A Bouquet of Nerves

I never realized floral design could be so sink or swim. It was as though we were taught how to doggy paddle and then flung into a raging river — survival of the fittest, indeed.

After simply cutting some stems and plopping flowers into a plastic cup on the first day, we were assigned the challenge of creating a “bundled arrangement” on the second. While some of the flowers were familiar (Alstroemeria and daisy mums), the mountains of greenery were overwhelming at first glance.

Leather? Wax flowers? Tree ferns? To me, these were just mini islands on the counter. But, with shoulders set, I stepped in line to gather my materials.

20120125-213416.jpgBut wait, what are those? Why do we need little test tubes for a floral design class?

Those, our instructor informed us, held tiny amounts of preservative, which we could put a single flower stem in to keep that flower fresh.

As for the actual arrangement, we began by folding a piece of wax tissue paper so that it was a square diamond in shape. We then layered different plants, arranging them in such a way that they loosely followed the edges of the top third of the paper.

First up, leather. This leafy green thing is triangular in its shape, and is therefore good at the back of arrangements. Next, a few pieces of lemon leaf. Then Alstroemeria here and there, followed by daisy mums. Bits of wax flower (a tiny filler flower) and tree fern (a very light, almost wispy greenery) filled in gaps, while the last of the lemon leaf bordered the front’s bottom edge.

I carefully tried to put the little test tubes on the ends of my Alstroemeria and daisy mums, but, alas, some of the liquid escaped. The weakened paper ripped as I tried to wrap my arrangement, so I had to get a new piece of wax tissue paper. Thankfully, there was another purple one.

I20120125-214534.jpg carefully transferred my arrangement to the new diamond, then wrapped it like a baby. Up came the bottom corner to cover the stems. Then the left corner was brought across and held snugly in place as I did the same with the right corner.

With my flowers and greenery swaddled like a newborn, I wrapped a few pieces of raffia just under the opening of the tissue paper and finished the whole thing off with a pretty little bow.

Up next: boutonnieres and corsages!



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