Flower arranging is an art that is hundreds of years old. It involves taking cut flowers, greenery and other natural elements and arranging them in an attractive way. Usually, the stem end of the flowers and greenery are placed in a container holding water in order to increase the life of the plant material that would quickly wilt otherwise. There are three basic types of flower arrangements.
Line arrangements accentuate single flowers or stems and may contain only a few items. The idea behind a line arrangement is to display a particular item without the clutter of other items such as extra greenery or filler flowers. For example, one or two line flowers, such as gladiolas, may be displayed upright in a shallow container with other elements placed lengthwise across the top of the container creating a simple and elegant look. Line arrangements were made popular by the Japanese and reflect their architectural and gardening styles.
Mass arrangements are very popular in the U.S. and are what most people think of when visualizing a floral arrangement. They include greenery to give the arrangement its basic shape, which can be full and round or tall depending on the occasion. Then, smaller flowers are added to create mass followed by larger flowers. The larger flowers are the most important part of the arrangement rather than any particular formal shape. Your typical vase arrangement including roses, greenery and small filler flowers, such as Baby's Breath, is an example of a mass arrangement. Also natural style garden arrangements that look like a handful of flowers just picked from the garden and placed in a vase would be considered a mass arrangement. Mass arrangements can be any size and include almost any flower.
Line-Mass arrangements are used when making formal floral designs such as arrangements for funerals or church services. When a line-mass arrangement is made, a definite line is first made with line flowers such as gladiolas followed by the addition of greenery. Then, smaller filler flowers and large flowers are added within the line flowers and greenery to create mass. A casket spray or an arrangement created on an easel for a funeral is the best example of a line-mass arrangement. Also, a one-sided fan shaped arrangement, that may be seen in a church, is also an example of a line-mass arrangement. In each case, you can see a definite line of longer line flowers giving the arrangement its basic shape.