Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Art Of Flower Arranging

There are hard and fast rules in ikebana and other structured styles of flower arranging and words that professional florists use, like harmony, rhythm and unity, can be intimidating. If you take a more casual approach to your flowers, there are a few easy guidelines that make creating bouquets a fun, easy and satisfying endeavor.

First, choose a vase with the right shape for your flowers. Bear in mind that tall and narrow arrangements are dramatic, while full arrangements convey warmth, and the wider the mouth of the vase, the more flowers you'll need. Try to avoid a busy, overly patterned vessel that detracts from the flowers. Most bouquets are based on two shapes: triangular/fan and dome/circular. To achieve balance, keep the height of the flowers approximately 1.5 times the height of the vase ~ same for the width. With a large, heavy vase, you can go up to 3 times the height of the vase, but not much more. Stick to two or three types of flowers and one or two colors, to begin with. You can place your foliage first or use the foliage to fill holes - there is no "right" way. The largest flowers should be toward the center, not at the edges or at the top. Choose an odd number of blossoms and place them at different levels, facing different directions and rotate the vase so it looks good from all sides. A leaf or two overlapping the edge of the vase can give a finished look. Try to balance the contrast of flowers and greenery to keep the composition pleasing to the eye. Whether you get your flowers from the grocery store, a roadside stand or your own garden, a well-crafted bouquet is a thing of beauty and will bring pleasure to all who see it.

The 19th century painting is by Otto Scholder, titled "The Flower Arrangement".