Tag Archives: Floral Design

Workshop On Creative Design

Creative Design, Workshop II, January 20, 2015

Creative Design, Workshop II, January 20, 2015

Tuesday I attended the second session of a Workshop II floral design class offered through my garden club. We began the class by practicing leaf manipulation, then used the altered leaves to develop a Creative Design.

As a novice student in the area of floral design it is difficult to know, much less explain, exactly what creative floral design is. The goal I believe is to fabricate a design no one else has ever done (conceptual originality), using basic design principles that apply to any artistic endeavor (foundational standards), and exhibiting consummate craftsmanship. None of these criteria are met by the arrangement I created on Tuesday, but after having been throughout the exercise I do believe I am beginning to internalize the goals.

Our teacher, Betsy, has a network of floral suppliers and for a small fee she provides each student the flowers and foliage to complete the design. This is helpful so that we all start out with the appropriate materials each time. Betsy is a garden club member, an experienced floral designer and a flower show judge. Two other members assist with the class, both of whom are also flower designers, and one is also a judge. I really appreciate that these women volunteer their time and expertise to help educate club members in floral design.

For class this week we were asked to bring an interesting branch, 1-2 inches thick and at least 20 inches high. Yesterday my husband helped me prune an outlier branch from a Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) to use for this project. Unfortunately choosing a 20-inch section that had interesting curves proved challenging, but I sectioned a piece from the top that seemed to meet the criteria. I saved some of the wood for another project.

Branch pruned from Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

I cut a portion from this large branch pruned from Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Once in class the base of the branch had to be scored or split to allow the branch to be inserted into a 3-inch florist pin holder. The lines of the branch established the line of the design. What I learned as I moved through the course was that the branch I chose proved to be too wispy and busy, not really strong or hefty enough to compete with the weight of the leaves and flowers we used. Thankfully the teachers gave lots of helpful comments, explanations and hands-on assistance, so I probably learned more by having to compensate for the size of the branch.

With the branch in place we turned our attention to leaf manipulation. We began trimming, folding, cutting, braiding, weaving and looping our leaves. This activity could have consumed the entire two hours of the class. My teacher Betsy demonstrated an interesting technique using an aspidistra leaf. She applied peel-off UGlu adhesive patches along the back spine of the leaf and lay medium weight florist wire down the spine. Next she trimmed an inch-wide strip from the length of a second aspidistra leaf and used it to cover the wire. With the wire in place the leaf can be then be folded, scrunched, twisted or otherwise manipulated and the shape will hold.

Wired and folded aspidistra leaf

Wired and folded aspidistra leaf

Without a clear design idea in mind it took me a while to get started with the alterations I was so afraid of “messing up” which is always something I must always overcome when learning a new activity. By nature I am usually very reflective and like to weigh all the possibilities, but the class time was extremely limited of course. I finally conquered my timidity and began preparing the leaves.

Eventually I inserted an Fatsia leaf (without manipulating it), added an accordion-folded, wired Aspidistra leaf and add a couple of other rolled Aspidistras. I also made a loose loop using half-dozen strands of beargrass and used a quarter section of a fan palm to complete the foliage.

Fatsia and Fan Palm Leaves

The looped beargrass did not survive the car ride home so I learned a valuable lesson. The leaves have to be stapled, glued, wired or otherwise securely fastened.

Looped Bear Grass

Looped and Wrapped Beargrass

Manipulated leaves in Creative Design

Manipulated leaves and Asiatic lily in Creative Design

I really liked working with aspidistra leaves. Each one has a unique pattern.

Bicolored Aspidistra was trimmed to make it narrower, then rolled and glued.

Bicolored Aspidistra was trimmed to make it narrower, then rolled and glued.

By this time I became more decisive and ended up trimming away quite a lot of the wispy branches and several major ones. Less is more in creative design. With a great deal of conversation and guidance from the instructors the arrangement began to take shape. Betsy helped me place three tightly closed Asiatic lilies, the only flowers used in the design. Each lily was cut to be a different height. Two were placed in front and one was added in back near the base. It will be interesting to see how the design changes as the lilies open. After two days they have opened only slightly.

Creative Design

Creative Design

I brought home some leftover flowers and leaves so I can experiment with creative design some more this week. (The leaves were featured for January Garden Bloggers Foliage Day.)

