With today's busy lifestyles, many people lose touch with the natural world. But a simple bouquet of fresh flowers can slow a person down and brighten up even a cheerless day. And in the midst of a lovely spring or summer day, having a vase of fresh flowers indoors can bring the outdoors inside and extend the brightness of the season. Whether you plan to cut flowers from your own yard or buy them from a local shop, a few simple tips will help you make your flower arrangements sparkle.
Tools For the Job
Gather tools together so you will always have them on hand when you're ready to arrange flowers. A sharp pair of scissors or clippers is a must if you plan to pick flowers yourself or if you need to shorten florist flowers. Other useful items to have on hand include: florist blocks of green Styrofoam or florist frogs (wire contraptions that hold multiple stems upright), ribbons and raffia for tying around vases or bouquets and florist wire for shaping stems.
Items Other Than Flowers
No doubt you will want to enhance your flower arrangements with all sorts of other natural or artificial items. Keeping a supply of pine cones, grasses and dried twigs on hand allows you to use those items in your arrangements immediately. If you plan to create flower arrangements on a regular basis, begin to gather vases and potential vases so that you will have an assortment of those to use as well.
Determine Your Purpose
Decide whether you want an arrangement simply for your own pleasure in the flowers and scents of the arrangement, or whether you want to celebrate a specific occasion such as a season, a person's birthday or an elegant Oscar Night dinner. Your answer will determine whether you want to focus on a loose, multicolored bouquet of daises and zinnias cut from your garden one or an arrangement with more defined structure composed of roses and lilies unified in one color scheme and bought at the local flower shop.
Traditionally, arrangements fall into different categories of shapes, from loose bouquets to those with a specific shape, such as a pyramid, circle or oval. More structured arrangements with set shapes have a more formal tone or feel and are more appropriate for formal occasions, while loose bouquet shapes are a better match for an informal occasion.
Once you master arranging flower in the traditional shapes, you may want to explore the Japanese art of Ikebana. Unlike the symmetrical arrangements most often seen in the U.S., Ikebana prizes asymmetry and the use of empty space. You can also see this style in Japanese paintings and gardens, where the frame of the picture or the garden extends beyond traditional borders. To suggest a wholeness of nature that includes both earth and sky, Ikebana uses many leaves and flowerless branches as well as flowers themselves.