Wild garden style design is visually dominating. Its large free form structure allows the flowers space and movement. Wild garden style is visually impactful. It is impossible to miss the flowers. If you are a bride carrying one of these wild garden style bouquets, I am sure you feel pretty stunning with it. And besides, with its scale, it can also double as a table centre.
I choose my largest double tulips and then hunted in my canalside cutting garden for other pieces to be the supporting cast. A few white tulips with pale pink marks were also included (oh how I wish I knew their name but as I bought a bag of mixed doubles it will forever remain a mystery!). The bonnet of 1 aquilegia had made its appearance in just the right shade of lime and pale purple, and so it started. Unfolding ferns were gathered, you know, the ones with those amazing curls. I just had to include one of those. It defines a quite unique moment at springtime.
My hellebores were still there in the perfect tonal shade, but they had changed from their early spring form. Now, their seed heads were forming and their petals were like paper. My lilac was ready for cutting as well as forget me nots which keep surprising well when conditioned well. Many people are a little wary of Euphorbia because of that milky sap it produces when its cut but I adore their texture and form and if conditioned carefully, I find it is fine. Although I’m not allergic to the sap, to avoid getting so, I wear gloves when I am cutting and stripping the leaves for conditioning. I always plunge mine in several changes of water and keep the water clear when its conditioning as they can still exude some sap from their cut stems. Always condition them alone for this reason.
My next thought thought was how to do the mechanics.
I have been using chicken wire in many of my table floral arrangements and had a frame to hand. It allowed me the scope to arrange the blooms at a far greater angle than I could achieve normally for a hand tie. Each stem was held in the frame in a more open way than I could have managed using my hand alone. Using Constance Spry’s chicken wire mechanics proved to be a huge help. I learned long ago that time spent on getting the mechanics right saves you hours and gives you confidence in the final design holding together. This is particularly important when it is a large wild style floral piece as actual balance is needed with the weight of those big blooms.
The following describes the design contribution of each element to the this wild style garden bouquet:
- Double Tulips in 2 shades of purple and white pink blush – large colourful round heads are the dominant focal flowers. Tulips give you an option for an early bloom that looks like a peony heads. I wrap mine in newspaper and string to condition them. Of course when peonies are available, these can be used instead
- Lilac – Thier frothy scented purple heads look gorgeous but I would include them for their scent alone
- Ferns – Long stems provide a great line for the design. Unfurled fern heads are an incredible shape uniquely capture a moment of time for a wild style garden design
- Euphorbia – acid green foliage that adds both line and texture
- Hellebores – in there same tonal shade of purple with seed pods and petals the texture of paper as a contrast to the tulips
- Aquilgea – white, green and purple nodding heads that look like bonnets and in one flower unify all the colours of the bouquet together
- White forget me not – a lovely alternative to the common blue, their small flowers give both scale and movement
I started to create the wild garden style floral bouquet with the foliage. Stems were added on either side of the design for visual as well as physical balance. Whilst the wild garden design bouquet is designed to look, well, wild, there is still skill and artistry in its design. Space, colour, texture, line and form – all these elements matter still and have great influence on the final design piece. You want your leading girls to shine. In this wild garden style floral bouquet it is the tulips. Big blousy blooms deserve to have their place in the sun, to sing from the bouquet. I placed the tulips with space between their heads to dance above the foliage, so your eye would follow them from one side to the other and create that all important movement. It is critical to have a bloom at the outer edges in this wild garden style floral bouquet otherwise it can distort both the space and the shape of the design.
Each wild garden style floral bouquet created from my cutting garden represents a quite unique moment in time, a gathering of nature’s own clock. It makes me look at everything that is there in a way that I would not normally do so. I have learned to stop fighting with my canalside cutting garden. The soil is clay. I have quite a few trees. I grow what thrives in those conditions rather than attempting for force it to florals and foliage that just sit there and sulk. I have learnt finally to let mother nature guide me on the design for my wild garden style floral bouquet.
Each bouquet created from my cutting garden represents a quite unique moment in time, a gathering of nature’s own clock.
Along with finds from the RHS show in Cardiff, I am sure I am far from alone in curating my lists for ordering later in the year.
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