Earlier this month, an article from the New York Times caught my eye. It was on the subject of floral arranging and its resurgence among the younger set. I frequently wish I was more adept at arranging my own flowers, especially since a reasonable florist in Vienna is very difficult to find (and certainly if one is not willing to consider bankruptcy). Making the euro go far for flowers is key here as often a single stem of something as simple as a tulip, even in season, can cost 2-3 euros, roses 3-4 euros, and more elaborate flowers, such as hydrangeas between 7-9 euros – for just one! Trial and error is a bit less forgiving at these prices.
The article made me think of our very own Ms. Lujo. Ms. Lujo has been learning the art of floral arranging by signing up at her local church’s group and took some time to interview on the basics of floral arranging and her advice. Look for the interview in tomorrow’s post but in the meantime, here are some tips from the Little Flower School as told to the New York Times. While these particular arrangements that were coming out of the school were a bit too “English garden” for my taste, these are some good basic rules to follow when creating your own arrangements at home.
Step 1: Pick the base material — bushier foliage, branches, flowers with sturdier stems — and place it in the vase so that the stems cross over one another. This is the infrastructure of the arrangement, the web that will hold the next flowers you add. (We also used a flower frog, or spiked disk, taped to the inside floor of the vase to help anchor the stems.) The base also determines the size and shape of your creation, which should typically be one and a half times the size of your vessel.
“It’s like cooking,” Ms. Owen said. “This is the foundation, the broth for your soup.” The teachers encouraged us to turn the arrangements around as though they were on lazy susans, the best way to fill out all sides.
Step 2: Add “face” flowers, which are the larger blooms, the attention-getters. Peonies, dahlias, hydrangeas and roses are all face flowers. Do not put your bigger flowers on the same plane; it looks strange and makes the arrangement appear flat. Fill out the middle with flowers of different heights.
Step 3: The tall flowers added last, like scabiosa, with its slender stem and small, contained blossom, are what Ms. Owen and Ms. Ryhanen call the “wispy gestures,” the more delicate forms that draw your eye upward. But, Ms. Ryhanen added, rules can always be broken. Purple basil — a fragrant, richly colored herb — “could be a base flower, but one with an especially nice structure, with interesting curvature to it, could be used as a third-tier flower.”
All photography from the Little Flower School.