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Home > Essentials of Gardening > Flower Arrangement
Flower Arrangement in a Garden
Flowers for Different Se.. Flower Arranging Designs.. Use Of Vases
Flower Arrangement in a GardenThe outline of any flower group is influenced by the shape of the vase. The simplest way to get the outline clear is to place in position two or three flowers to indicate the general shape, putting in first the highest central flower and the two sides; or, for a centre-piece on a table, to fix the total length: then, within this framework, to build up the whole.

Proportion is all important. If the flowers are too wide, too low or too high for the vase, the effect will never be good. Generally speaking, choose flowers that are one and a half times the height of your vase. But always be wary of shortening the stems of the flowers. Wherever it is possible to achieve the desired variations in height by pushing the stem farther into the vase, do so rather than chop off a piece.

There are several reasons for this. In the first place the stem seems to take on a more natural, flowing line. Secondly, it is more likely to remain permanently below the water line. And thirdly, you cannot put the stem on again if, by chance you change your mind.

Soft and malleable stems may be induced to take on the required curve by very gentle massage- arum lilies are a case in point.

In advocating the removal of the leaves from most flowers there is one very good argument for doing it- even apart from the fact it helps to preserve certain flowers. Try picking a great deal more lilac and taking off the leaves. Fill your vase very full of its branches, and you will recapture your dream. Try the same experiment with crab apple and cherry blossom.

But flowers with dramatic whiteness, such as magnolias, camellias, gloxinias and gardenias, look best with their own leaves. The most generally useful hint in flower arrangement, is this - try to recapture something of the essential quality of the flower, or of the effect it gives when growing.

For instance, the sweet rocket is a mass of clean white flowers, and its vision in the garden is massed white. If you pick a dozen or two long stems and put them in a tall vase, you will lose something of this effect. It is preferable to cut rather short stems and crowd them into small containers. This helps to keep that sense of massed whiteness.


The simpler the background, the more clearly will the character of the arrangement be seen. Flowers are seen to their best advantage set against an opaque background, with the light shining on them. A mixed group of flowers when set against light may look confused.

The Use of Colour

Mixed Colours Mixed Colours
One gets a better and less fussy effect by introducing different colours in broad strokes, rather than in spots. For example, in a bowl of mixed tulips or sweet peas, flowers of one colour, used in proximity, give a cleaner effect than if they are dotted about in ones and twos. And in the case of mixed flowers, two or three flowers of one kind of against two or three flowers of one kind against two or three flowers of one another may give a better effect than if they are put in units.

Flower Arrangement in a GardenContrast of colour, is more generally considered than contrast of mass. But on this point there is much to be learned from the still life master pieces of old Dutch and Flemish painters. They grouped together massive fruits and flowers, delicate ears of corn, tendrils of vine and fine grasses. This can be copied by putting a delicate frond of fern against a bold leaf and so making a contrast of mass and texture.
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