Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
According to National Geographic, Americans spend almost $15 billion worth of plants and flowers every year. They say that is “about four times more than one generation ago.” This is a good thing because flowers make people feel good not to mention the fact that they are very decorative.
In Thailand flowers aren’t always put into vases. They might start by filling a shallow container with colored gravel much like we use for aquariums. Then they either place the flowers on top of the gravel to form pleasing patterns. I saw one arrangement with purple gravel with yellow and red blooms.
Some floral designers are now using clear glass so you can see what is in the water. They add different sorts of items to the water, such as rocks, fruits, and even oversize plant leaves. These create a pleasing contrast to the flowers. It’s kind of like the decorative marine-themed papers one puts on the sides and back of aquarium glass. These materials actually enhance our view of the flowers. One designer used red peppers and lemons in the water. Another lined the vase with green gravel, and bamboo sticks. These add a wonderful texture to an arrangement.
Crystal Accents would work very well in vases and flower bowls. These brightly colored water-storing crystals are available in various colors. Fill a decorative crystal bowl with the crystals, and then place an oversized flower in the center. A rose or water lily would be perfect for this project. The crystals are nontoxic.
In America we may be accustomed to having a flower girl at weddings. Now the Japanese have a flower robot called Posy, a child-like figure to fill in if you can’t find a suitable child.
If you don’t have lots of flowers available, make do with branches from the garden. I read about one hostess, who was giving a party. The unusual display consisted of a bag of sand wrapped in decorative material. Then leafless deciduous branches were inserted into the sand. Some extra sand was dyed and then applied to the outside of candles, which were placed around the bag.
This sounds unorthodox, but it actually looked quite nice. Some prefer a traditional style. Yet even then there’s a way to add extra touches to make them unique.
The first place to go for ideas when using fresh flowers is “Flowers for the Home-a Step-by-Step Color Guide to Design” by Dana Markos and Susanne Csongor. This was published by Laurel Glen.
This beautifully conceived book is floral design instruction at its very best. In a very engaging style, the authors present the basics of materials and techniques in an easy to follow style. All steps are illustrated in full color. Whatever the occasion, this dynamic duo has created a suitable arrangement. The book includes 25 gorgeous projects for weddings, and holidays as well as ones with seasonal interest. For entertaining, they offer various projects for dinners and lunches.
Whatever the occasion, we want our tables to be fabulous when we’re entertaining. Dried flowers are one way we can do that. Then, the arrangements can be made well ahead of time so we’re free to devote our attention to preparing the food.
“Floral Decorations For Decorating With Style” by Terry L. Rye from North Light/F & W Publications has just the answer. It features 25 projects using dried and silk flowers. Rye is a professional florist. In this volume, she shares professional tips on creating arrangements suitable for a wide range of events, including a birthday part, Mother’s Day brunch, a garden party, bridal events, and various holidays.
In the introduction, she offers tips on selecting and using various materials, supplies, and florals. She divides the projects into three sections--dinner parties, holidays, and special occasions. This makes it easy to find just what you need. Among the projects suitable for summer are topiary cardholders and a basket holding a garden party centerpiece. For the Mother’s Day brunch, she has created rose napkin rings and a dried rose centerpiece.
Whether you choose a minimalist or traditional approach to floral design, the result can be great fun.