Monday, July 7, 2014

I was inspired by Kris at Late to the Garden Party to add some photos of my flower arrangements.  Up until now I’ve never included them here, and it’s only recently that I started becoming interested in arranging flowers.  

A few months ago, I read a book called, "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  I started to do more research on the Victorian Language of Flowers and bought myself a flower dictionary.  I find the fact that there's a whole meaning behind the giving of flowers and that Floriography has been practiced for thousands of years intriguing.  It sure can change the way one looks at a flower bouquet!

Since I only have a small container garden, I just can’t bring myself to cut my own flowers.  But I did start clipping a few roses and herbs here and there and creating little nosegays or tussie mussies.  I don’t have any fancy vases, so I typically use whatever I can find around the house.  My little vintage milk pourer usually does the trick.  Sometimes even a sake glass.

Moreover, I decided I wanted to try my hand at creating larger arrangements.  Since it’s not practical for me to run off to Downtown LA’s Flower Mart (which would probably make my head explode), I did the most convenient thing I could think of and started buying cut flowers from the grocery store.  While the selection is limited, I found it made for a challenge to see what I could come up with.  I find that Trader Joe’s and Von’s/Pavillions seem to have the best cut flowers.

My first arrangement started with some Calla Lilies, Roses and white/green Hydrangea from Pavillions.  The roses were a peachy tone with some green on the edge of the petals.  I thought the green in the Roses and green in the Hydrangea kind of tied everything together.  I arranged them to look like a hand tied bridal bouquet.  They actually photographed much better from above.  I had no idea how florists got the dome shape in a bouquet, so I didn’t really get the shape I wanted.  Still, I put them in a vase and enjoyed them until they started to fade.    

My second arrangement was done with Peonies, purple Iris and Stock from Trader Joe’s.  I absolutely LOVE Peonies.  I mean really… how can you make Peonies look bad?  They could have easily stood on their own with no other flowers.  I selected the bright purple Iris for some color pop and added the Stock for a fuller arrangement.

After the second arrangement started to look tired, I went back to Trader Joe's again and picked up some Lavender Roses, small red spray Roses, and Lisianthus in light pink, white and purple.  I think I would have liked this one better without so many different colors.  I was trying to get fancy by adding the contrasting red spray Roses, but looking back, I think my arrangement would have been better with less going on.

After the Roses in this arrangement faded, I pulled them out and kept the Lisianthus (which lasted for at least 2 weeks) and enjoyed them on their own.  I should have done that in the first place… kept it simple.

Then, on June 21, I took a class at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens that was put on by the two lovely ladies from Flower Duet, Kit and Casey.  This was my first official introduction to flower arranging, and I got to learn some tricks of the trade.  If you have the chance and are in the area, I would highly recommend a class by Flower Duet.  I thought I would be intimidated, but Kit and Casey made if fun.  They were very encouraging and their instructions were clear and easy to follow.  They even walked around the room to help everyone.  We made a Summer Rose bouquet using Old Garden Roses, Spray Roses and Standard Roses.  Here is what my arrangement looked like:

During this class I was introduced to David Austin Roses and now find myself on the web site searching for the next perfect Rose that I hope to squeeze into my little garden.
During this same weekend, I found myself again at Trader Joe's.  This time I kept it simple; blue Hydrangea and some Stock arranged in a Vera Wang vase that I’d received as a wedding gift.

So that is my experience with flower arranging thus far.  I will post more arrangements as I create them.  My only wish is to one day have a garden large enough to be able to have enough of my own cut flowers to create a substantially sized bouquet.  As for now, I will have to stick to cut flowers from the grocery store and the little nosegays I do sacrifice cutting from my own garden.  In my next post I will add some pictures of the nosegays I've created.

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