October 07, 2011

Tales from the Design Room: Jane's top floristry tips

It is all happening today at Wild Acre! The super talented florist, Jane from Small but Charming blog, has kindly written the most wonderful guest post here, full of top tips for arranging flowers in more tricky shaped vases, pots and urns. She has spent many professional moons creating fabulous floral arrangements for all sorts of events  - for brides, heads of state, you name it, so you are getting tip top pro advice here today!! If you have any special tricks you use, do share with us would you? The great thing about these friday posts has been the sharing of info and experiences, so if you are a whizz with chicken wire, or use those froggy things, or have any other cunning tips to arrange your flowers, we'd LOVE to know!

And, please, pop over to Jane's blog too, most of you probably already do, but if you haven't discovered that biggest hearted, funny and inspiring blog, blimey you have a treat in store this happy friday!

Tales From The Design Room

A few months back the lovely and talented Belinda asked if I would chime in on a Friday with a guest post on flower arranging tips.

If, like myself, you're a devoted reader of Wild Acre you already know that Belinda's got it all going on, with not only designing bouquets but growing the flowers themselves.

So why am I here you ( we) may wonder.

Because I am a florist with many years experience and I have an eternally sore shoulder to show for it. We do all kinds of arrangements from weddings to funerals to baby showers to dozens of roses to simple bunches of wild flowers. So I'll see if I can think of anything new to add to Belinda's encyclopedic knowledge of all thing floral.

Party Trick #1: Some florists use a block of floral foam made by Oasis to fill containers with wide mouths or small spaces that wouldn't hold water comfortably. Oasis can be found at any craft store. Other designers prefer not to use the foam as it is a petroleum based product. (If you feel strongly about this issue you can instead use balls of chicken wire crumbled up to fit the space).  We soak the foam in water until it sinks under its weight, then cut it to size and fill the container.  I've chosen some pictures from a post I did last year using oasis to fill miniature pumpkins with flowers and berries.

Tomorrow I'll be filling two cowboy boots and hats with flowers, first fitting them with a container and oasis then going wild with autumn flowers and berries. Thankfully they are new boots, once a customer took her riding boots off in the store and gave them to me for a memorial arrangement.  Enough said.

Oasis is  also effective for a large urn or compote.  Once again find a liner that fits, add wet foam and design your hearts out.  Branches or curly willow stems stay firmly anchored and you can tuck the flowers around them at will.

This arrangement traveled to a friend's wedding last Saturday night.  It moved from room to room during the celebration and was last seen held aloft by the bridegroom as he and the bride hopped in a cab off to the penthouse suite at the Four Seasons.  Oasis can travel in some pretty fancy circles.

Party Trick #2: One of my favorite part of any wedding or party is the centerpieces.  We do them is all kinds of containers.  Clear glass lined with a few leaves or a swirl of curly willow tips in the water, old family silver pieces, sometimes a terra cotta pot or a milk glass compote. 

When we are using a glass container we take a 1/4 clear oasis tape and run it round the circumference of the vase, then tape from side to side in a grid pattern.  When finished weaving the grid we run another strip around the outside lip securing the structure.  And then we begin to tuck away.  I start with 3 of the larger flowers off center, then arch off to the sides, turning some flowers up and some down creating movement.  The accessories are the most fun.  In the fall this would include clusters of berries, stems of grass, leaves and of course for the holidays a miniature pumpkin or lady apple polishes to a fine sheen and secured on a wooden skewer.  These can be nestled in among the flowers.

But probably as you all suspected, though I spend my days surrounded by floral bounty both local and global, at home I prefer an armful of of garden fresh flowers, cut first thing in the morning, stems stripped of any leaves or debris then plunged into tepid water and plonked on a table to be enjoyed all week.

I am after all a simple girl at heart:)


  1. I prefer your informal armful as well, Jane, but shall arm myself with a shedful of Oasis for my many forthcoming trips to the luxury hotels of the world. I wonder whether there is such a thing as edible Oasis for hungry florists? Probably made of agar agar and melted chocolate.

  2. Good Morning Belinda, I did awake this morning in a bit of a panic having posted before bed last night and then worrying maybe you were not using this today.

    Mise would have flown over for flower tips and a bit of chocolate but alas no Oasis to be found.

    However she could have wandered about your beautiful house and garden, trying on jewelry.

    Pretty win win at your house.

    xo jane

  3. thanks belinda and jane. i adore both of your styles which i think are v similar. not at all typical. v beautiful for sure. would either of you please do a fall dry arangement? something that would look good for about a month. something that makes a statement. i would be forever grateful. xo janet

  4. I so appreciate you asking Jane to do this guest post. I have learned some valuable tips, stated in a simple way so I might finally be able to put something on my buffet that looks more like an arrangement and less like the top of a compost pile!

  5. I have really enjoyed Jane's post
    great tips and ideas


  6. Oh my Jane, I love the arrangement in the pumpkin--it is just perfect, and doesn't need the pumpkin at all (though it is cute). And thanks for the tips--oasis scares me, it makes me feel like I must ARRANGE, and I collapse under the pressure, but maybe I'll be brave and try again, since you are so reassuring in a lowkey way.

  7. Love Jane's guest post and flowers as I do yours too Belinda - you are both so talented. AND I just might steal that oasis in the pumpkin idea... gorgeous. XX

  8. I am bound and determined to try a pumpkin. I think my problem with oasis is that I never soaked it long enough - not very good at that delayed gratification thing... or perhaps it's that not planning ahead thing.

    This is a great addition to the cut flower series. On that note... I have weedy looking things coming up - in some rows MANY of them! He he! Plan to in-fill some of the rows - maybe tomorrow - in hopes of getting a bit more yield before I have to thin them. All in all, it's good. Thanks. no, THANKS!! xoxo

  9. Wonderful post Jane and the flowers are terrific !!

  10. Very nice ideas. It's quite unusual and will definitely catch eyes.

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