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February 1, 2017

Achieve That Just Picked From The Garden Look In Your Floristry


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If like me you are an admirer of wild garden style design, then read on.

In this post I'll divulge a few of my hard earned secrets on how best to achieve that just picked from the garden look in your floral designs.

I have studied the odd Instagram account and it is fair to say quite a number of Pinterest images. I have attended the odd floral course. We all recognise, and I for one desire, that wild garden style look.

You know the bouquet that looks effortlessly gathered, but you know from your own design experience is only achieved by expert curation and great skill. Effortless wild garden style designs that epitomise the very on trend just picked from the garden look is actually far from effortless to achieve in practice. Jay Archer's work epitomises this look and I am delighted that I’ll be seeing her demonstrate in the near future.

In the mean time, I have been searching for the secret of what makes that effortlessly just gathered look, well, effortlessly just gathered.

Analysing what it is about these designs that turns them into the bespoke wild style designs I love, I have come up with FOUR hard earned secrets for how to achieve that wild style just picked from the garden look:

    • Chicken Wire and Frog Mechanics

Although some designers use oasis, many are now turning back to the Constance Spry days of good old chicken wire and frogs. Both are less impactful on the environment and have the added benefit of your blooms being placed directly in water so they tend to last a wee bit longer. This also allow use of foliage and flowers that dislike oasis and many of these are the quintessential garden style blooms that give the wild style just picked from the garden look.

Yes, sometimes it is tricky initially to create a frame of stems to hold your florals. However, once it is done, the wire allows for much more of a “free style” on where you place your florals with no downside to taking them out and repositioning them as there is with floral foam. I am a fan.

    • Foraged Local Seasonal Foliage

Previously I have written about foraging being the secret to wild garden style floristry. It has the wonderful aspect of connecting you directly with the surrounding area. It feels hugely personal and very present as the season right there and then is represented in the design. It is also a provider of “free foliage” but my dears I must emphasise I always take care where I snip.

I recently viewed a fabulous demonstration on how to create a wild garden style arrangement by Amy Osaba. I highly recommend viewing this demo - it illustrates exactly what I am describing.

To achieve that wild style just picked from the garden look, you need to include some wild pieces that are far from perfect and far from pristine. I was initially a bit surprised by this until I snipped the branches of my now over wintering snowberry and saw the effect of these wonderfully curled rather bare interestingly shaped branches had. In an instant, there was movement and life in the arrangement. It is a pity the farmer next door has chopped the rest of it off but I have salvaged what I can!

Wild style just picked from the garden floral designs have a unique signature given to them by the season and by the flora of the area. I always have Berried Ivy, Rosemary, Bay, Camellia foliage, Viburnum, Ferns and green and copper Beech from the trees in my garden. Whilst these are pretty ubiquitous foliage ingredients, they shout “local seasonal and British”. When these are combined with the quirky curled branches of my Snowberry and my spiky Berberis and Mahonia foliage, the design starts to take on a style and signature of its own.

What I have learned is the foliage must -absolutely must - be a little quirky to give that “just picked from the garden” look.

It is no good including perfect foliage you would buy from a wholesaler and hoping that will provide you with that wild garden style look. It just won’t and never can.

    • Unique Floral Ingredients

The florals need to be stunning mind you and blooming at their pristine and perfect best. Here, old fashioned is very much back in fashion with Dahlias, Garden Roses and Chrysanthemums all leading the way. Flowers that dance and sing, that give movement with a light and wispy air are the ones I seek as they always lend themselves to the wild style just picked from the garden look.

To achieve that movement and gain that unique seasonal look, I have started to grow my own local flowers with a focus on those that are hard to find at a wholesaler.

I will be listing my growing plans in a later missive. Now I am growing more varieties of Clematis that will give me soft branches of movement over the season. Honeysuckle and Jasmine are equally effective in giving movement and rhythm in floral designs with the added benefit of scent.

  • Mimic Nature in your Design Principles

Stems will rarely grow perpendicular but at a slight angle. In nature, each leaf will seek its own sunlight. In your wild style arrangement, to achieve that look of nature, you need to ensure each element has its own space.

....make no mistake, wild garden style arrangements require careful curation and a skilled floral design eye to achieve what some would describe as “effortless”

Create movement with stems that cascade rather than attempting to force stiff stems where they simply don't want to go. Years ago, at a floral demonstration given by a friend, she gave the very sage advise of always “working with your material". It was a revelation to me but so obvious once said. I am sure this is known to many but I feel it would be rather remiss of me to not write that if a stem has grown in a particular direction, to place it in any other location but where it was meant to be is growing is to be at odds with achieving that “just picked from the garden” look.

Wild garden style just picked from the garden bouquets and arrangements are beautiful scented and seasonal. Make no mistake however - they require careful curation and a skilled floral design eye to achieve what some would describe as “effortless”.

Utilising old style mechanics and shunning oasis, incorporating local foraged foliage and your own unique floral ingredients and mimicking nature in your design principles I have found can really help in achieving that sought after just picked from the garden look.

You can read even more from Fierceblooms, this flower grower and Cheshire florist on the floristry blog.

On the site, there are also lots more articles about my evolving canalside cheshire flower cutting garden.

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