Archive for flower arranging

Flower Power 2

I am sure most of you know that I used to be a floral designer. However, since we have lived in Barbados, I cannot work any more. But I miss flowers, and when I found out that St. James Church was having a Harvest Garden Party to raise money for the restoration on the church, I wanted to go. As is the case of most churches, the congregation cannot cover the costs of the church, so St. James has been holding this fund-raiser since 1989.  There is entertainment by the Royal Barbados Police Band, many vendors and lots of food, but the flower arrangements were what I wanted to see.

And I was not disappointed. St. James is the oldest Anglican church on the island, originally built in 1628 of wood, the now day stone structure was built in 1847. It is an exquisite church, but the flowers enhanced it even more.

What do you think, did you like them as much as I did?

Comments (19) »

Floral Fantasy: Soft Autumn Colours

What another floral arrangement? What had come over me? It is wonderful to have a friend who loves flowers as much as I do. And when I was staying with her in Toronto last week, you guessed it, we decided we had to have another flower arrangement.  So off we went to Av and Dav, a nickname for the corner in Toronto where you can buy cut flowers at a very good price.  We started to look at the oranges, but decided we didn’t see anything we were in love with. And then we spotted this celosia and realized, sometimes fall doesn’t have to be bright.

Once I had the celosia in my hot little hands, it was just a matter of finding a few things to go along with it. So we ended up with commercial mums, cabbage, roses and hypericum berries, and this time, I thought you might like a few pictures of the step by step (almost) process.

I did not think to take any pictures until after I had taped a grid out of clear tape on the top of the vase, and then used some salal as a base of greenery for my arrangement, but I think you have an idea of what that would look like.

When I am designing I always add in my largest flower first, when I designed this white arrangement it was the hydrangea, this time I started with the cabbage. After we have a bit more cold weather, the cabbage will have a bit more colour in it, but I still love them even when they are green.  A trick that floral designers use is to open up the cabbage and make it more decorative looking.

When you purchase the cabbage it looks like this,

and by folding back the leaves,you will end up with this,

much more attractive isn’t it.

So in they went.

Next I added my commercial mums. Grouping is the ‘trend’ now in floral design, and I am sure everyone knows about the odd number rule. But sometimes when the flowers are quite large,  group of three would be too much. If you use two flowers, try to stagger them a bit, just so they are not exactly side by side.

Then my roses went in,

these I always try to add in odd numbers.

Finally my hypericum berry is placed to fill in any gaps.

Do you like soft autumn colours? Or do you prefer a more vibrant arrangement for fall?

Comments (14) »

Floral Fantasy: White

Who doesn’t love white? Especially in flowers. Always elegant and classic, it is certainly the most requested colour scheme not only for weddings, but also for most design work. And throw in some chartreuse, yummy! I would always advise customers at the flower shop when they were not sure of a colour for a gift arrangment, to go white.

As a neutral, it is suitable for any home, and people have much stronger opinions about colour, white is certainly a safe choice. My friend happens to love white and green, smart woman, so when I was visiting her in Toronto, it was off to pick up some white and green flowers to prepare an arrangement for her coffee table.

I have already showed you the hydrangea arrangement we made for her front hall, and we had some extra Limelights left and more hostas, so we lined this vase as well.  I love lining vases, when I worked at Kenneth Turner, all our clear vases were lined, we used to use a flower frog made out of chicken wire to hold the flowers in place. But when I worked at Black Eyed Susan’s, we taped a grid on the vase after lining it, much easier on the hands.

Grouping flowers is the big trend in the floral design world now, so I added my hydrangea in two groups of two. When you are grouping larger flowers it is not as important to add them in odd numbers, however I would never put just two roses together, so they were added in groups of 5 and 7. 

Commercial chrysanthemums and alstromeria completed the  white flowers, while green hypericum berries brought in a fresh shot of green.

And that green Wasabi coleus, talk about yummy, I loved it, and it was cut fresh from the garden. Perhaps a bit too fresh perhaps.

