Flower Arranging

Step by Step Guide

Of all the elements of design, I love working with colour the most. Colour affects all aspects of our lives including our clothes and houses, and it is a very important element in flower arranging. Colour can affect our mood,  Red and yellow are cheering but we often refer to suffering from ‘the blues’. Colour can be hot or cold. We like to see red in winter and cooling whites and greens in summer.

Studying the effect of colour and its interpretive value is an important part of learning to arrange plant material, so in class I often give the students a colour led theme to work with. This design uses the scheme of ‘black and white’. It is positive and negative, yin and yang, light and dark and can be quite ‘gothic’.

When I give students a colour theme to work with I try to be accommodating and allow them to use artificial materials and coloured plant material. Dried and fresh plant material can be quickly sprayed any colour using florist spray paint.

The stand used to elevate the design is a wrought iron candle stick and I have fixed a candle cup to the top with oases-fix so that I have a container for the wet foam.

Eliminating any green can be difficult in this type of design when fresh material is used because of course, the stems and leaves are green. So use a little as possible. In flower arranging because of this problem, green can be considered a neutral colour.

With Aster formed the down ward curve and black artificial grapes added interest in the centre. Large white roses continued the colour scheme and gave repetition. More black was added using an interesting ‘black grass’ (Ophiopogon planisapus) which I grow in my garden. Snowberry added more white, and some silvery Eucalyptus pods and leaves gave an appropriate lightness, I added some artificial black and white butterflies too. The second picture shows the same arrangement with two added placements so that the design can be used on a table for a black and white themed dinner. Two small square serving dishes held wet foam and wicker sphere and then similar materials were added to tie them in with the main arrangement. Looking at the white roses I am reminded that Flower Festivals are very much uppermost in my thoughts as I am involved in planning a festival in September at Leicester Cathedral and I think that white roses will be very much in evidence because of the connection with Richard III whose body was recently discovered, the white roses symbolise the House of York. This is the season of Flower Festivals and I am also involved in two others over the May day holiday, one at the Syston Methodists Church celebrates ‘Stories from the Bible’ and another at St Theresas RC Church, Birstall which celebrates the rededication of the church after 25 years. Why not go along and see how colour had been used to interpret these themes and enjoy a profusion of Spring Flowers.

Gayle Shell