Become a floral zen warrior by mastering the art of the parallel design.

This weeks design is all about proportions and creative restraint.

The definition of a parallel design is 75% of the material is facing in one direction and 25% is free form.

This design is a vertical parallel arrangement but you can make it horizontal or a diagonal as long as you follow the same 75% by 25% rule.

It is best to use very linear flowers on long stems with a single output at the top for this design. This helps to create a very striking, uniform and graceful effect.

The even placement and spacing of the flower material is also imperative to the success of this design. The eye must be able to follow the lines in this design smoothly, anything inserted in the wrong position will be visually jarring.

So let’s get started…

Flowers/ foliage/ sundries

4 x Dianthus ‘Minerva’ (carnations)

3 x Chrysanthemum ‘Baltazar’

2 x Cornus Flaviramea (dogwood)

3 x Hypericum Coco Bamboo

3 x Liatris Spicata

3 x Papaver Heads (poppy)

3 x Rosa ‘Greenway’

3 x Setaria Zazou

Flat Moss or Sand to top dress your design

A container, I used a 15cm Oasis black designer cube. You can get these from a wholesaler or from Amazon. However, you could use a plant pot. Whatever you use make sure it is fairly wide at the top so you can get a decent about of foam in. This creates a larger surface area for the flowers to go into.

2/3rds block of soaked Oasis foam


– First soak your foam and cut it to size using a florist knife. My cube took 2/3rds of a block of foam. Make sure the foam fits snugly in your container.

– Now it’s time to add your flowers. The old adage ‘measure twice, cut once‘ applies a lot in this design!

Place your largest flowers first, in this case the Liatris and the Chrysanthemums. You want to insert them into foam at 3 different heights and depths. Make sure the space between each flower is equal otherwise it will disrupt the balance of the design.

– Next insert the Roses, again making sure they are evenly spaced. It helps to add the tallest and the shortest first then put the middle one in. To help with placement, I decided to add a rose just underneath each of the Chrysanthemums.

– Time to move on to the Dianthus (carnations) these are tricky. Their stems are slim and bendy so they can be tricky to insert straight. Make sure you place them deep into the foam to keep them stable.

– It’s coming together nicely isn’t it? If you were feeling in a minimal mood you could stop adding flowers around now and just cover the foam with moss, sand or gravel.

– If you carrying on it’s time to add the final touches to fill up any negative space. Insert 3 sprigs of hypericum berries, keeping them evenly spaced. Then your 3 poppy seed heads, following the same rule.

Add some extra height and grace with a long dogwood twig inserted into the back of the design.

– Finally soften and add some playful movement with 3 stems of Setaria grass.

– Cover visible Oasis foam with moss to finish.

– Step back and admire! This design seems simple but it takes time and practice to master!

You must practice to become a floral zen warrior.

To achieve a harmonious outcome you must master clean, straight stems and evenly placed flowers. The spacing and repetitive nature of this design is supposed to calm the mind ????️

This is a level 3 creative craft standard design that I produced during my evening class at Birmingham Botanical Gardens