Knowing a few basic principles of flower arranging can help you add beauty and life to your home. This activity will help your family learn these principles.
Flowers from your own garden, or cut flowers from a florist
A container, usually one of simple design
Tools or materials to hold the flowers in place such as one or more of the following:
A metal pinpoint “frog,” available at variety stores
A block of “oasis,” available from florists
Some pebbles or sand
Some crunched up pfitzer juniper or other branches to be stuffed in the vase
Florist’s clay to hold frog in place (if you are using a metal frog)
Scissors or snippers (some prefer a sharp knife to cut flowers on a slant)
To help flowers last longer—
Use clean containers to slow bacterial growth.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to make a clean cut on the flower stem.
Cut most flowers the evening before using them and place them in a bucket of warm water (too hot or too cold may shock the flowers).
Fill the bucket of water up to within a few inches of the heads of the flowers and put them in a cool place overnight.
Roses are best picked in midafternoon, when the sap is up in the stem.
Dahlias and poppies are often burned at the end of the stem, or recut under water.
Remove all dirt and old leaves from the flowers. Remove leaves that will be under water. Place a frog firmly in the bottom of the container with clay. You may use other items to hold the flowers in place, such as oasis, sand, or chicken wire.
Have a design in mind when you start arranging. Geometric shapes are most commonly used. Try a triangle, a half circle, an S shape, or a rectangle (see illustration). Start by placing the longer stems with smaller flower heads in the background.
Usually place the larger flowers closer to the lip or edge of the container. Cut the larger flower stems shorter. Cut each flower stem a different length. The arrangement is more effective when the stems are at all different levels.
Keep in mind that simplicity is the key to a beautiful floral design. You don’t need a lot of flowers. Actually, each one will show better when the arrangement is not overcrowded.
Look for gracefully bent branches and let them form the outer design. Follow these lines with other flowers and filler branches, but don’t cover the original graceful line. Experiment with color harmonies to see which colors blend well.
Keep the following things in mind as you choose flowers for a vase: scale of flowers to container (smaller flowers in smaller vase, large flowers in larger vase); balance of flowers (see that the arrangement is not too heavy on one side); harmony with the other furniture or surroundings. When putting flowers on a dining table, keep the flower arrangement rather low, usually below eye level, so that it won’t interfere with conversation.
Use the following illustrations as guides for flower arranging:
Make Christmastime arrangements with pine branches and red carnations or holly and other evergreens.
Make dried or artificial flower arrangements using the principles of design discussed above. Have a family outing to gather the dried materials—weeds, pods, and leaves.
Try making arrangements in different types of containers from your kitchen—on a bread board, in a frying pan, in a kettle. Look for toys that might hold flowers for a child’s room.
In the summer, have your own flower show. Each family member can make a design to brighten the home.
Visit the local flower shows in your area.
Consider planting in your garden different varieties of flowers that could be used as arrangements in the home or as corsages.