Some of the materials had shifted around during the car ride so I reworked them before photographing the arrangement once I got home. The angle I worked from is hard to recapture in the photographs. Slight shifts in the camera angle really change the effect so the design integrity needs to be strong from all frontal and side points of view.

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Materials

Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)
Fatsia japonica
Arecaceae (Fan Palm)
Xerophyllum tenax (Beargrass)
Lilium (Asiatic lily)
Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) branch, 1-2 inches thick, at least 20 inches high
3-inch florist pin holder
Oasis Lomey 11″ Round Designer Dish – Black
UGlu Adhesive Strips

Having gone through the class this week I realize I have a lot of work to do to prepare for an upcoming Floral Design Guild event. For this I have to come up with a concept, select a container and appropriate background, devise necessary mechanics to ensure the arrangement stands up properly and select the flowers and foliage. February will be here soon. Hoping to come up with a bold and dynamic design, I also have to keep reminding myself to relax and enjoy the journey.

 

Crescent Design

I took a beginning-level floral design workshop two years ago through my local garden club. When I could not attend class on the day we studied Crescent Design, my teacher invited me to return for a make-up class. Yesterday I finally made it back.

Crescent is a fun design to make and everyone’s arrangements turned out well. All designs shared the basic crescent form, yet we commented how different each result was. Given that we started with the same instructions and same materials, each person’s unique approach was apparent.

The crescent design is asymmetrical. Think of the way the crescent moon looks. The longer curve is usually on the left in this design.

Crescent Design

Crescent Design

We formed the line of the crescent using stems of Israeli Ruscus and Bells of Ireland. Bells of Ireland have some natural curve and the ruscus can be slowly bent to encourage it into shape. It does not mean it is easy to keep that line curving though. Next the line was reinforced with flowers. We used spray roses, alstroemeria, and several sizes of carnations. The largest carnations were reserved to create a focal point near the bottom.

Left curve of crescent. Line was formed using Israeli Ruscus and Bells of Ireland.

Left curve of crescent. Line was formed using Israeli Ruscus and Bells of Ireland.

In a class like this the atmosphere is a bit frenzied since there is a limited amount of time to complete the assignment.  I always think I could have fixed this or that with a bit more time and even before I photographed the flowers I could see some changes that would improve the design. I let the bottom of the crescent become a little too heavy and should have left some negative space to help keep the eye moving from one side of the crescent to the other.

Nevertheless I was excited by the result.

Bottom of the crescent ended up a bit heavy.

Bottom of the crescent ended up a bit heavy.

I brought home some leftover flowers and several stems of Ruscus so I can play with crescent design some more this week.

Materials

3 stems Ruscus sp. (hypoglossum or hypophyllum) (Israeli Ruscus)
3 stems Moluccella laevis (Bells of Ireland)
3 stems White Spray Roses – petite flowers, 3 to 5 flowers per stem
3 stems White Large Carnations – one large flower per stem
3-4 stems White Spray Carnations (Mini Carnations) – many smaller flowers
3 stems Green Dwarf flowered Carnations – several small flowers on one stem
3 stems Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily)
6-inch clear, shallow dish
Floral foam brick

Carnations, Bells of Ireland and Alstroemeria

Carnations, Bells of Ireland and Alstroemeria

Lesson Notes

The instructor began the lesson by introducing two design principles, dominance and contrast, along with two design elements, color and texture. From last time she also reviewed the principles of balance and rhythm and the elements, color and form. We looked at many examples in the textbook and had an interesting discussion about why they worked. (Interestingly, some of the examples, we agreed, did not really work successfully and it was helpful to have the teacher and the other two women who were assisting her point out some quibbles they saw with some of the arrangements pictured in our book.)

It is hard to keep all these concepts in mind once flowers are in hand, but over time reviewing these design principles and elements improves and refines our sensibilities and taste.

Elements of Design
In flower arranging the basic design components or building blocks are balance, contrast, dominance, proportion, rhythm, scale.

Principles of Design
The principles guide how the elements are structured or arranged, leading to a cohesive design (color, form, line, space, texture).

Crescent Design

Crescent Design

As I mentioned today’s workshop was a make-up class from the beginner level class. Actually this year I am taking the second level workshop series and I look forward to meeting with that class next week. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to study with the women from the garden club who conduct these classes for the members.

Merry Christmas 2014!

Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Hope everyone has had a wonderful day. We celebrated Christmas today with gifts, phone calls with family in many corners of the country and dinner at our home with a special friend. Thanks for the many good wishes from my blogging friends.

