aMl’s Flower Camp returned this year to my delight (I missed it last year). Her awesome sister Madeleine Elmer, owner of Fleur de Vie Houston joined her and led the lucky guests in a morning packed with floral design tips and techniques. We covered so much territory that I decided to to break the camp’s lessons into three posts. Today we’ll cover design techniques using current color trends.
The New Neutrals
Blush, soft peach, grays and browns (browns?) are the New Neutrals in floral design, and Madeleine used a wide range of those colors in her demonstration.
The next few photos show the neutral floral material she chose.
Madeleine also used cuttings we brought from our gardens.
Tip: mix greenery from your yard with grocery store flowers for an authentic look to your arrangement.
Design Technique: Organic ~ Diagonal and Loose
Four components dictate an arrangement: the container, the space where it will be placed, its use and the floral material chosen. Madeleine said contemporary arrangements today are loosely shaped and elevated off the table using urns and compotes, and look organic and natural. An eye-pleasing style uses diagonal lines, a shape that will evolve as she places the plant material.
Shown here is her container choice, prepared with chicken wire for mechanics and clear floral tape to hold it in place.
She began by placing oakleaf hydrangea, her big foliage to act as support for the rest of the arrangement in the container first. Because she knew she was going to use the oakleaf hydrangea, she had to use chicken wire as the mechanics. Woody stems don’t like Oasis (floral foam), plus she likes the natural movement that chicken wire offers to a design.
Next she measured her stock (a cluster of 3. See our post on Fibonnaci for more information) before cutting
by holding the stock to the height it should be along the edge of the countertop and then make the cut. Next she placed the brown nandina leaves, succulent, peonies and variegated greenery.
and we were pleasantly surprised at how much the brown nandina leaves added. How in the world did Madeleine add the succulent? you ask. Look for Friday’s post on How to Use a Succulent in a Flower Arrangement to find out that cool and easy technique. To emphasize the upper left corner of the diagonal, Madeleine added pussy willow. Then, continuing the diagonal downward to the right, she layered a sprig of ligustrum buds.
Tip: Use only the ligustrum buds in the arrangement. Once the buds bloom, they cause allergic reactions, an unintended consequence for those admiring the arrangement.
Next came the lamb’s ear and a soft peach rose.
and a few more additions of scabiosa pods, nandina buds and a mature lenten rose (mature ones are stronger and don’t droop)
Tip: to seal in the moisture in your arrangement,
spray it with a sealer like Finishing Touch Spray
upon completing it.
Check back with us Friday for Part 2: How to Use a Succulent in a Flower Arrangement.
June 4, 2014