How to Pick and Arrange Your Garden Flowers

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Flowers have a special talent for lifting the spirits even on the gloomiest day—and if they are picked from your garden and used to decorate your home, they will give added enjoyment. You will certainly want to use them to your best advantage.

Of course, you can enjoy roses or lilies for their beauty even if they are plunged into a bucket—just as you would enjoy a Leonardo da Vinci in an attic—but beautiful things are enhanced if provided with the setting they deserve. So if you love flowers, you will want to arrange them with discernment.

Arranging Garden FlowersPin

Everyone can learn the art of flower arrangement. There are some principles of good design to be aware of as you begin to arrange flowers. 

When you gain confidence, you will employ these principles unconsciously, using your taste preference to create designs of individual beauty.

Proportion–Principle of Good Design

Each flower arrangement must be of the right size for its container. A safe “rule” is to have the plant material in a tall vase extending above the rim 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of the container. 

When you use a low bowl, the tallest material should be 1 1/2 to 2 times the length or the diameter of the container.

Balance In Flower Arrangement

Balance in flower arrangement applies to visual weight. The arrangement should appear stable—not look as though it would topple over because one side seems heavier than the other. 

In symmetrical balance—the two vertical halves of the arrangements are identical or nearly identical. 

In asymmetrical balance, the two vertical halves are not twin halves—they may be entirely different in size and shape but they must have visual balance, as in the crescent arrangement on page 44.

Contrasting Textures

Contrasting textures are important in flower arrangement, just as in garden design. Most flowers have leaves that provide adequate contrast—cup-shaped tulips, for instance, have pointed leaves; many-petalled zinnias have smooth leaves; hairy-leaved plants often have satiny flowers; knobby twigs have smooth-petalled blooms. 

If there is insufficient natural contrast, you can supply it by adding rough-textured foliage from another plant for smooth-textured flowers and vice versa.

Color Contrast

Color contrast is equally important. Dark colors have more “value” than pale colors and are best used low in an arrangement since they seem heavier.

Contrasting Forms

Contrasting forms are necessary, also to avoid monotony. For example, round flowers with pointed leaves complement each other. 

In mass arrangements, using flowers of various shapes: trumpet lilies, globular peonies, starry clematis, spires of delphinium, etc. 

By studying arrangement photographs in books and observing prize-winning entries at flower shows, you will notice how contrasts in textures, color, and form are used to make beautiful arrangements.

Harmony–Ultimate Goal in a Flower Arrangement

All the parts—container, flowers, foliage, accessories, and setting—must look like they belong together. 

A pleasant blend of elements must produce a wholly satisfying arrangement.

Man Ahead

If you start your arrangement with a specific plan in mind, the result will be more successful than if you begin your design without any definite idea of what you want to accomplish. 

First of all, decide where you will use your arrangement—on a coffee table, in a hallway, on a dining table, and so on. 

Next, select the container shape and size best suited to the space and the flower material you will use.

Selecting Container

If you are a beginning arranger, you may not want to spend a great deal on a wide variety of containers. You will find basic container shapes you can use for many kinds of arrangements. 

Often, mixing bowls, serving dishes, baskets, and so forth found in your kitchen will serve nicely.

Once you have selected your container, decide on the form of your arrangement. 

When you have become adept at making arrangements in these designs, it will be easy to vary your arrangements to include more challenging shapes.

In Flower Arranging

As in any field, the right tools simplify your attainment of the ultimate goal. Sharp knives, shears, a variety of flower holders, chicken wire to crumple and wedge into containers to hold woody branches, florists’ clay to anchor holders to containers, and tape and wire to fasten small groups of flowers together are just a few of the items that will help. 

And to keep your arrangement fresh for a longer period, use commercial preservatives especially manufactured for this purpose. Specific instructions for their use are given on the packages.

Flowering Arranging Is Important

Most of all, it is important to be relaxed in flower arranging. It’s easy, fun, and can become a wonderful hobby—one every homemaker will find rewarding. Observation is an important asset. Learn by seeing and doing. 

Visit flower shows, ask your local library for illustrated books on flower arrangement—and practice using flowers from your garden and materials from fields and roadsides. 

And keep your arrangements simple. The flowers and plant materials are what you wish to display—don’t let the “frame” overshadow or dominate the picture!

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