Tag: floristry

Flower Arrangements

How to Create the Perfect Hand-tied Bouquet

Hello! Today’s post will show you how to create a beautiful and professional looking gift wrapped hand-tied bouquet with spiralled stems, perfect to give as a present.

Lily and Rose bouquet
Learning to spiral stems takes practice. You must always insert the stems into the bouquet in the same direction to avoid crossing the stems. Also remember to turn your bouquet in your hand after you place each stem- this makes it easier to spiral when you are a beginner. Another top tip is to work in threes to create a pleasing pattern. Finally don’t grip your flowers too tightly. You should loosely hold the stems between you thumb and index finger.

Below is the usual list of flowers and foliage but you can use any flowers you like. For best results, choose four or five different varieties of flowers and foliage and select a mixture of flower head sizes, textures and shape to create good rhythm and harmony in your design.

Consider also your colour palette. Try to select flowers that compliment each other or go for tints and tones of the same colour for a harmonious result.

So let’s get started…

Flowers and sundries

1 x Aster Monte Cassino

3 x Spray carnations

3 x Standard carnations

3 x Chrysanthemum

1 x Eucalyptus Gunnii

3 x Hypericum

1 x Lily

3 x Roebelini leaves

3 x Rose Dynamic

Small bunch of salal of ruscus

String and pot tape

3 x squares of cellophane

2 x squares of tissue paper

1 x living vase box or gift bag

Conditioning your flowers

Make sure all your flowers have been conditioned before you begin arranging.

– Start by removing the extra foliage off your stems from around 2 /3rds down. Carefully cut or scrape off any rose thorns.

– Cut the ends of the stems at a 45 degree angle and place them in fresh water with a little flower food so they can have a good drink.

– Ideally you should condition flowers overnight before arranging but a couple of hours will suffice if you don’t have time. The longer you condition your flowers for the stronger they will be and they will break less easily.

Method of construction

– First take your lily stem and hold it vertically in you hand. Next take your Aster stem and add it your lily. Still keeping the stems straight in your hand add your stem of eucalyptus. You have now created the centre, focal point of your bouquet.

– Next we need to start spiralling. Take 3 pieces of your salal and add them to your bouquet at a 45 degree angle. Turn you bouquet in your hand after each addition and ensure each piece of salal is added to the bunch in the same direction.

– Salal is added to this design purely to pack out your hand tied by giving you more stems to hold and to stop the more expensive stems from moving around in your hand. So keep the Salal low down in your design. See picture below.

– Now you need to add your sets of three stems. First insert your Chrysanthemums, turning your bouquet after each placement. Next add your three standard carnations in between the Chrysanthemum. Pack with some extra Salal at this point. Now it’s time to put in your Roses. Still adding each stem in at the same angle and regularly turning your bouquet. You should see a spiral forming.

– Next insert your Standard Carnations, turning your bouquet as you go. As you are adding each set of stems you should gradually insert them lower than the previous set so you create a soft domed effect. In-between the Carnations add in your three stems of Hypericum berries. Then, finally add your Spray Carnations.

– Create a collar for your design out of the three Roebelini leaves. Make sure you don’t cover your other flowers too much with these leaves. The collar is there mainly to protect the other stems and finish off the design.

– Before you tie off your bouquet pull up any stems that may have sunk in your hand. Especially the central Lily and the Roses. When you are happy tie off tightly with a piece of string making sure no foliage is below the binding point. Tape over the string with pot tape for extra security. Cut all the stems to the same length. Successfully spiraled stems should stand unaided.

– To gift wrap your hand tied take your square of cellophane and fold it in half off set so you create two points.

– Next fold a square of tissue paper the same and put it inside the cellophane

– Now wrap you bouquet with the cellophane and tissue paper making sure you do not cover your flowers with too much wrap. Secure the wrap at the binding point with string.

