FLOWER ARRANGING FOR BEGINNERS

Tall, round, elongated, compact, angular, elegant, informal, triangular, architectural, trailing, dramatic, open, vertical, crescent, s-shape, horizontal….. there are SO many different ways of arranging flowers and if you’ve never done it before, it can seem a little intimidating. 

It can even be a little tricky taking a professionally arranged bouquet of flowers from a florist and putting it into a container at home.  Know the feeling? 

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  These basic guidelines will put you on track to creating your own beautiful bunches.  And always remember, the rules can and should be broken!.  With practice comes confidence.

There are basic elements to consider such as texture, scale, space, accent, harmony, unity and balance.  In other words – your composition has to be pleasing to the eye.  

First of all, select flowers that appeal to you.  You can use varieties that have similar colours, or one kind of flower (monochromatic), or a mix of a single variety with fillers or put together an eclectic and colourful mix of different kinds of flowers.  To start with, it’s probably best to look for colours that complement each other, eg pink and white.  The idea is to create balance and equilibrium and if there are too many dark flowers, they will overpower the light ones.   Another general rule of thumb is to use an odd number of flowers as a starting point.

Before starting out, try and picture your arrangement in your head and visualize it in its setting.  A tall arrangement can be visually dramatic and eye-catching and a full, rounder one is generally more traditional.  You’ll find inspiration all over the place, from online florists’ websites, magazines, books and even the television. 

Select a container or vase.  To a large extent, the type of flowers you have chosen will influence what vase you use.  There’s no limit to what you can use – from old tins and jars, bottles, baskets, glasses, jugs, teapots or pedestals.  A basic cylindrical vase is the simplest, a square or rectangular one is more contemporary and a ceramic one will be good for more ‘countrified’ arrangements.  Tall flowers will need a taller vase or pedestal to keep the proportion while a colourful ceramic container will add a fun, informal element.

Start by putting the largest, most eye-catching flowers in the centre of the container.   Usually, the longest stems are cut between 1 – 2 times the height of the vase, but it’s really about balance and proportion.  Then, flowers are added in order of size, with foliage inserted last.  Stems can also be cut a bit shorter to create depth with the varying lengths.  Full flowers (ie open ones) look best on shorter stems whereas narrower flowers with buds (eg gladiolus) look better longer. 

Use foliage (which can be greenery, leaves etc) to plug any gaps and to get the balance right.  Filler flowers that have tiny leaves and smaller flowers also work really well as do fillers that have feathery or lacy leaves.  To avoid overpowering the flowers, it’s worth being mindful of too much greenery or foliage and one should try and keep it to the centre and back of the composition. 

It’s also worth distancing yourself from your creation every now and then in order to view it from afar.  That’s what artists do in order to see how the light looks, the balance, the perspective etc.  Don’t forget – you’re the artist here! 

The most important rule is to enjoy and experiment – and always look out for new ideas.  And when you see a professional Perth florist put together a beautiful arrangement in a vase or a stunning bouquet,  have a close look at how it’s been constructed so that your next arrangement is as good as it gets!.