I have drooled over flower arrangements ever since I was a little girl. Summers for me were spent in Maine and every evening was spent with my grandmother in her 1/2 acre garden. We would start by picking vegetables, then would meander through the berry bushes and canes picking and snacking as our fingers were dyed that luscious purple hue that lasts until the next day to remind you of the picking you need to do again the next evening. The last stop was always the flower beds – nasturtiums, pansies, lilies, roses. These treasures gathered in pails and buckets turned into our entertainment for the evening: shelling peas, shucking corn, cooking tomatoes, freezing berries or baking them into oozing pies, and arranging flowers. Having never formally learned how to arrange flowers and I tend to go with less is more. But, the more I learn, the more daring and full my arrangements become.
Currently, this whole flower arranging project is made tricky since I don’t have a permanent yard hosting a variety of flowers and greenery to select for the perfect composition or whimsical grouping. I yearn for the day when we trade in our patio for a patch of earth where we can plant perennials. I love the idea of tending for a plant and getting to know it for years to come. It is so lovely and romantic to step out of the back door and snip a few buds here, cut a few blooms there, then accent with a frond and branch, and head back inside with a jolly ray from outside. Again, part of my nest(ling) phase of life I suppose and that will come soon enough. Until then, what better opportunity to gather inspiration and lessons on flower arranging.
Recently, several websites (1, 2, 3, 4) have been giving me ideas about what flower gardens and cut flowers can be. I plan to start a sketch book to store some of these ideas I’ve “picked” from other places. I’ve always thought being a florist would be such a pleasant second career. Do you like flower arranging? What resources do you consult, or have you always been free-form?
Here is some inspiration from H Bloom:
Besides principles of flower arranging, I am also interested in the historical significance of flowers – floriography is the tracing of the meaning of flowers through time, especially popular in the Victorian Era. For example, did you know ranunculus imply radience, anenomes symbolize unfading love, and gerbera daisies signify happiness? These happen to be the flowers we had at our wedding two years ago this weekend (!).
As I grew up, my two favorite flower beds in my mother’s garden were and still are her roses and her peonies. The roses are always a crowd-pleaser, and you’ve already been privy to my obsession there. But the peonies offered a more sentimental appreciation. Our peony bushes came from my father’s grandmother’s yard in Kansas. Doesn’t that simply add to the romanticism behind these sumptuous blooms? As if we need any nudging to have flowers around us, but these two posts (here and here) from spring/summer have sparked a must-have obsession with peonies.