Gardening Magazine

4 Tips for Flower Arranging

By Hollie Brooks @MiaFleur_home

I love flowers and foliage everywhere; growing in the garden, on fabrics, on walls, on rugs, and most of all in vases dotted around my home. To this end I grow lots of flowers and foliage for cutting and bringing indoors so that I always have a ready supply. Not being a winter person I must admit there is a dearth of flowers in my garden during winter, (something that needs rectifying for next year), but I can manage a few hellebores and viburnum for a bit of winter cheer and I buy pots of hyacinths to re-pot into pretty containers. Looking back on photos of my flower arrangements there are a few I’m not happy with and I’m sure a florist would have something to say about them, but the main thing for me is to enjoy the colours and textures without worrying too much about perfection. So, here are my 4 tips for flower arranging the novice way.

Colourful interiors - pink Frida print styled with yellow glass vase and velvet mirror
Statement Yellow Glass Vase | Frida Kahlo Print | Velvet Mirror

1. Forget the Rules

Be creative and don’t worry about rules – rules are made to be broken aren’t they? If you want a riotous bunch of clashing colours go for it! If you prefer a few twigs and leaves then so be it. We all have different tastes and different ideas on what is visually appealing so don’t worry about what others think. Flowers and foliage are to be enjoyed and bring happiness not create stress. Experimenting with different vases and containers helps you to understand which shapes suit best. If the proportion doesn’t look right try adding foliage that gives height and or width. Think about contrast – a simple bowl of tulips interspersed with twigs makes a stunning arrangement.

Etched green glass vase - tips for flower arranging
Etched Green Glass Vase

2. Condition your Flowers

Condition your flowers and foliage by trimming the stems and letting them stand in a big bucket of water for a few hours for a good drink. Add flower food to the water or a dash of bleach and change the water regularly. Remove all leaves below the water line otherwise they will rot and smell. Some flowers like hellebores need the ends of their stems dunked in boiling water for a minute before going in a vase. If necessary use florist foam, marbles or a flower frog to keep flowers in place. Another good way to hold flowers in place in a wide vase is to crisscross washi tape or sellotape across the top in a grid and slot the flowers into it.

Zebra vases - 4 tips for flower arranging
Zebra Vases

3. Add Foliage

Add foliage for contrasting texture and color. Think about the colours and shapes of the flowers and how you can enhance them with added foliage. Ivy is great for trailing down the side of a vase and to add width, and ferns and grasses are wonderful for adding height and some spikiness. Foliage such as fennel and alchemilla mollis makes a fabulous frothy arrangement.

Tips for flower arranging - mix in artificial flowers like these pink protea stems
Faux Pink Protea Stem

4. Mix in faux

A great way to add lusciousness to a vase of flowers is to mix in some faux flowers and foliage. By doing this you get a really luxurious bouquet without spending a fortune. A bunch of flowers can be turned into something really special and eye catching with the addition of a few faux pink protea stems or faux blush eucalyptus sprays, and they last for years.

Looking at images on pinterest is a great way to see what it is you like and try copying it so that you get a feel for what works for you. Even a few flower heads in a selection of small containers grouped together makes for an interesting display and is quick to do. Above all enjoy and experiment!

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