In A Vase On Monday-Yuletide

In A Vase On Monday-Yuletide. As it looked on Monday with Camellias.

Yuletide camellias in the vase from Monday did not last long enough to see this holiday through, but an extra package of cranberries pulled from the freezer at the last moment gave the arrangement new life.

In fact, I like the result better than the original. More of the Husker Red Penstemon is visible now and the deeper red of the berries seems to accentuate the dark burgundy hue of the penstemon foliage.

The only other change was the addition of a piece of fruit, a Christmas orange. Looking at the photograph I think the color of a lime might have been nice instead. May have to try that.

View from above - Christmas Centerpiece 2014

View from above – Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Side view - Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Side view – Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Christmas Floral Gifts

Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly-3

Our dear friends surprised us yesterday with a Christmas vase of beautiful flowers. They are excellent gardeners who used to live across the street from us on Wave Road but now are across-the country-neighbors living in California.

Gift Arrangement with Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly

Gift Arrangement with Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly

The vase was filled with Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), white with yellow and red markings; pine needle bundles and pine cones; and holly leaves and berries; and all tied up with a satiny red bow. Many thanks to these good friends for this thoughtful gift.

Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly

Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly

Gift Arrangement with Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly

Gift Arrangement with Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), Pine, Holly

Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily)

Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily)

We had one other floral gift yesterday from neighbors down the street. I had not bought a poinsettia this year so was delighted to have one to add some traditional Christmas color.

Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)

Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)

However you may celebrate this time of year, I wish all my dear blogging friends the best of the season. I am honored and grateful each time you stop by to visit pbmGarden.

In A Vase On Monday—Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum and Yarrow

In A Vase On Monday-Arum and Yarrow

Today I am joining Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday that encourages garden bloggers to create fresh arrangements each Monday using materials found in our gardens.

November has been really cold here, but warmer temperatures on Sunday afternoon made foraging for vase materials a pleasant experience.

Despite the fact most of the garden has succumbed to recent freezes a single pink yarrow, a few sasanqua flowers and tiny violas were waiting to be chosen.

 

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

 

 

 

 

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

When first brought indoors the collection looked like a motley crew of mixed sizes and limited possibilities, but the interesting part of preparing a vase each week is seeing the personality of the blossoms and leaves emerge.

This week, Arum leaves provided a bold starting point and the other items seemed to fit seamlessly after that.

 

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

Arum italicum

Arum italicum

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Arum italicum and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

In A Vase On Monday-Arum Magic

 

I like the effect of pairing chartreuse sedum with the blue violas. The yarrow vase is my favorite individual arrangement, but it was fun moving the three vases around and experimenting with how they related to each other.

Materials

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Viola
Sedum
Arum italicum

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.

Foliage And A Vase

Time to catch up. I usually try to join Christina’s Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day (GBFD) to highlight garden foliage on the 22nd of each month, as well as Cathy’s weekly challenge, In A Vase On Monday, to create fresh arrangements each Monday using materials found in our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday-Quick Mantelpiece Display

In A Vase On Monday-Quick Mantelpiece Display

We had out-of-town family visiting for my husband’s birthday this weekend and what a wonderful time we shared.

I did not even venture into the garden this weekend but literally in the 6 minutes it took to make coffee early Sunday morning I assembled some week-old, leftover materials (from a design guild orientation) into a small arrangement for the mantel.

As a container I chose an anachronistic crystal ashtray, a wedding gift from years ago that has never been used. I trimmed and shaped the ends of a palm tree frond and inserted it into a floral pin holder. Next I placed two carnation stems to add a pop of color to the design. Carnations are not my favorite flowers but they have lasted well, I will say that for them. Finally I cut and folded some Aspidistra leaves and added them. The rendition of this design was rather crude, but perhaps there is potential for further development. [Meanwhile my daughter and I both had the same impression that this design was quite appropriate for Thanksgiving because it reminded us of a turkey. Can you see it?]

Now for foliage. In the first week of November my husband and I stopped at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, for a very brief visit. I had noticed several things that I wanted to share for Christina’s GBFD this month.

One is a majestic Dawn Redwood that we came across.

Gnarly roots of Dawn Redwood caught my attention.

Gnarly roots of Dawn Redwood caught my attention.

I admire this type of tree so was intrigued to read the description accompanying this particular one.

