Monday, August 2, 2010

July Post Series: How to make a Low and Full Flower Arrangement

I just made a couple of these arrangements one for my
mom and one for my mother in law, both have summer
b-days. I worked as a florist with "Pocket full of Posies"
when I was in high school, doing weddings and events. I
have really enjoyed using what I had learned from that
job when throwing my own events or when I need to
give a gift to someone who doesn't want or need anything
in particular (perfect description of my two mothers),
making a spectacular arrangement makes someone
feel special but isn't something that they will have to
keep forever.

-I always get the majority of my flowers from Costco, I
rarely go with a color combination in mind and usually
just see what is available and decided on a color theme
then and there.
-I will somtimes get a few filler flowers from Smiths Market
place, they actually have a good selection all organized by
-If in SLC I love to get flowers from Liberty Fresh Market,
they are way more expensive but they always have unique
verieties as well as a good selection of greenery, which in a
tall arrangement done in a vase you really need and shouldnt
(Favorite greenery: lemon leaf, dogwood (light and green
marble look), eucalyptus, theres one more Im trying to
remember the name of when I do I ll come back and and
put it into the post.

-For any arrangement done in a container with a large opening
oasis is the best (and sometimes the only) way to get a full
looking arrangement. Oasis is a green highly absorbant substance
that you buy in bricks (shape only, this material is very very light
in weight) and it is found in the Styrofoam/ fake flower sections
of craft stores, (Micheals always has it, Robert's only sometimes).
-You need to soak the oasis in buckets till there are no more
bubbles coming up from the completely submerged brick, OR
I will run the bricks under water rotating to different sides
until the water starts to freely run off the brick. Youll notice
at first that the water wont even hit the sink as it gets absorbed
by the oasis so fast but as the brick gets more saturated the
water will start to run off more and more.
-Then you start constructing a form for your flower
arrangement in your chosen container. You want all the
peices of oasis that you are using in the form to touch
the bottom in some way (so when the arrangement is
watered the oasis can continually soak up the water that
pools in the bottom of the bowl and bring the water up to
the flowers' stems stuck into the oasis).
-Start with the middle and tallest part of your arrangement,
and cut the bricks to the desired hight. Its best to get the
hight in one piece of oasis than stacking multiple scrap
pieces together. The arrangement with be stronger this way,
if you uses multiple pieces the oasis is more likely to crumble
after you add more and more weight in flowers.
-For arrangements done in bowls yourll need to taper the
bottoms of all your side oasis peices.

-Then you can roughly shave off the tops till you get the
form you want
-When doing flower arrangemets choose your flowers based on:
-color, shape/size, and texture
-Its best to keep the color of your arrangements limited, so they
feel controlled and composed. Have more unity. Analogous color
combos will allow you to get many shades of slightly different
colors without making the arrangement feel busy. While when
working with complementary color combos you should limit
the colors to around two shades of each of the complementary
colors. When working with white I say "either commit or stay
away". Little bits of white around larger areas of bright color
feel like little holes in the arrangement. Either only work in
a saturation of color or count white as one of the major colors
in the arrangement and do lots of it. Green is always a perfect
accent color for any arrangement so if your arrangement needs to
feel more full, or needs more variance in texture you can add
green flowers (green roses, and Yoko Ono mums are my fave)
or green fruit (limes, apples, and grapes are my faves). I have
even been known to cover bald spots along the edges with moss.
-It took awhile to get used to but florists cut thier flowers
with knives instead of scissors. The knives slice the stem at
an angle giving more exposed surface area for the stem to
soak up water with. Scissors can slightly pinch the area cut
more closed limiting the area the stem can drink from.
-With these arrangements I start on the edges and work up, with the
flowers on the edges as well as the flowers with taller blooms I cut
the stems as long as I can then slowly push it into the oasis till the
bottom of the bloom is just barely touching the oasis. But then as Im
building up and need more hight I will allow the blossoms to stick out
higher and higher from the oasis. Always be conscience of the shape
and make sure you are forming the arrangement with rounded edges
and not flat sides.
-The colors and flowers are better displayed when they are arranged
in clusters. So dont evenly disperse individual flowers but evenly
disperse color and flower groupings. Dont be afraid of putting
two flower groupings of the exact same color next to each other,
as long as they are different textures and sizes and there isnt a
full side or half of just one color your good.

-When using fruit in lower arrangements I will use the left over
stems of roses (as they are the strongest) to stick the fruit on,
before sticking them into the oasis. I will also use greenery or smaller
flowers to fill in all the small gaps around the shape of the fruit.

-And I always have to take pictures of the final product.

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