Seasonal Foraged Floral Arrangement
Designing a floral arrangement can be quite daunting, but I’m here to share that it can be fun.
We’ve finally made it to spring, which means flowers are here and more are on the way! Whether or not you have a garden, its pretty easy to access flowers no matter where you are this time of year.
If you have a garden, do you ever find yourself with a plethora of flowers all at once? Do you normally just toss them in a vase quickly, but find yourself wishing you could arrange them in a organic, but intentional way? If so, this post is for you!
As the owner of Foraged Floral, I’ve been professionally designing with flowers for years and I want to share a few tips with you as we approach flower season.
To get started…
Ingredients - For this particular arrangement, we purchased a small bunch of dahlias from a local farm, and the rest of the flowers/ foliage are from our garden or foraged. When designing, try not to go overboard with the number of ingredients. Look for different sizes and textures when it comes to both flowers and foliage. Look for focal flowers (dahlias, large roses, etc) and secondary flowers (smaller flowers like hellebore or ranunculus) to add visual interest. Any arrangement will look too heavy with only focal flowers, or not interesting with just secondary flowers.
Colors - I personally love sticking to a particular color family when designing, but then again sometimes including all colors is a fun place to start. Explore and try different things here!
Tools - It’s always a good idea to have a great set of garden clippers or shears. The sharper the cut, the better, for the flowers. Depending on whether or not you want to make a bouquet or a centerpiece, you will need water proof tape and a vase. In the photos below you will see me designing a bouquet, but keep in mind that all the tips I share apply to both centerpiece and bouquet design.
Photos by Sarah Carpenter Photography
Once I have everything I need, I love to lay it all out flat on the table, prepped and ready. It is so helpful to see everything lined up and ready to go. To prep each stem for a bouquet, I like to clean off all of the leaves towards the bottom. For a centerpiece, I normally keep all leaves on until I know where I want to put each stem.
To begin designing a bouquet, start by making your shape. I like to start with a bit of greenery in the shape of an “X.” Then add your heavy focal flowers in place by tucking the cleaned off stems into the X. It’s a little like sewing, stuff the cleaned off stem into the center of your X and then re-position. Once you have your large focal flowers in place, move on to secondary flowers, then any other smaller, light flowers you have. Always end with the lightest, most delicate flowers. There’s always a lot of shifting around at first, and that’s okay. As you add more flowers you can continue to shift until you are happy with the bouquet.
All of this applies to centerpiece design too, except instead of holding the stems, they go directly into your water filled vase. Make sure no leaves are under water when you place them into your vase!
I always like to work on the front of an arrangement first, then once that is finished I will shift my focus to the back. For bouquets, the back is always less important. For centerpieces, you may or may not have a back at all. It all depends on where you plan on placing it in your home.
It also helps to take breaks, so you don’t get frustrated or bogged down. When building a bouquet, I often will get several stems in only to stop and hold it out in front of me to look at the full picture. How’s my shape? Is the original X formation still holding in place to where I started? Are my flowers too squished on top of each other? Gently move them around to make sure there is air and lightness in your arrangement. In the garden, you don’t often see flowers so smashed together. They grow out in their own way, towards the sun. Always keep that in mind.
Once you are finished, grab your water proof tape and tie it up. Not too tight (you don’t want all your lightness to go back to being smashed), but not too loose (they need to stay in place). Cut the stems evenly and as short as you like. Tie it with some ribbon and you have your completed bouquet!
If you are designing a centerpiece keep chugging along and adding flowers as you see fit. It takes time and practice to know when to stop. You never want to overcrowd!
Another thing I have seen in the past is that designers actually start designing centerpieces in their hand, as a bouquet, and then as they finish instead of tying it up with tape, they cut the stems and place directly in a vase. Could be a helpful thing to do if you are looking for another option.
Take these tips and put them into practice. I’d love to see how your arrangements turn out, no matter the season!
I think the biggest takeaway from this entire post would be not to overcrowd. Leave space in between your flowers. Add dimension by putting some flowers deep into the bouquet or centerpiece, and leaving some flowers popping out taller than the rest. If you’ve ever seen a flower field, you’ll see that not all of the flowers are the same height, they are all out there doing their own thing…reaching for the sun.