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Home Studio: Floral Arrangements

Inspired by the blooms of spring and the trending #MuseumBouquet, MMFA Special Events Coordinator Aaron Ganey has created a floral arrangement that brings the beauty of spring inside. Designed after the asymmetrical shape of the arrangement depicted in William Glackens’ (1870-1938) Flowers in a Goblet (date unknown) from the Museum’s collection, everything in the demonstration arrangement is from a yard or nearby field, and each ingredient brings a unique element to the mix. Many of the plants used are even classified as weeds, so don’t think you need a lush, manicured garden in order to forage from home. If you aren’t able to find the exact plants we used, then work with anything that has similar shape, texture, or blossom size. This process is a form of self-expression, so use what you have without the pressure of making it look a certain way. Get outside, find some weeds and flowers in the backyard, and make something wonderful!

Download Printable Instruction [PDF]

Right: William Glackens (American, 1870–1938), Flowers in a Goblet, date unknown, oil on canvas board, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase, Eloise Jackson Memorial, 1978.1

Objective

To introduce the fundamentals of floral design through the use of greenery and flowers or flora found in your own backyard.

Materials

These are the items we use to design this arrangement, with some alternatives listed.

  • [1] Container
    • This demonstration will use a vintage, oversized silver compote. What’s important is to use something with good depth (not shallow) and no holes in the bottom.
  • [2] Rocks
    • All shapes and sizes are fine.
  • [3] Floral shears
    • Sharp kitchen scissors aren’t ideal for this, but they can be used if that’s what you have available.
  • [4] Cellophane tape (the thinner the better)
    • Chicken wire is the easiest to use when making a grid, so if you happen to have some, that’s great, please use that in place of the tape grid! The demonstration uses tape to show how common household goods can be used when arranging flowers.

These are the greenery and flowers used for our demonstration, all harvested from the great outdoors! (Scroll down to the Image Gallery to see larger versions of these images.) Try to divide your plants into the following four sections: structure, greenery, main flowers, and detail flowers. Remember, you are creating for your personal enjoyment, so relax and use whatever you have in the yard. And please, don’t forget to ask permission before taking flowers and greenery from your neighbors’ yards.

Shape

  • [10] Loropetalum (fringe flower)
  • [2] Holly Fern

Greenery

  • [1] Fatsia Japonica (paper plant)
  • [6] Boxwood
  • [7] Variegated Pittosporum (Japanese mock orange)
  • [11] Camellia Branches
  • [12] Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • [14] Japanese Maple
  • [17] Honeysuckle Vines
  • [18] Ligustrum (privet)
    • Wild
    • Wax
  • [19] Leatherleaf Fern
Main Flowers

  • [5] Knockout Roses
  • [13] Drift Roses
  • [15] Crimson Clover

Details

  • [3] Lamb’s Ear
  • [4] Queen Anne’s Lace
  • [9] Blackberry Vines
  • [16] Wheat-like Grass
    • Fountain grass
    • Feather grass

Steps

First, Harvest All Greenery and Blooms

  • Make sure they are well hydrated by letting them sit in buckets (or large vases) soaking up water for at least two hours.

Build Your Structure

  • Next, prepare the container. Place rocks in the base of the container and create a grid on the top using tape (the thinner the tape the better). This will help give your arrangement shape and structure. Fill the container with water. If you are using chicken wire, fold it to make a pillow and tape into the compote bowl or whatever container you are using.
  • Place woody branches to create a foundational structure for your arrangement.

Start Creating Your Shape

  • Add your larger greenery pieces in next, to develop the overall shape. In our demonstration, holly fern and loropetalum are used for this step.
  • Add in other greenery to create more structure that will help hold the flowers in place. We used smaller pieces of boxwood, ligustrum, pittosporum, leatherleaf fern, and camellia branches. By adding in fatsia, honeysuckle, and oakleaf hydrangea, it adds contrast and creates interesting areas in your arrangement. Depending on what plants you are working with, this stage could already be a complete arrangement, with the addition of a few large flowers, like oakleaf hydrangeas.

Add the Main Flowers

  • This is where color is added now that the structural base is built. Drift roses, knockout roses, and clover add a rich range of pinks and reds. Again, this could be the completed arrangement!

Finish with Details and a little Flourish

  • Finally, fun little details are added to really set the arrangement apart and make it special. Lambs ear, mint, wheat-like grass, Queen Anne’s lace, and blackberry vines are used to complete our demonstration arrangement.

Conclusion

Find the perfect spot in your home to showcase the arrangement you’ve made, then sit back and enjoy the beauty of your creation.

Submit Your Work

We would love to see your creations! Share your work with us by taking a photograph and emailing it to us at pr@mmfa.org.