Arranging Flowers


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RosesFlower 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 the home.

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 recommended.
  • 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 pleasing arrangement.
  • 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.
  • Commercial 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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