Cut a square of cellophane and stand your bouquet in the centre of it, gather up the sides of the cellophane to create a ‘bubble’ around the stems. Tie in place with string and tape. Then, fill the ‘bubble’ with water to create the aqua pack.

– Finally place your finished bouquet in a living vase or gift bag ready to be gifted to your lucky person!

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

Flower Arrangements

10 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Flowers

In this weeks post I will share with you 10 little gems to help you breeze your way through organising your wedding flowers.

1. Budget! Let your florist know how much you can spend at your initial consultation and let them make suggestions that are within your range. It’s always best to have a rough figure in mind- you don’t want to fall in love with lots of ideas that you can’t afford!

2. Consider choosing seasonal flowers. If you are a bride who doesn’t have their heart set on a particular flower this is a great budget friendly option.

Just tell your florist your colour scheme and they will fill your venue with an abundance of flowers for less than you might think.

Imagine a pretty barn reception in April filled with little jars of seasonal blooms like ranunculus, anemone and tulips. Or a bridal bouquet at a late Summer festival wedding made with sunflowers, dahlias and cosmos.

3. Take Pinterest and wedding blogs with a pinch of salt.

They are fab for a bit of inspiration and a great way to illustrate to your florist the kind of style you want, but don’t get carried away!

A lot of the images on Pinterest are meant to be aspirational. Often the images are from staged photoshoots not real weddings so the cost of recreating them would just be too high unless you have a mammoth budget. Also sometimes the flowers featured aren’t suitable for button holes and bouquets as they don’t fair well out of water for more than a few hours.

4. Buy your dress before you choose your flowers. The shape and style of your dress will have a massive impact on the type of flowers and size of bouquet you choose. For example a romantic ball gown dress would be complimented by a large round bouquet of blousy roses. Or a wild, trailing hand-tied bouquet would match perfectly with a floaty bohemian gown.

5. Consider the theme of your wedding venue. Obviously there will be times when a contrast will work wonderfully but more often then not picking flowers that compliment your venue will work best. Or at least it’s a good place to start!

6. Shop around. When I was planning my wedding I contacted and met with several florists before booking someone. It’s a great idea to get a good idea of prices but I also think it’s really important to choose a supplier who is enthusiastic about your ideas and someone you can build a positive relationship with.

Grooms Rose Button hole

7. Looking for something unique? Why not go for a piece of fresh flower jewellery instead of a traditional bouquet for a more contemporary look. Or maybe a bouquet for you and pretty wrist corsages for your maids? There are also other options besides a hand tied. Draw inspiration from contemporary European floral design pioneered by Gregor Lersch.

8. Collect your own containers. This is another budget friendly option and also perfect for the crafty bride. Your florist will probably have vases and jars available to hire but to keep costs down and personalise your big day you could collect and decorate your own.

9. Make your arrangements work harder. If you are having ceremony flowers see if you can have them moved to the reception afterwards. I had a vintage suitcase filled with Spring flowers for the ceremony, which I had moved into the bar area for the reception. Two looks for the price of one! I also asked the venue to provide vases on the cake table to display our bouquets in. Extra decoration and somewhere safe to pop my bouquet in between photographs!

10. Finally make sure you get everything in writing. A list of flowers and designs your florist is making for you, set up costs, delivery charges, props hire etc. It’s important to have some kind of contract in place with all of your wedding suppliers for clarity and peace of mind.

Planning a wedding? Contact Ash Tree Floral Designs for availability. We are a Birmingham, UK based professional and creative wedding and events florist. We would love to hear all about your big day and your dream flowers xoxo

Parallel design closeup purple Flower Arrangements

The Rules of Parallel Design

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

Method

– 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.

Oasis foam in cube vase black

– 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.

Parallel design flower arrangement purple

– 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.

Parallel design flower arrangement purple

– 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.

Parallel design flower arrangement purple

– 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.