Dawn Redwood Plaque

Dawn Redwood Plaque

Dawn Redwood

Fossils show that Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostoboides) was a dominant coniferous tree in much of the northern hemisphere from about 90 to 15 million years ago. In 1941 a few living trees were surprisingly discovered in a remote part of western China. Seeds collected from them were germinated at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in 1948. The next year this tree, one of the original seedlings, was planted here.

When I finally looked up I enjoyed the long view skyward.

Dawn Redwood At Duke Gardens

Dawn Redwood At Duke Gardens

The steep slope between the parking lot and the visitor’s center featured an exuberant planting of Muhlenbergia capillaries (Pink Muhly Grass) that could not be ignored.

Muhlenbergia capillaries (Pink Muhly Grass) at Duke Gardens November 2, 2014

 

The formal terrace garden was serene the morning we were there. The weather that day was unseasonably cold and few people were around.

Terrace Garden at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Terrace Garden at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Lastly, this foliage along the Perennial Allée caught my attention. I like the color combination and textures.

Dynamic Lime Green And Purple Combination

Dynamic Lime Green And Purple Combination

Thanks to Christina for hosting Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day (GBFD) and to Cathy for hosting In A Vase On Monday. Visit each of them to see what they and others are sharing this week from their gardens.

Meditation Circle At MidNovember

Meditation Circle In MidNovember

Meditation Circle In MidNovember, 2014

The meditation circle was used for walking meditations this spring and summer, but I never got around to planting anything new until fall. During the first week of October I added red Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and blue Viola (Johnny-Jump Up). Both are blooming right through the unusually cold, record-setting weather we have had for the past week.

A few violas also volunteered from last year but not in their designated spot.  The planting areas are supposed to form the “wall” between the pavers that form the path.  Instead the violas and actually, quite a few Penstemon Digitalis (Beardtongue) ‘Huskers Red,’ have spread themselves around in-between the pavers. I left most of them for now even though they have not followed the rules.

Early next spring I want to add back some Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft).  This image from  a couple of years ago shows one of my favorite plantings in the circle (of course, it was May). Not much is left of it today except the very reliable Husker Red.

Meditation Circle May 3, 2012 Foreground: Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)  Center: Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) Upper Right and center: Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue) Upper Right: Angelonia

Meditation Circle May 3, 2012
Foreground: Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)
Center: Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)
Upper Right and center: Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Upper Right: Angelonia

When the labyrinth was first conceived I had imagined planting it one time with perfectly chosen plants and reaping the pleasure for years to come, but instead I guess I will reap the pleasure of devising and experimenting with new planting schemes. I had not taken into account at the time such outside forces as drought, standing water or voles.

Several garden visitors have remarked at how the meditation circle has grown in and become more integrated into the rest of the garden. It is true, but in some ways I prefer the more spare and stark look it had when it was first built.

This year the various thymes thickened and crept toward the pavers. I thought I would like that effect but now I am tempted to trim them back to be more tidy. It looks drab now but Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme) in the center of the circle bloomed from the first of July until the end of October. All the thymes should remain evergreen through the winter.

Detail of thymes creeping over the path.

Detail of thymes creeping over the path.

Magnolia Leaves

Today’s monthly garden club meeting featured Jihye Schumann, a designer who began studying floral design 14 years ago in Korea. She demonstrated making arrangements for the home with fruits, vegetables and flowers. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to get pictures of her more elaborate creations, but I did win one of the small ones in a raffle.

Jihye showed how to create a simple and inexpensive display to decorate a tea table by filling three inexpensive glass cups with chrysanthemums from a grocery store and found magnolia leaves.  My photograph does not do this justice. Since I could bring home only one of the cups I cannot show the full effect, but the display of three looked quite nice. She suggested adding candles and a teapot to the three cups of flowers and everyone nodded, envisioning how lovely that grouping might look.

Garden Club Raffle Prize

Garden Club Raffle Prize

The interesting part was how Jihye manipulated the fresh magnolia leaves. First she stacked and aligned about a dozen leaves so they were all pointing the same direction, then she cut them in half with scissors.

Next she restacked the leaves tightly, such that the cut sides all faced down. She inserted the stack into the container with the cut side down. She repeated the process two more times so there were three groups of leaves and then she just added a few stems of flowers for color. Simple, but unusual.

Magnolia leaves, stacked and cut in half provide the foliage.

Magnolia leaves, stacked and cut in half provide the foliage.