For our third installment, we’ll tackle a simple vase arrangement before going on to a large one. For this, I used:
- 1 bunch snapdragons
- 1 bunch pin cushion protea
- 1 stem baby’s breath
- vase with 4-inch mouth (check!)
Preparing the vase
To prepare your vase, make sure it is clean (washed with dishsoap and bleach). Fill 2/3 up with water, and add up to 1/2 teaspoon of bleach. This will help prevent bacteria from forming in the water. A little will not hurt the flowers, but too much will kill them, so be sparse.
As with any vase arrangement, the order in which you place the flowers is important. Because there are no greens here, I have placed the protea in first, at the lip of the vase. One of the common mistakes I see is starting with flowers much taller than the vase. This will frustrate you quickly, so start with something that provides support and structure.
How did I know how long the stems should be? As in the picture, below, I have held the flowers next to the vase, and used it as a guide. I did it with the snapdragons also, as seen here. Gather the entire bunch into your hand, and measure it next to the vase. Taking very sharp scissors or pruning shears, cut across the bunch. This will make the entire bunch the same height.
Place the entire bunch of snapdragons behind the protea in the vase. They will hold them in place. You can see that I have cut them so that the snapdragon blooms appear above the protea flowers. Turn any stems where the top curve makes an unpleasing line so that it is in the same area as the others.
This is a simple, elegant design on its’ own, and does not require further flowers or ornamentation if you prefer it this way.
If you this looks unfinished to you, you can of course add further flowers or ornamentation. In this case, the roses I used that day came with a stem of very healthy baby’s breath, so I didn’t want to throw it away. Here, I have broken it down and added the pieces between the protea and snapdragons.
You may also add ribbon, stone or class vase fillers, decorative wire, or whatever else you may have on hand.
The inspiration for this design came while I was doing my shopping. This particular color of snapdragons is a favorite of mine, and I thought that the protea went very well with it. Pink, yellow, and orange are close to each other on the color wheel and create aspects of blending in the arrangement.
By placing all the like flowers together–protea in front, baby’s breath in the middle, and snapdragons at the back, I have used a blocking technique by flower type. This is a great way to make a bold statement with simpler, more elegant designs, and can be done with color as well as flower type.
In this type of arrangements, where the focal flowers are quite obvious, a general rule followed by most florists is to use an odd number of flowers. It is aesthetically more balanced and therefore pleasing to the eye. While the number of snapdragons in this arrangements isn’t relevant, it would look quite ungainly with two or four protea instead rather than three.
This one-sided arrangement is of medium size, and is well suited to tables or counters where it may sit close to the wall.