Flower arrangement purple parallel design

– 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

Parallel design flower arrangement purple

Autumnal table centrepiece Flower Arrangements

Autumn Table Centrepiece Design

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my first floristry how to guide.


Autumn Table Centrepiece

It’s got some serious Autumn vibes! Gorgeous movement and textures, pretty blooms and features some lovely natural, rustic woodland walk finds to finish it off nicely!

So let’s get started…

First of all guys this is not a cheap design, however it’s very striking and fairly long lasting. You can also reuse the twigs and bowl after the flowers have finished to create a festive winter version of this design using evergreen foliage and Christmas decorations!

Flowers/ foliage/ sundries

– 3x Allium sphaerocephalon

– 2x Spray carnations, orange

– 1x Carthamus tinctorius

– 2x Clematis pirouette

– 3x Craspedia globosa

– 1 x Lisianthus Roseanne

– 3 x Rosa ‘Juliscuka’

– 1 x Thaspi Green bell

– 1x Erygium Orion

– Bunch of moss

– Selection of foraged twigs of assorted sizes and colours, like dogwood

– Selection of foraged Autumn goodies such as seed pods, pine cones, acorn, bark etc.

– 2x blocks oasis foam

– 1x oasis round ‘top hat’ designer dish

– Floristry wire

You can use different flowers and colours. Just remember to choose a variety of different textures and shapes to create rhythm in your design. Colours that compliment each other will help create harmony.

Construction

– First you need to soak your floral foam

– Next carve two half moon shapes out of your foam using a florist knife. Wedge foam into container, making sure it is secure.

Cut foraged twigs to desired length and create your basket frame. I cut 18 lengths and made 9 pairs around the edge of the foam. Put them in at an angle, fanning outwards to create a basket. Makes sure you are working into the sides of the foam.

Now add some more twigs to fill in gaps. Different thicknesses of twigs, colours and textures work well here to soften the design.

– Next it’s time to start adding your flowers, starting with foliage. Still working into sides and edges of foam (Don’t put anything in the middle that’s where your Autumn finds go)! Insert pieces of the Thaspi into the foam, weaving it in and around the twigs to create a wild look.

– Now add your flowers, starting with you larger focal blooms, Allium, Clematis and Roses. Add the flowers in at different heights to create interest and space out the colours to create good rhythm and colour balance.

– Carry on adding the other flowers, Carnations, Lisianthus and Carthamus thinking about colour balance, different shapes and textures. Try to keep the buds, especially the Lisianthus and smaller flowers on longer stems and place towards the outer edge of design and the more open larger blooms lower down in the design this creates good graduation.

– Add in your 3 Craspedia as a pop of colour. Try to create a triangle with them to draw the eye around the design.

– Finish off the flower placement with your Erygium and spare pieces of foliage to cover any exposed foam on outside of the design.

– Bend some .71mm wire into little hair pin shapes and use it to pin some moss into centre of design and some in and around the flowers and twigs where you can see gaps. This adds to the rustic feel of the design and also helps the foam to retain moisture.

– Finally place your Autumn foraged finds into the centre of your design.

– Stand back and admire!

This would make a gorgeous centrepiece for a wedding or pretty seasonal coffee table design at home or in a reception area.

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

Floral Photoshoot

Bridal Flowers Inspirational Photoshoot

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of creating some beautiful designs using locally grown British flowers. My incredibly talented photographer friend, Ellie helped me to style my creations in the beautiful secret garden of Lifeways community centre in Stratford-upon-Avon. I am so pleased with the results, I hope you like them too.

Tall arrangements Martini glasses make beautiful and dramatic centrepieces at weddings. This one is full of gorgeous colours and textures.

It’s amazing to be able to have access to such beautiful Dahlias and pretty traditional English cottage garden flowers- how fab would these look at a late summer wedding?

We tried to place the designs in rustic and natural surroundings in an attempt to create interesting contrasts…

All these images are my designs and work. If they inspire you why not contact me to discuss your next event?