Flower Arranging-Gayle Shell

Baskets as Containers

Baskets come in all shapes and sizes and are usually made of woven plant material, willow etc. NAFAS states that a basket used as a container for a flower arrangement must be made of plant material, so do not use one shaped like a basket but made of another material, when entering a show.

I like to use a basket with a handle. It makes an ideal container if you are transporting flowers, and the handle presents a challenge to the flower arranger because it needs to be kept visible and easy to grasp. Most of these type of baskets are not watertight so another container is needed within the basket to hold mechanics, foam etc.

The little basket featured is one of a pair and is actually made from rustic twigs. It must be twenty years old and part of a large collection of baskets I have acquired over the years whilst teaching and demonstrating.

Sometimes I use the two together but here just one contains Spring flowers. The little basket is ‘see-through’ so I wired a dish to the top rather than placing a container in the bottom.

Wet foam was used well above the basket so that plant material could flow downwards leaving the handle clear. The overall shape of the design is an inverted crescent. This line requires less material than some shapes and I have chosen material that compliments the scale of the basket.

The outline was formed with Spirea (Bridal Wreath) and re-enforced with the delicate flowers of Tellima Grandiflora which seeds itself all over my garden but is so useful, both for

flowers and its round leaves. White and green tulips from the border high lighted the centre and this was strengthened by Hosta Undulata and some rose buds from the florist. I needed some filler material and found the fussy Variegated Box ideal for filling in any space without spoiling the overall shape.

This shrub and many more which I have provided for the sales table at Club, Roundhill Flower Club, and given to friends, was propagated from a cutting given to me by a Florist from the gardens at Wisley many years ago. I am careful to remove all the plain green leaves from the shrub when they appear so that it does not revert back to the common all green Box.

Finally, I added some grey-green foliage from my Ballota plant, another acquisition from a flower arranging friend! I take care to take cuttings from time to time as it is not completely frost hardy and of course, if I do not need them I can give them away.

This arrangement was made in May and has long since been dismantled, and now the little basket sits on my garden table with a plant in it, but I sometimes do make ‘AI-fresco’ designs to leave outside. A subject for another time.