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The Fun Part of Setting a Table!

You’ve selected your vase or container, secured the oasis or frog, purchased and gathered flowers and greenery, and conditioned the plant material. Now you can finally start flower arranging!

First, provide a collar of greenery around the edge of the vase. Then add floral stems. Keep the larger blooms near the base of the arrangement, and decrease the size of the blooms as you work your way to the top. One easy method to insert the stems is to simulate a clock. Put matching stems at noon, three, six, and nine. Then put a few more at one, four, seven, and ten.  Keep inserting stems at two, five, eight, and eleven. Add filler material in the holes. Done! It’s not imaginative, but it looks great, if you are using pretty flowers.

Traditional mass arrangements can be dense and tightly filled, or left open and airy, for a more natural look. Try to keep the size of the arrangement no more than two-thirds the size of the container, or it will be top-heavy and out of scale with the vase. You can create strongly shaped domes, cones, or squares with tightly spaced blooms. The stems on geometrically controlled arrangements need to be short to maintain the form of the oasis material which has been cut into the final geometric shape. Many of Martha Stewart’s table arrangements are done in traditional mass form.

You can build easy, posey-style bouquets by hand-holding the arrangement and adding stems radially around the outside of the bunch, and then tying the stems together with ribbon. The stems can be long and elegant for a tall, columnar glass vase, or short and hidden in a smaller container. By tying the stems together, you may be able to omit the floral oasis or frog. You can also avoid the need for oasis by using a fish-bowl-shaped vase and dropping the hand-held bouquet into the opening, with all the stems falling into a pleasing and casual angle, evenly distributed around the bowl.

For a more asymmetrical look, visualize a linear arrangement in an S-curve or a C-crescent shape. The curving lines can be upright, sideways, or upside down. Put strong, structural plant material along these lines as the skeletal structure for the arrangement, and add additional material to emphasize the lines. Build your graceful linear arrangements on top of collar of greenery at the top edge of the container. A gentle curve adds graceful lines.

Creative designs can be something over-the-top and unconventional. In the mid-twentieth century new, modern-looking arrangements became popular. The popularity of the style probably peaked in the mid-sixties. Creative designs can still be seen at flower show competitions. Designers use corkscrew willow, Protea, or Bird of Paradise flowers. Abstract material forms (driftwood, especially), and fabricated props are used to create sculptural elements. These kinds of floral design are overtly abstract, and not nearly as easy as you might imagine. Just about everything has been tried in creative arrangements, so it is impossible to come up with a new, shocking juxtaposition of unexpected flower choices and weird, spray-painted automobile parts and pieces. Unless you are attempting a retro-modern look, these arrangements can be silly-looking for a contemporary setting. The design elements and principals used to make them, however, remain valid and timeless.

The best way to create a dramatically creative design is to visit a florist or wholesale supplier and see what is available in floral material that is new and different. Consider foliage and flowers from house plants or unusually mis-shaped blooms. Use them as your beginning inspiration. Then purchase or build a complimentary container or containers to hold the blooms. Don’t limit yourself to just water in containers. The arrangement can include the immediate area around your container. Fabric, runners, candles, figurines, lighting, food, and even sound can be incorporated into your design. Arrangements can run the full length of a table. They can fill your front yard or span an entire wall. There are no limits, which makes creative floral design lots of fun.

Adding floral arrangements in your home can brighten your day. Each bloom is a reminder of the beauty of nature and the wonder of botanical design. With each new arrangement you gain a better appreciation of good visual layout and configurations. It’s a great way to celebrate life and the living things around us.

Arranging Flowers the Easy Way