My mum was a great gardener and a very keen one. The borders in her garden were deep and full of large shrubs, offset against the prettiest English roses and flowers. As a result, I remember frequently being out in the garden with my mum – maybe, this is where my love for gardening stemmed from.
Gardening for me is pure escapism and even though my mum is no longer with me, I always feel connected to her when I’m out in mine. They always say that certain flowers remind you of certain people and for my mum it’s a yellow rose. At my childhood home we had a huge one climbing up the side of the house and the smell was amazing. As a result, whenever I see a yellow Rose, I’m always reminded of my mum. While I’m unable to give my mum a bouquet of flowers I always make an arrangement to remember her by and to say thank you for being my mum. This year I’m putting together a tall vase arrangement and thought I would share my design.
The first thing to do is to condition your flowers to help maximise the life of your blooms. I recently wrote a blog on this – to re-familiarise yourself with the ‘how to’, click here.
Once conditioned, I group my flowers and foliage into piles and pop them into vases of water. This helps ensure they are getting a good drink while you are putting the arrangement together. It also means that you have everything easily to hand.
Next, add some chicken wire to the base of the vase. This helps provide some support to the flowers and foliage. Be careful not to pop in too much as the more flowers and foliage you add the more support you will naturally get.
To help create the structure and backbone to the design, I start by adding the foliage to the vase. I’ve used three types of foliage; Eucalyptus Populus, Cinerea and Parvifolia and I start by using the most structured piece – in this case the Parvifolia. I then repeat adding the second and then the third, all following the shape of the design.
In terms of the shape, for this arrangement I’ve gone for an asymmetrical type design. I’m therefore using this shape to determine the angle and the length of each piece of foliage added. It’s also important to add different lengths of foliage to help create a depth to the design.
Don’t overly worry about getting it 100% right as I do find that the more you add the more you tend to move things about – it’s all part of the process. My general rule is that there should be enough foliage to have built up a basic framework but still gaps to then add your fillers and flowers.
Once you have added all of the foliage, the next step is to add the filler – I’ve used Limonium Sin China White. The aim of a filler is to, along with the foliage provide structure and bulk to the arrangement and to help support the flowers. Fillers tend to be very moveable, meaning you can easily slot them in under the foliage and create a great depth to the design. They are also great at filling in gaps so be sure to keep some back for the end to help fill in any gaps after all flowers have been added.
The final step is to add your flowers. I’ve used two – Astrancia Billion Stars and a very delicate yellow rose. I started by scattering the Astrantia throughout the design, adding them at varying lengths and angles to create a depth to the arrangement. It’s also important to not forget about the top of the vase. I always try and drape flowers and foliage around the top of the rim so you can’t see where the vase and the arrangement meet.
I personally find it easier to add the focal flowers (the roses) in last as by this time you can see what the design looks like and where the flowers may naturally fit. I do try to follow an S shape when placing the flowers but my advice would always be to go with what feels and looks right to you. Flower arranging is very unique and I believe, should be a reflection of how you want the design to look.
Once I think I’m done I then take a picture of the design with my phone – I find it such a useful way of seeing the design through another pair of eyes. Another great tip is to continually take a step back to view your design. You can go a little design blind!
Finish off with using some of the filler you kept back to pop in any gaps.
Remember there’s no reason to just dedicate your bouquet, present or wave from afar to just your mum. I like to thank all the women who have been important in my life as a way of showing my appreciation and love for everything they do.
With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot –
Find out more about me – www.flowersandlifestylebymargot.co.uk