I’ve always loved having and creating floral arrangements but I’ve never taken a formal class on it so when Minted reached out to me with an invitation to a floral workshop at their Minted Local Shop, I was all over it. Like over the moon over it. The class was taught by Heather Lee and I feel like I learned so many things I’d never known before and I can’t wait to put my new information to use. Today I’m sharing what I learned in my floral workshop, so you can have a go at arranging your own florals too.
1. Location dictates shape.
Where is your plant going to go? Is it a front-facing arrangement where the backside won’t be as visible such as on a nightstand, shelf, or entry table? Or is it a table centerpiece where it will be largely visible from all sides? Where you want to put it will dictate where your focus should be when it comes to arranging your flowers.
2. Choose your container.
For the class we had a smaller round container. If you would like to do a larger arrangement, keep in mind that if it is a table centerpiece you want your guests to be able to see each other. Your arrangement should be about 1.5x the height of your container at it’s tallest point. So if your container is 5″ tall, your arrangement will stick 7″ out of the top, for a total height of 12″. It should be 3/4 full with water which you should change every day (preferred) or add to every day.
3. Create structure.
In whichever container you choose, you will need to create structure inside of it. You can do this by using floral tape (we used 1/4″) and creating a grid across the top. On our circular vases, it looked like a hashtag (#). Don’t let the tape overlap too much or it will be hard to cover when you’re arranging. In larger containers you can also use green coated chicken wire that has been folded into a ball shape.
4. Choose a cohesive floral palette.
When you gather your florals, choose flowers and greenery that go well together. It helps to stay in the same color family or temperature. Depending on your vision, you’ll need about 1.5x the amount of greenery as you will florals. For early Fall, Dahlia’s and Zinnia’s work wonderfully. You can also choose some add-ins that are non-florals like mint, berries on the vine (we used blackberry vines), or any other item that might add some whimsy to the arrangement.
5. Build a base structure from greenery.
Once you have all of your supplies together, you’ll want to begin trimming down and inserting your greenery. For forward facing arrangements, Heather recommends adding greenery first to the 9, 12, and 3 positions (like a clock). For a centerpiece, you’ll do the same sort of balanced or mirrored look for each ‘side’ of the vase. Be sure to remove the leaves from the stem that will be below the water line to help prevent bacteria from growing, and to clip everything at an angle so it absorbs more water. It may take some guessing at first, but once you’re in a rhythm it will become easier. After you have your main greenery in, you can fill other areas with smaller or less focused greens.
6. Begin adding florals.
Heather prefers to stick with odd numbers when it comes to florals because they seem to look best. In photography there is a Golden Triangle rule, and it applies visually to this as well. We first inserted the blackberry stem to help cover the tape at the top of our vase and create a ledge for the larger florals to rest on. After your larger florals are in, add smaller ones around for fill. Arrangements that are perfectly balanced will look more traditional, while ones with a little asymmetry will appear more whimsical (my favorite!).
7. Balance with flair.
Add your non-florals to create more interest in your piece. If they have any unsightly leaves or stems feel free to remove them to make it more visually appealing for your arrangement. I added a few stems of clover to mine that stuck up and to the side like little rebellious stems.
8. Add extra greens.
If you have any different types of greenery to add, now is the time. We added a few sprigs of mint to our arrangements which smelled wonderful and gave it a little more visual oomph.
9. Fill in the gaps.
Once you have most of your main elements in, you can look for visual gaps in the arrangement and fill in with more greens or any elements you feel are missing. Your arrangement should look tight and cohesive, but not too cluttered.
10. Keep it fresh.
You should check the water level of your arrangement every day, adding or changing as necessary. Your flowers will last the longest with clean and fresh water every day.
After the workshop I browsed around the Minted Local store a little, it’s one of my favorites. The work from different artists is always wonderful. For information on their classes, visit their store website.
Have you ever taken a workshop? What did you learn?