Do you know Fibonacci?
I had never heard of him until aMl‘s Flower Camp a couple of years ago. As we were up to our elbows in fragrant May blooms, aMl‘s talented sister, mEl, a floral designer in Houston, described how flower designers will follow this Italian mathematician’s famous number sequence to create pleasing designs. With mEl was back in town this past weekend, it seemed pure serendipity that the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran this article
In case you missed it in math class as I did, the Fibonacci sequence is the set of numbers that comes from adding the prior two numbers to get the next number, starting with zero. Hence
This series of numbers, which he identified around 1200, is found throughout nature like in the pinecone above or these flowers:
When Fibonnaci’s numbers are employed in design, you can count on a pleasing composition. It is all about the fixed proportion in which each number stands to its adjacent numbers. The ratio of each pair of numbers in the sequence approaches the Divine Proportion (a/k/a the Golden Ratio) of 1.618, which has been considered the most visually appealing. For centuries, greater minds than mine have ponder whether Fibonacci’s sequence is a coincidence of nature or divine intervention.
Considerations like those make my brain hurt. Instead, I’ll just take mEl‘s advice and use Fibonacci’s numbers as a guideline for the amount of each different type of flower that I put into a floral arrangement. It really can be helpful in deciding how many flowers to purchase for an arrangement.
Maybe one day after years of practice, I’ll be able to create something as divine as these mEl creations:
You can find more of her stunning work on her Fleur de Vie Houston website. Brilliant as he was, I’ll bet Fibonacci never could have imagined that his numerical discovery would be providing beautiful inspiration over 800 years later.