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Enjoy fresh cut flowers through basic arranging

July 27, 2008
By Doris K. Guyon, For The Leader-Herald

"Never say Never" when it comes to flower arranging.

Enjoy your fresh flowers twofold - first when you pick them or purchase them and - second when you place each stem in your own container.

Rather than plunk your bouquet in a vase full of water, try placing those stems with an eye on design.

Before you do anything, cut the stems on a slant under running water.

This gives them more drinking space to keep fresh longer. Remove all leaves from stems for they sap the energy.

If you have buds in the group, let them be the uppermost stems and surround them in next in size so on down reducing the length of stems having the largest flowers as center of interest at the bottom.

Inserting greenery compliments the arrangment and is most pleasing to the eye.

Some examples are - leather leaf fern (from the florist), laurel leaves , iris, lily, peony leaves, or a variety of evergreen in winter.

There now, you haven't just placed a bouquet in the vase, you've made a design.

For a really good design, the composition must possess balance, harmony, and rhythm.

The next step is to try your hand at arranging in a block of oasis placed in a low container.

Oasis is a man made substance used by florists and garden club members that is soaked in water for a few hours and supports the stems and supplies the water in an arrangement.

Oasis may be purchased by the block from Wal-Mart and most craft stores.

Check the label for they now have an oasis to be used in arranging silk flowers.

The same principle for creating a design in a vase applies here. In this case the tallest stems should be 2 times the height of the container.

The design is the form or the shape of the composition. An acceptable design must possess unity, scale, and accent.

Let's not bite off too much to begin with and just think of unity, the first principle now.

The arrangement as a whole must be a unit.

Each part must be so related to every other part that the result is oneness.

Whatever the materials used - flowers, foliage, container, base, accessories - they must blend to make a unified whole. As an example, you wouldn't use an old army shoe (and I've seen this in a flower show) as a container for your roses.

Likewise, a large sunflower would be most inappropriate as a companion to the roses but would be a good choice for a bold container such as the Army shoe should you wish to go in that direction.

If this piques your interest, your local library can supply you with books and many communities have garden clubs that are looking for new members.

P.S. Anyone who has learned basic flower arranging, can go on and apply the same principles to the new concepts.



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