TUTORIAL: SUMMER FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS
Living in a block of flats means we have a communal garden so don't really get to entertain outside much (boo), so when M&S invited me along to learn how to create a summer flower arrangement I got a chance to get stuck in and indulge myself. Learning how to create a summer table display and a hand tied bouquet was loads of fun, both of which I'm sharing below!
The flower arranging workshop was hosted at the rather cool Green Room in Stoke Newington. They don't have a website for me to point you too (perhaps that's the new way hipsters are doing it) but well worth checking out if you're near. They host yoga workshops and stuff too. Seems cool!
THE BRIGHT SUMMER TABLE SETTING
(difficulty level - easy)
The first look we were going to be creating was a table display, good for a barbeque or summer party. It's quite a bright and fun flower arrangement, so definitely suits a casual, relaxed event.
What you need:
- We were asked to choose a selection of flowers for this look, so you can do the same. I used Hydrangeas, Gerberas and green chrysanthemums, but really you can use anything! Big ones, ones that have large leaves and / or can be broken up into smaller sections (like hydrangeas) are good because you'll be able to create more table settings for your money
- a bowl or plate to use as the main display area
- Variety of glasses in different heights
- scissors / clippers
First create your plate display. There are really no rules here, but you're likely to want to cut down your flowers to just the heads so that people sit down and see all of the fullness of the head. You can also use the leaves or break apart petals from some of the other types of flower to sprinkle over the top. Go crazy and be abstract!
Then choose some flowers to sit in your glasses, again it's about cutting down the heads to make sure that they fit really snugly into the glass. As you can see in my tumbler I actually went a bit more random and used a hydrangea and green chrysanthemum petals with a small leaf to create a floating display.
If you want to you can also add something on the table mat like I did. It seemed such a shame to waste the leaves and the odd petals that had fallen off!
The finished look!
THE HAND TIED BOUQUET
(difficulty level - medium)
This look is a lot more elegant and would be suitable for a gift or for a vase at home. I'd always heard about 'hand tied bouquets' but I didn't really know what that meant until the session! It just means a bouquet that's put together by hand, now I write that down it sounds a bit stupid because I don't know as opposed to what but yeah...
What you need
- 15 long stemmed flowers, we used Dutch and Kenyan roses (dutch are apparantly the BEST of the best!)
- gloves to protect your hands if you're a wimp like me
- a piece of ribbon, string or rope to tie them up at the end
- a vase with a neck that narrows towards the top if you want to display in a vase
Condition your flowers. This basically means remove all of the lower leaves and any thorns. I didn't really do this and stabbed myself loads of times so I recommend you do it! Just trim them off. Also I recommend that you remove a lot more of the leaves than you think you should as you'd be surprised how messy it can get when you're holding a bunch together.
You can also cut the stems down the to the size you want and make a diagonal snip at the bottom of the stem, this helps to give them more surface area to drink from and therefore last longer.
Once you have them all ready to go it's just a matter of putting them into place. Start with the best one in the middle, then work in a spiral outwards from the centre, adding each flower around the centre. Think about how to alternate colours.
As you add flowers you need to make a slight turn of the bunch and aim for a dome shape of the flower heads when combined. Pinch them where you would tie by making a fist around them. Kind of hard to explain so I've found this nifty video.
Please ignore the twinkly music!
As you can see from Emma's lovely bunch here you start to get a splayed stem effect which looks really nice either tied or in a clear vase.
You can tuck in any heads that are poking out of the dome shape too much and then trim the stem after if you need too.
You can then use a ribbon, rope or whatever you fancy to tie it. If possible get someone to help you here as inexperienced hands like mine may loosen the grip at this point and it can all start to come apart!
I wasn't so good at this one because I left too many leaves on and I also kept spiking myself when gripping as I hadn't removed the thorns properly, so I couldn't really grip tightly.
If you want to display in a vase the M&S flower expert recommended a narrow top one as it sort of acts as the ribbon would, holding the bunch together so that the stems can splay inside the vase.
When I got home I added my blue hydrangeas and beautiful ivory dutch roses to some peonies that I already had to create a three colour block look. I tried to do the splayed stem thing but I'm not that good at it, I think I need to just keep going and buying beautiful flowers from M&S and practicing! ANY EXCUSE!
So there's something here for you whether you want something quick and easy or impressive.
You can learn more about how to create your own floral summer diaplay on this handy tutorial page from the experts at M&S flowers.
Which look is your fave?