CREATIVE BLOOM

Photography: Hails & Shine

Channel your inner florist and add vibrant colour to your home with this gorgeous flower arrangement. Alice Shepherd from She’s A Wildflower takes your through it step-by-step

TOOLS:
Snips/secateurs
MATERIALS:
Vessel – tip: select a shallow vessel with a wide opening;
Chicken wire; Floral tape – also called pot tape;
Lazy Susan (optional, but very handy);
BOTANICAL INGREDIENTS:
3-5 bunches of flowers (you may not need to use all the stems from each bunch,
but having a variety makes for an interesting arrangement);
2-3 bunches of foliage (same as above, you may not require full bunches).
PROCEDURE:
1. Measure the chicken wire so that it is approximately twice the width of the opening of the vessel you are using. Repeat this so you have two sheets of chicken wire and fold them over one another to create a ball like shape;
2. Wedge the chicken wire at the bottom of the vessel and to secure place two pieces of floral tape in a criss-cross over the top of the wire (as pictured) leaving approximately 1-2cm of tape on the vessel;
3. Fill the vessel with water approximately halfway to the top, do not overfill as the water level will rise as you begin to place your flowers and you can always top up the water level at the end if required;
4. If working on a low bench or table, elevate the vessel to waist height and use the Lazy Susan to allow you to easily view your arrangement at all angles;
5. Begin by placing foliage around the outside of the vessel to hide your mechanics (chicken wire and tape), place only a couple of stems in the centre and ensure you leave space for your flowers;
6. When placing your flowers, use the heavier items first (eg: natives or branches);
7. Place your other flowers amongst the foliage and chicken wire, be careful not to force stems. To create depth, cut flowers at different lengths so they are layered (but not squished!) – avoid creating lines where the same flower is vertically or horizontally adjacent to one another;
8. Repeat the above step until you have achieved your desired arrangement, remember to always turn your arrangement and stand back and view it from all angles to ensure your mechanics are covered;
9. Top up with water if required;
10. Stand back and admire your creation!

TIPS:
● I encourage you to select your favourite flowers and foliage! I would recommend choosing seasonal flowers in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colours;
● Don’t be afraid to forage for interesting flowers;
● Alternatively, visit your local florist and ask for their assistance in selecting the flowers and foliage for the desired look of your arrangement;
● Try choosing at least one delicate flower that you can use high in your arrangement, that “dances” above the other flowers;
● Raid your fruit bowl and pop some small pears or apples low in your arrangement, stick a couple of skewers into the fruit and place them in the arrangement.

ALICE’S SEASONAL FAVOURITES:
Summer: dahlias, David Austin roses, amaranthus, celosea;
Autumn: hydrangea (also a summer flower but the autumn tones are to die for), autumn foliage such as maple;
Winter: ranunculus, blossom, hyacinths, poppies, sweet pea.
Spring: peonies, lily of the valley, daphne, lilac.

SELECTING YOUR FLOWERS

1. Select seasonal flowers just as you would with your fruit and veg. Seasonal, locally grown flowers are often cheaper as there is more supply and they should last longer. Ask your florist to guide you as to what is in season (or see my suggestions below).
2. Select flowers in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colours.
3. Don’t be afraid to forage, most of the interesting flowers and foliages could be hiding deep in the back of your (or your neighbour’s) garden.
4. For an on-trend (or fail safe) look, opt for a large bunch of foliage or fruit stems instead of flowers.

CONDITIONING YOUR FLOWERS:

• Remove any foliage from the stems that will be below the water line to prevent bacterial growth (tip: keep any little flower offcuts and pop them in small bud vases to place around the home).
• Recut the stems (approx. 1cm) on an angle, repeat every two days. Cutting on an angle creates a larger surface area allowing stems to drink more water.
• Keep them in a cool room and out of direct sunlight, if placed in a heated environment they will wilt quicker.
• Refresh the water and wash the vase daily if possible, or every two days.

SIMPLE FLOWER ARRANGING TIPS FOR YOUR HOME:

1. Choose your vase wisely, the smaller the opening of the vase, the less flowers you will have to use (being cheaper) and the easier it is to handle and arrange. Keep your proportions in mind. For example, a tall bunch of blossom will require a tall vase.
2. Keep it simple. Don’t put yourself under pressure by trying to arrange the perfect mixed posy, try using just one variety in each vase and group a few vases together so it looks abundant, everything looks fabulous en masse!
3. When placing flowers in a vase start by criss crossing shorter stems, leaning them on the side of the vase to create a grid that will support the following stems to stay upright. Keep tall stems to the centre. Gradually add in shorter stems to create a dome-like arrangement, allowing your flowers to fall naturally;
4. If using flowers and foliage in the same vase, ensure your flowers sit higher than the foliage as they are the focal point.