Floral Design 102 Container Designs

Deborah Dolen Filming Floral Design 102 - Container Floral Design

I am super excited to be attending “Ringling In Bloom” February 23rd-26th 2012 with Master Floral Designer Remco van Vliet!  Remco van Vliet is a 38 year old very gifted master designer from Holland.  Remco will be giving demonstrations on Friday and actual classes on Sunday.  Two classes are offered on Sunday- morning and afternoon. Click here to sign up with Ringlingfor the event.

Deborah Dolen Floral Design

Deborah Dolen Floral Design

Floral Design 102 [Container Designs] by Deborah Dolen

An easy way to learn floral design using containers is to purchase a commercial design that has already been arranged in wet floral foam and slowly take it apart.  In the film we take one apart and arrange it back together again.  For this purpose I selected a $20 commercial arrangement from my local grocery store to take apart in the film -and did so because that shows – best use of economy, color, actual flower selection, architecture and methods to conceal and secure mechanics of the arrangement.  You do not need to buy a commercial arrangement only to disassemble and reassemble-but I found it helps to see exactly how an expert does it while you are in the learning phase.   

The main difference in floral design in vases or in containers is the use of wet floral foam.  I soak my foam first and then slice it to fit my container.   Other designers prepare their containers using dry foam, secure the foam down with green tape, and then wet it post population of flowers.  I disagree because every minute a flower is deprived of water is an hour less they live for enjoyment.  One of main goals when designing flowers is to keep the actual flowers selected for the design-in their necessary element of water.

Designing flowers in containers also makes much more use of greens than designing flowers in a vase would.  This is because there are more mechanics to hide-mainly  the actual floral foam.  Many busy floral shops elect a person just to put the floral foam it, secure it down and cover it all with greens.  This allows the actual designer to enter in during the last phase:  floral selection, arrangement, color and movement.  The designer selected accent pieces and concern themselves with the actual design and not the sub design.  A few popular greens used in container design are tree fern, leather leaf, babies breath, monte casino, and ruskus. 

Whimsical by Deborah Dolen

Typically when designing a container floral arrangement, the designer selects the focal flower and then selects good contrasting flowers turning the arrangement as they consider the over all design.  As with floral design, you do to one side what you did to the other for uniformity.  So if I place a lily to the left of the arrangement, I will be sure to add a lily to the extract opposite side—and keep spinning the arrangement working that way.  So, in basic floral design you do to one side what you did to the other side.  The only exception is when you are done populating and simply want to throw in a few unique flowers that compliment your focal flower.  This is the time when I consider movement and “statement” that I want my design to make.  [I discuss "Whimsical" the arrangment on the left below.  It is a sturdy inter-changeable design.]

When designing, flowers are typically so fresh they have not opened yet.  A good designer can envision what their arrangement will look like in 48 hours when most buds have opened.  Weddings typically command flowers that are already opened so florist use soft heat [blow dryer] to create such a warm environment they open prematurely-or a better way, they order a good four days ahead for the wedding.

Going back to purchasing a small but very full arrangement (done in floral foam) from the grocery store-is still a great idea to learn finite economy of floral design – because you will see how they make use of every scrap of flower and every part of a green possible.  Nothing goes to waste in a commercial operation, even broken stems will find a home in a floral foam arrangement.  If you ever visit a full floral design operation you will not see a bunch of waste on the floor. Below is a short video on basic floral container construction design.

Whimsical - this arragement can be made small, medium, big, 360 degree or one sided, and it is fun and has movement.  You can add ting ting or swizzel sticks if you want even more movement reaching toward the sky.

The basic background or “premise” is purple statice, orange mini carnations and daiseys.  The use of expensive florals is prudent yet strategic for maximum enjoyment.  If you look close enough there is really only one Asiatic Lily [that  had three buds - separated] and two Purple Iris flowers.  That’s it!  If you are doing a full arrangment you made need 2 or 3 times the amount of these premium flowers though.

With Whimsical you can exchange to pink statice, for example, or even white statice, and use green mini mums instead of carnations.  You could also use white Asiatics or Orange instead of pink.  So, the basic assembly is known, movement is known, and colors can be changed to make dramatic differences in over all appearance.

This arrangement is fun for Christmas, for example, you can make everything in just shades of Red.  Red carnations, Gerbera daiseys, Asiatic Lillys, snap dragons (since statice does not come in red) and compliment with metallic gold or red ting ting, or you can do everything in all white!     

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8 Responses

  1. Eliude says:

    I am in Canada and we grow statice every summer. I notice that is your favorite flower, or at least one of them. We cannot get many lilly’s here. Love your floral design films I bought them both last year.

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