Friday, December 13, 2013

A low center flower arrangement...for a non traditional Christmas table

We are having a big family Christmas and I want to do some special flowers.   
I am planning several long low floral arrangements for a long long table, with a loose Amy Osaba inspired style, and I want to incorporate pomegranates, their pink red colour reminds me of Christmas without being to traditional.

I asked the talented Antonia of Ruby Slipper Floral Design to show me how to go from inspiration to gorgeous arrangement, and boy did she deliver!  So enjoy the gorgeous flowers and skip to the bottom to see how you can make your own.

What you will need:

  • Several blocks of oasis, or an oasis block like the one we used.
  • 3 large store bought pomegranates
  • One bunch each of green leaves, roses, mini pomegranates, kalmia, lisianthus (see below)
  • Florists wire
Soaking the oasis:
  • place each block in a bucket or basin of water and let it absorb the water
  • Do not push the oasis down or you may create air bubbles, be patient!
  • The oasis is fully soaked when no dry patches remain.
  • If your oasis doesn't fit in a bucket (like ours) pour water over it carefully until you are sure it is fully soaked.
Adding your flowers in the correct order:
  • Create initial structure with greenery:  Space it evenly without being to symmetrical (see below). The asparagus fern has been placed in the top, and along the sides creating good depth before even adding the flowers.
  • Create a test corner:  This is where you will get a feel for how the flowers look together and how you are going to group them.  Once you are happy with the test corner, place your feature flowers, then work around the arrangement adding flowers in a similar but not identical pattern.
  • Add the feature flowers:  The pomegranates in this arrangement.  Antonia suggest grouping them loosely in threes.  In our arrangement they are loosely grouped slightly off the center of the oasis block.  (see tips for the pomegranates below)
  • Soften with secondary flowers:   Add your other flowers around the focal elements making sure they are at different heights to create depth and interest.
  • Place flowers at different heights and angles:  Create texture and depth by pushing some flowers deeper into the arrangment and allowing others to trail over the edge.  
  • Work around the arrangement building up the design: Stand back and look at your design from every side.  It is a centrepiece and needs to look good from all angles.
  • Fill in the gaps: Add a final selection of flowers and small pieces of greenery to make sure the underlying structure is hidden and that the arrangement is full all over.  This is a good time to add trailing elements.

Arranging the pomegranates:
  • Cut several pieces of thick florist wire 10 to 15 cm long.  
  • Push the wire through the skin at the base of the fruit (see below) and push firmly into the fruit.  
  • Twist the wire ends together 
  • Position in oasis as you would a normal flower.  
  • Use the same technique for other fruit, accessories like pine cones, or even succulents.
  • This worked impressively well and the pomegranates were in no danger of being bumped out of place.

Antonia gathers several roses and a small bit of pomegranate into a mini bunch in her hand (above), then nestles them into the larger arrangement.  A design within a design.

Work around the arrangement, adding flowers from every side so that it will look good from every side of the table when finished.

How to choose flowers for your arrangement
  • Select flowers in different tones of the same colour.  This allows you to have a variety of flowers without the arrangement feeling to busy.  In our arrangement the yellow to orange roses toned with the orange mini pomegranates, and the pink lisianthus toned with the softer pink kalmia.
  • Use greenery to create the base of the arrangement.  The greenery sets off the flower colour and is an inexpensive way to bulk out a large arrangement.  It also hides the oasis structure. Some of Antonia's favourites are hydrangea leaves, viburnum, magnolia little gem
  • Keep it simple and limit your colour scheme.  Antonia recommends using only one or two colours in an arrangement.  
  • Use seasonal flowers  This is going to keep your costs down and also ensure the flowers are fresh and will last longer.
Top tips for arranging flowers like a pro:
  • Create your base structure with greenery
  • Add the feature plants, the pomegranates to the green arrangement, and then soften with secondary flowers.
  • Add flowers at different heights to create depth.  Nestle some deeper into the arrangement, have some trailing onto the table top at the edges.
  • Use three or four blooms to make a mini bunch in your hand.  Add the mini bunch as you would a single flower into the arrangement.
  • Don't be afraid to adjust the position of flowers, but remember to put them in a new place in the oasis.  If you place the stems in the same oasis hole they will lose stability.

Ready for the table!  We didn't take the flowers all the way down the oasis block because I have made a reclaimed wood frame to hide that bit.  You will just have to wait and see how it looks all complete on the gold polka dot tablecloth.  Next post I promise.  Hope this inspired your and gave you some ideas for creating your own special Christmas day look.  And if you don't have time, let Antonia make one just for you.

All photos by Eva of Build House Home, flowers selected and arranged by Antonia of Ruby Slipper Floral Design.

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