The next morning we found small puddles of water on the surface of the tray and could not figure out where they came from. Imagine our surprise, when we discovered new ones later that day. How was this happening?

Looking a bit more closely at the arrangement we discovered this.

I have been a floral designer for over twenty years, and had never seen this before. Has it happened to you?

Comments (12) »

Floral Fantasy: Hydrangea

Who doesn’t love hydrangeas? When I was working in floral design, it seemed to be the one flower that customers and designers always wanted to include in arrangements. And with good reason, it is classic and elegant. I was staying with a dear friend for a few days and we decided to make a couple of flower arrangements.  I was surprised at how much I missed flexing my ‘design’ fingers.  After the coffee table arrangement was completed, her amazing garden was raided, and the Limelight hydrangea was just asking to be used.

 

After lining the crystal vase with blue hosta leaves, three chartreuse ‘Sum and Substance’ hosta leaves anchored the base, before it was filled with the Limelight hydrangeas.  A few fronds of ‘Ghost’ fern added more texture near the bottom.

I have always loved large arrangments in a front hall or a dining room sideboard, not only do I think they look dramatic, they are one of my favourite to design.

What do you think?

Comments (15) »

Floral Fantasy: Peonies, Part II

On my very last night in Canada, while I was pruning my willow, I started thinking, (I know, again, usually a bad idea).

The peonies were beautiful, they had just started flowering, and we were leaving, what a waste. But my MIL and SIL were there to take us to the airport the next day. Would they not like a bouquet. of course they would.

So I cut all the peonies, and since I had just pruned the willow, I had a lot of foliage to add to them.

Do you like them?

Comments (24) »

For Diana

I thought, while I took the time to edit the 500,000,000,000 (at least) photos that I took on the cruise, I would show you this.

Diana from Elephants Eye has been a long time reader of my blog. I guess I have blown her away with the brilliance of my flower designing, because she is always commenting how she never gets to see it any more. I did think that I would be arranging flowers in the flat all the time, but for some reason, the gardeners at the complex where I live frown on my ‘helping’ myself to their stuff. I can’t understand why? I am just trying to make life easier for them.

But I did have a chance recently to visit a cut flower farm, here in Barbados.

This is not me!

So many flowers to choose from

And I purchased a couple of things…

Then I made these two arrangements.

This is a 3 sided, and it is on a chest in my foyer. It consists of 3 torch ginger, some song of India and 2 Strelitzia leaves.

 I also used the bottom half of the ginger when I shortened them. If you look closely, you can see 2 stems in the vase, they are a red bamboo looking stem.

In this shorter vase, I also used song of india, and a green that I have not seen before

 It looks like a giant Italian parsley, but the leaves are hard, not soft like parsley. And I added these peachy anthiriums.

I hate to tell you (but I will), that I purchased these flowers the week before I left on the cruise, and in the excitement I forgot to throw them out. Most of the anthiriums were still in good shape when I arrived back, so I just went for fresh water and a quick rearrange. I certainly got my moneys worth out of that lot…

Comments (18) »

Into the Light

I am surprised at how much I miss flowering arranging. I kind of fell into it as a career, but like most gardeners probably would, I really enjoyed playing with flowers. Where I live has beautiful gardens, with a huge team of gardeners, but I think they would frown on me outside with secateurs. But, I always have my eyes peeled for any interesting arrangements.

So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into Limegrove Mall in Holetown. The Barbados Horticultural Society was kind enough to realize that since I couldn’t get to the Chelsea Flower Show this year, they would bring it to me, at least a copy of their gold winning design.  Everyone on Barbados is very proud of them, I am constantly told at how they are always winning gold medals, and well deserved.  BHS has been competing for just over 20 years, and has 15 gold medals, that is amazing.

I tried to find out a bit more about this arrangement via Google, but failed miserably. All I could find was a couple of sentences by a local newspaper. The arrangement titled ‘Into the Light’ shows darkness moving into light through colour, style and movement.

Who know, maybe one day I will be part of the Barbados Horticultural Society’s team for Chelsea Flower Show, never say never!

Comments (20) »