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Everyone loves a table flower arrangement in their home, so you might want to consider taking floristry classes in Melbourne to get all the insider tips and tricks! Some focus specifically on how to make a wedding bouquet, whilst other flower arrangement classes give you the chance to learn everything from flower crowns and wreaths to hand-tied posies and larger flower bouquets.
The sight of a pretty and scented bunch of flowers in your home can make you feel more in touch with the beauty of nature and even brighten your day. But you might feel an expensive arrangement from the florist every week is a bit much, so why not create your own? When you’re entirely focused on placing the beautiful flowers in an interesting and pleasing way, flower arranging becomes a mindfulness activity that can add to your wellbeing.
The local florist or flower market can provide you with some flowers that you may not be growing yourself. Visiting the flower markets is a great activity to do in Melbourne and there are some, including Footscray and Monbulk, that are open to the public. If you’re looking for indoor activities in Melbourne on a rainy day, the undercover markets can be a perfect destination. Do check before going, as some are purely wholesale markets for florists.
If you’re looking for some tips before you start, there is an abundance of floristry classes in Melbourne for you to attend!
Before you duck off to the florist, check your garden - and if you have nice neighbours, theirs too! Depending on the season, you might find some hardy Australian natives like proteas, wattle or even a waratah. There’s nothing like a native flower arrangement in your home to make you feel more connected with the Australian landscape! If you have birds of paradise growing in your garden, you could use one or two - they’re a strong angular shape but can work nicely if you soften them with a spray of spider orchids or a strong native variety like leucadendrons or a small waratah. If you don’t manage to find a native in your garden, local florists often stock blue thistle flowers, leucadendrons, wax flowers, and for a glorious short time in Spring, even flannel flowers.
You’ll also need some greenery. Easily plucked from your garden are viburnum, buxus from a hedge or monstera leaves (large tear-shaped leaves with swiss-cheese holes). For a structural green touch, you could cut a few succulents. In August and September, try to get your hands on a magnolia branch, which add lovely contrasting colour, as the underside of the leaves are brown whilst the top of the leaves are a glossy dark green.
Floral shears or florist snips are best, but garden secateurs will also do quite well. You’re going to want to cut all the stems of your flowers and foliage on an angle at the bottom because this creates the largest surface area to absorb the water and gives a fresh new cut to the stem as well. If you’re using roses, you may want to also invest in a rose dethorner - it’s a nifty little tool that strips the stems and will save your fingers from all those thorn pricks! Another useful addition is floral wire, which is handy for top-heavy flowers with dainty stems, like gerberas. You can wrap the wire around the stem and poke it gently into the bottom of the flower head to support it.
This is surprisingly a more important step than you might think. Tip: Size Matters! If it’s too tall and narrow, your flowers might end up standing straight up in a column, which is quite a formal style. If you’re aiming for something more casual and natural, look for something wider and shorter (not too short, because then all your flowers might end up drooping over the edge). Choose something in the middle and you’ll have a good chance of creating something you’re proud of.
Here you have several options to support your flowers to stay in place. A little piece of chicken wire, curled up into a ball shape will present you with holes that you can poke each stem into. A good little hack if you don’t have chicken wire is to use a plastic basket container that berries come in from the supermarket. Turn it upside down, place it in the bottom of the vase and use the holes in the bottom to thread the flower stems into. You can even snip the holes bigger if you need to. Another tactic is to use tape to make a grid across the top of the vase or floral foam to stick the flowers into, but be mindful that these are less environmentally friendly options. However, there are some newer floral foam products on the market which are biodegradable, so check carefully. Vintage flower frogs (metal, ceramic or glass) can be found in second-hand stores or online if you’re lucky!
The most sustainable and affordable choices are flowers that are grown as close to your home as possible. To work synergistically with nature, choose flowers that are in season in Australia. For visual interest and balance, try to choose a variety of textures, shapes and colours. You’ll need four main types. Firstly, longer branches for the frame, like blossom tree branches (almond/cherry/apple) or larger leaves. Larger blooms like hydrangeas, peonies and dahlias then provide the foundation of your arrangement. They fill a large space but aren’t the showiest. Then you want to sprinkle in some focal highlights, such as ranunculus, tulips, anemones, roses or freesias. These are the stars of the show, the ones you want to stand out the most. Then you’ll add what some florists call “floaters” - lighter, more delicate varieties such as cosmos, poppies, daffodils and sweet peas.
First, take a deep breath. This is the really good bit! Don’t worry that you’re not a bonafide qualified florist. Make sure you never feel stressed about it - just play around and enjoy it! If you don’t like how it’s looking, simply pull the flowers out and start again, or just rearrange a few. It’s important to step back regularly and view your flower arrangement from all sides so you see how it’s working. Your perspective will be very different when you view your arrangement from a distance.
Start by spreading your flowers and foliage out in a line across a table, each type grouped together. If you have chosen big branches or anything with a long stem, start placing those unevenly in your vase. Leave some tall and cut some shorter, so there’s a nice imbalance to the arrangement. Use your intuition. Then add the greenery in the same way. A nice tip is to use uneven numbers of each variety - like three or five green leaves, but not two or four because that can create an unwelcome symmetry.
Then place your biggest blooms quite low. They’re going to act as a “bed” for your arrangement. Place your focal flowers slightly higher, letting them shine. Finally, add your smallest flowers, which act as gentle highlights throughout the scene.
Tweak and move things until you’re happy with it and then enjoy the swell of pride in your handmade flower arrangement! And if you’ve been hooked by the flower-loving bug, you might want to learn how the pros do it and join some floristry classes in Melbourne!