Flower Arranging with Gayle Shell

I have been trying to cut down on all the containers, accessories and assorted flotsam and jetsam that I have acquired for flower arranging over the years ‘just in case it comes in handy’, but I could not bear to throwaway these pieces of dead wood which I removed from the beautiful and wonderfully perfumed Philadelphus ‘Aureus’ when pruning this year. Flower Arranging Article3
Placed in this interesting container that can be used as two pots when separated I felt the colour and texture echoed the stoneware of the dishes. I linked two pieces together by simply slotting the branches into each other so that one piece of wood was upside down and then I pushed it onto a pin holder. In the right hand dish I secured a smaller piece of wood onto another pin holder and then added bright Gerbera and some large Hosta leaves to disguise the mechanics. A mat completed the design and protected the table top.
The Philadelphus is planted next to another shrub which has bright lime green leaves in the Spring, Ribes Saguineum ‘Brocklebankii’. This needed trimming too, and that produced some long stems with beautiful shapes. The inspiration for another design.
I had some of the cerise Gerbera left so I chose this pink glass container (below) and filled it to the top with wet foam. I kept the top branch long so that its beautiful curve could be evident and added the flowers at varying heights so that each could be seen. A little more of the lime green foliage was added to the base and then two burgundy leaves of Begonia Rex. These are house plants but I put them outside on the patio in Summer as I do a lot of my house plants. They thrive and the large handsome leaves are very useful.
So now that the designs have faded I am left with several interesting pieces of wood to add to my collection. I left them in the garden, inserting Some into pots to support the plants growing there. To my surprise they have started to shoot so were not dead at all.
Some of my larger pieces of ‘driftwood’ live outside all year round and add interest to the garden and sometimes opportunities for plants.
One large piece of Mulberry, originally given to me by one of the gardeners at Belgrave Hall, is now covered in moss and sports Violets in the early spring.
Driftwood, to the Flower arranger, is any type of dead wood not just what is collected from the seashore, true flotsam and jetsam.This can be roots, branches or bark. Flower Arranging Article2
I took these pieces of wood to class for the last session of the Summer term to remind my students to look at ‘rubbish’ from the garden before throwing it away, and set them the task of perhaps using some as inspiration for an original design in the Autumn when we return to class.
They sighed a little at this Summer project but it will certainly sharpen their ‘seeing eye’. So much for cutting down on my flower arranging rubbish!
Gayle Shell