Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Design tips from Ford Flowers

A vision of lovely created by
Bert Ford.
His tip: group flowers of the same color
(Hydrangeas, Alstromeria,
Roses, Cymbidium Orchids

While I was getting ready to leave the house last night to attend the monthly meeting of the Village Garden Club of Lynnfield, my oldest son asked me “what do you actually do at a garden club? I set my huge crystal punch bowl down (I was on refreshment committee for the night) and tried to explain why talking about flowers was so interesting to me.

Add a slight curve to a Calla Lily by gently running your thumb and forefinger down the stem. Create a stunning bowl of blossoms by adding one flower at a time, all going in the same direction.
Keep a couple of them outside of the bowl.

As I have mentioned, I do love my clubs (Book Club, Garden Club, Tennis Club, ... ). The Garden Club, however, has a special place in my heart. Both of my parents love to garden (Mom creates cottage gardens, Dad does formal plantings plus vegetables). Gardening for me connects me to that favorite childhood memory of watching my parents tend the earth. I actually got my mom to join the club with me, even though she lives a couple of towns away. It is always a pleasant evening for us, spent with a bunch of ladies who enjoy committing a couple of hours a month to ooh and ahh over all things floral, while catching up with each other over fancy refreshments. Sometimes the fact that I don’t have to do the night-time routine with the boys before they go to bed is reason enough to look forward to this girl’s night out!

This month we enjoyed the company of guest speaker, Bert Ford, owner of Ford Flower Company of Salem, NH. He shared some great tips on how to arrange flowers with a professional touch. He also shared some “I did not know that stories including how flower decorating as an art form started in America around 1961 with none other than Jackie Kennedy (she loved carnations and babies breath). Many years later Martha Stewart, with her over the top brand of do-it-my-way-because-it-is-a-good-thing creations, set high standards for everyday consumers looking to “say it with flowers. Today, in our flattened economy, we are seeing a lot more arrangements with a minimalist approach. All of a sudden, less can be more! But with my garden club friends, more flowers are always appreciated! And that is what we got last night from Bert. Here are some highlights ...

Simple glass containers and fresh flowers are all you need to get started. Scissors, floral foam (oasis), wire, and floral pics make the job easier. Ribbon will add that designer touch.

This gift basket arrangement combined a variety of flowering plants (still in their containers) with loose stems of roses, hydrangea, Gerbera daisies, babies breath and twigs to create a
long lasting arrangement that keeps on giving.

A black lacquered tray serves as a base of this engaging miniature garden thoughtfully designed with flowering pear branches, pink roses, green apples, votives and moss.

Up close it is even prettier. Set your table with this
and then call some friends over to enjoy it!

Stunning in person (this picture is a little dark) ... a large orchid plant was tucked into a square glass vase lined with large scale leaves then topped with moss. A few votive candles and rosebuds add drama.

Try wrapping an extra tall cylinder with a “corset” of grosgrain ribbon for a stylish effect. Add a large bouquet of brightly hued hand-tied flowers (hold them in your hand, add one at a time to achieve a balance of color and texture, then wrap the bunch with floral wire) and you’re done!

relaxed, yet elegant, arrangement shows off a variety of colorful blossoms, each tied in a mini bouquet with floral wire, then set in a large square vase. Be sure to check water level daily.

Most unique arrangement of the night (lots of “oohs” and “ahhs!”)

Horizontal shape, assymetrical design, drippy green flowers on one end, balanced by a huge branch of pink orchids on the other end, with bent grasses creating a handle in the center ... very designer-y! This looks like something I would see in one of my favorite shelter magazines in a modern or zen-like space. The ladies loved this one!
While I was watching the night’s presentation, I realized another reason why I love decorating with flowers. It doesn’t matter what type of home you live in, or what type of table you dine at ... a simple vase filled with cut flowers from your backyard (or the supermarket) will always get attention.

And with a little how-to information as a guide, elaborate creations can be within anyone’s reach (whether you make it yourself, or pick up the phone to place your order!) Thank you, Bert, for sharing your love of flowers and design with us. We learned a lot of great ideas on how to make boldly beautiful arrangements with confidence.

Ford Flower Company
Salem, NH

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