13 July 2012

The Basics In Arranging Flowers

It was the cultures of several countries that helped lead to the way we arrange our flowers today.  Flowers are arranged to make a home look prettier or to create a lovely present or gift for special occasions. Floral arrangement has become a thriving industry and there are countless types of flowers an arranger can use.
Floral arrangement is the art of using plant materials and flowers to create a pleasing and balanced composition.   Refined floristry dates as far back as the ancient times in Egypt, Europe, China and Japan.  It was said that the Chinese were the first to put water in a vase of cut flowers to prolong the life of the flowers.  The Japanese improved on this practice by adding a meditative or spiritual aspect to floral arrangement.  

Like any art form, flower arrangement incorporates the elements of line, form, space, texture and color.  Certain principles of floral design such as balance, proportion, rhythm, contrast, harmony and unity are also followed. Ikebana incorporates the three main line placements of heaven, man and earth in an arrangement.   The European style emphasizes color and variety of botanical materials not limited to just blooming flowers. It may include fruits and other plant parts. Western design historically is characterized by symmetrical, asymmetrical, horizontal and vertical style of arrangements.
Flowers are usually grouped in a bouquet.  A flower bouquet is a collection of flowers in a creative arrangement, usually contained in a vase with water.   In flower arranging, there are three types of flowers for you to use to create a beautiful arrangement. These are the mass flowers, filler flowers and the line flowers.
Mass flowers serve as the main attraction of a bouquet. They have to be big, round and have single stems. Examples of mass flowers are lilies, roses, tulips, sunflowers, daisies, large flowered cattleya orchids and daffodils.
Next are the line flowers, which define the shape of the arrangement.  They provide height and width and are thus placed first in the flower container.  Line flowers are usually tall so it’s best to use cattails, heliconias, delphiniums, snapdragons, gladiola, dendrobium orchids and anthuriums.
Filler flowers are clusters of multiples flowers in a single stem. They make a bouquet look fuller.  They are used to fill up empty spaces in an arrangement and are inserted last.  Baby’s breaths, dianthus, pompon asters, kamuning, English vine and ferns are used as fillers. Cut foliages or greens can still be added as fillers to further build the arrangement and cover up more holes.
The base of the flower stems and cut-foliage is cut underwater to prevent bubbles from forming in the stem.  The flowers are then slowly inserted into a vase half filled with clean water.  For some containers, a pre-soaked floral foam is used instead of just water.  A bamboo stick is used to puncture a hole in the foam where the stem of the flower will be inserted.
So these are just the basic rules. Arranging flowers effectively requires a lot of practice but once you’ve mastered this art, you can go on to create your own style.




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