the amount of water
the flower can absorb and shorten the enjoyment time.
- Keep fresh flowers out of direct
sun and away from drafts and heat-generators like windows, open fireplaces, stoves and appliances.
The cooler the location, the longer the flowers will last.
Expand your knowledge in the art of
flower arranging through reading books, taking a night class, attending
floral shows or joining a local floral art group in your area with the added bonus of
meeting new people
who share your interest.
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