I’ll be honest – spring is absolutely my favourite season for flowers. I was born in April, and I always feel like I come alive all over again in the spring. I love watching the life and growth that just pours out of the Earth.
I especially love the colours that are born in spring. The leaves that turn a lush green colour in late spring start out bright acid-green with a lot of yellow undertone. The yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples might seem cliché, but truly they give you the opportunity to create really interesting colour palettes.
Choosing the flowers, design, and vessel:
The great thing about a table meadow design is that its incredibly versatile. Depending on your table and your space, this meadow piece can be tall and willowy, short and flowing, abundantly full or sparing and architectural. I chose to keep the arrangement light and airy to remain true to the very nature of spring. The vessel I chose is long and low, allowing for the flowers to spill out in every direction and mimic what happens in a try garden setting and I chose bright spring flowers because, lets face it, we need a good splash of colour after a long winter.
- Butterfly ranunculus
- Sweet peas
- Hellebore plant clippings
- Wild rose plant clippings
- Plant foliage clippings
Most of these items can be found at the garden centre making this an easy look to achieve without having to go to a wholesaler. Ranunculus and Sweet Peas can be substituted for daffodils or tulips or other readily available spring flowers.
- Sharp floral scissors
- Chicken wire
Why chicken wire? I find it helps me to get looser designs than floral foam, you don’t need to cover up as much, plus its versatile with any vessel, reusable and eco-friendly. Flowers in fresh water and chicken wire last up to a week longer than in floral foam which chokes up the stems and dries out quickly.
Condition Flowers and Arrange Your Space:
Begin by conditioning any loose flowers you’ve purchased a few days before you plan to make your arrangement. Remove all foliage that will sit below the water line and trim the ends of the stems by roughly half an inch. Store in fresh water and let the flowers open. If using ranunculus, I find that they look their best on day 3 and like a little room in the vase to bloom. They also like less water in their vase as the stems tend to get mushy faster. Hellebores like quite cold water and lots of it, especially a vase filled almost to the top as they drink through every bit of their stems.
Once you’re ready to begin, arrange your flowers in front of you along with the plants you plan to clip from. Your tools should be easy to grab and your chicken wire can be gently balled up and placed inside the case. Fill the vessel to almost full with fresh, clean, cool water and a little plant food if you’d like.
I generally always begin an arrangement with foliage. I tend to use the leaves as my base and they often times direct the shape and design of the arrangement (I used the green Hellebore as an additional foliage in this design). In addition, I wanted to create balance, so what I do on one side, I mimic on the opposite side of the vessel. This will allow the arrangement to be enjoyed from all angles.
Once I have a few key pieces of foliage in, I begin placing darker, fuller flowers deep and low in the vessel. This gives dimension to your design. The orange ranunculus are perfect for this. Space your flowers out and try to create colour groupings rather than placing random flowers sporadically throughout the arrangement. This helps the eye travel over the flowers with ease. One of my favourite techniques to use is colour gradation; having the arrangement begin light on one end, and subtly become darker on the other. Don’t worry about covering your mechanics completely at this point. It will happen naturally as you place more flowers within it. Spots left at the end can be covered up with additional foliage. Too much coverage in the beginning gives you a much denser and heavier design.
Last, I place what I call the tiny dancers in the arrangement. They are the ones that should sit high and pretty over the others. The sweet peas and butterfly ranunculus (such a perfect name) and small ranunculus buds are ideal for this. I try and face the flower heads in different directions like how they tend to grow in your garden (as not every flower faces in one direction in nature). Let these flowers spill out over the edges and allow yourself to get a little wild.
Fill in any spots where you can see visible chicken wire with extra foliage or a fluffy flower. Give your arrangement a little spritz of fresh water and step away for a break. Go back after your eyes have rested and make your last minute changes at this point. Fresh eyes make a difference.
Keep your arrangement full of fresh, clean, water, and enjoy!
Floral Designer: Chickweed Cottage – @chickweedcottage
Stylists: Paper Doll Events – @paperdollevents
Photographer: Genevieve Renee – @genevievereneephoto
Venue: Rodneys Oyster House – @rodneyscalgary