Flower Arranging – Step by Step. By Gayle Shell

A Vertical Design

A bunch of Gladioli caught my eye at my local florist and though they were in tight bud, the best way to buy them for maximum vase life, I could see from the lower flowers that they were a lovely purple.

I cut a little from the lower stem, pinched out the top buds and put them in water with plant food and allowed the flowers to develop before arranging.

Last month I talked about Mechanics, methods of supporting flowers and foliage, and Gladioli can be arranged effectively on a pin holder, see picture, or foam.

If you saw Fiona’s article last month, you will remember that Roundhill Flower Club members did a demonstration covering flower arranging during the decades of the Queens Reign and it reminded me that I was taught in the Seventies using a pin holder, see picture right, for simple designs and crumpled wire netting for a more elaborate one. Foam was very expensive then and its use rather frowned upon but it has enabled us to produce very complex designs and even hang our plant material upside down.

For the first design I use a shallow dish with a well pin holder. The mechanics were hidden by a strategically placed piece of driftwood and the Gladioli were arranged in a vertical line. Gladioli flowers open from the bottom so the weight was easily placed at the bottom of the design tapering towards the top. I added a few Hosta leaves, ones that had not been shredded by the hailstorm, angling them outwards and overlapping from the depth. Top up the water regularly and remove the dead florets as required. I did much the same design in a deeper container, see picture below, filled just to the rim with wet foam. Covering the foam can be a problem but I used the driftwood, a very old piece found on a Norfolk beach many years ago, and again some large Hosta leaves. If the foam still shows I will sometimes use a little moss or florists decorative sisal in a suitable colour. Too much foliage can spoil the line.

I had removed some of the lower flowers from the spikes of Gladioli and it seemed sad to waste them so as you will see on this picture, I arranged them floating in a shallow glass dish. As I sorted out a suitable container, I keep all my glass together, I found some glass purple spheres and added them to the design since they repeated the colour of the flowers and the shape and material of the container. No mechanics required.

Finally I used five artificial Anthurium and some dried fern to create a long lasting design in the same style.

This shape can be created with any linear material. What about Antirrhinum, Snapdragons, Delphinium or Liatris, Prince of Wales Feathers, in the Summer and it works very well with the straight lines of Spring bulb flowers. Try Daffodils or Iris mixed with a few branches or Bulrushes. You can use the more traditional flowers such as Carnations, Roses and Gerbera too. Just remember to keep the line simple and disguise your mechanics, whatever you choose, with leaves, moss or driftwood.

Happy arranging.
Gayle Shell