To create a picture-perfect flower arrangement, you will need:
1 tall, flared vase, about 10 inches tall (the top should be slightly wider than the base)
3-5 stems of foundation foliage, such as Kimberly Queen Fern, Sago Palm, Hydrangea branch, Plectranthus (Mona Lavender) or Mexican Heather
5 long-stemmed, large-headed, showy face flowers, such as Paeonia Peony, Dahlia, Amaryllis, Asiatic Lily or Ranunculous
6-10 stems of small wispy filler flowers or greens, such as Fuchsia, Juncus, Lavandula (Lavender), Liriope (Lilyturf) or Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Gardening shears or sharp scissors
- Choosing an opaque vase will hide the jumble of stems inside the vase and focus complete attention on the floral arrangement. Before starting, fill the vase 2/3 full with room temperature water so stems can “drink” as soon as they are trimmed and placed.
- Throughout these instructions, trim all stems at an angle to encourage water absorption. You may trim more, but you should trim off at least the bottom 1/2 inch of each stem before placing it in the arrangement. You will also want to trim off leaves that fall below the water line.
- Build the foundation for your arrangement by placing three of the foliage stems in the vase in a loose triangle. The center stem should be about 2 to 2-1/2 times taller than the vase, creating a high point for your arrangement. Allow the side stems to cross inside the vase and fall against its lip so that they angle out to the sides. Depending on the shape and fullness of the foliage chosen, you may want to add an additional foliage stem to one or both sides of the arrangement. These stems can either be placed to fill in the area between the peak and the side points or positioned to sweep down toward the vase. For a formal arrangement, place your background foliage in a symmetrical triangle with the tallest stem in the center of the vase. Side stems should be the same length. For an informal arrangement, position stems asymmetrically, placing the tall middle stem off-center and making one of the side stems longer than the other. For asymmetrical arrangements, look for foundation stems with some curve to give your arrangement a sense of movement.
- Place the face flowers. Strip the leaves from the flower stems. Trimming as necessary, place the first flower at the top edge of the vase so that it overhangs the lip slightly. Place the second flower above the first, leaving a gap of about 4 inches between the flowers. Form a rough diamond shape by placing one flower to each side of the center gap, making sure to leave space between the flowers. Place the upper-most flower last, keeping it in line with the two center flowers but leaving a gap of about 8 inches between it and the second flower. For a formal arrangement, the line formed by the 3 center flowers should be straight and centered. For an informal arrangement, the center flower line should curve gently to one side. To maintain the integrity of the focal diamond formed by the center 4 flowers, trim the side flower on the interior of the curve so that it is slightly lower than the flower on the outer side of the curve.
- Add the filler. Add filler stems above, below and between the other elements to add fullness to your arrangement. Filler should extend somewhat beyond the foundation. For a formal arrangement, add filler to create a fairly symmetrical triangle. For an informal arrangement, trim filler to enhance the curve and movement of the arrangement. On the inside of the curve, position low filler so it appears to be spilling out of the vase, curing into and in front of the vase.
- Add water to your arrangement as needed.
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