Who doesn’t love flowers? Capable of eliciting various emotions, from smiles of joy to tears of appreciation, flowers brighten our lives. We are so enthralled with blooming plants that they have become entwined within our culture, present in our celebrations, rituals, and everyday lives. When given as gifts, they have become symbols that express our thoughts and wishes: happiness, pride, regret, sympathy, thanks, and love. These interwoven emotions make bouquets and flower arrangements both powerful and meaningful. Whether we are gardeners or not, we all have relationships with flowers.
Flowers have always made me happy, whether I’m enjoying them in the garden, receiving them or giving them as a gift, or watching the pollinators feasting on their nectar. They fascinate me, motivate me, and enrich my life.
A few months ago, I attended a peony workshop where I learned a few flower arranging tips. Ever since then, I have become passionate about making bouquets and arrangements. I love the idea of bringing flowers indoors. Carrying a bouquet in from the garden can change the entire mood of the home (and of the people in it). Being an artist at heart, I find that creating an arrangement combines my love of flowers and art. You are still creating a masterpiece when arranging flowers, except instead of using paint, ink, or pencil, the medium is living blooms. There is something beautiful and organic about that.
As with any new interest, I wanted to learn more so that I would improve. So I read books and articles about color theory, proportions, focal points, repetition, transitions, balance, and container choice. I learned about floral frogs, floral tape, floral shears, and floral netting, and I gleaned information about flower preparation, vase life, foliage, and fillers. And once I felt confident that I could create an arrangement, I gave it a try.
At first, I became frustrated and daunted. I didn’t know where to begin, and I was afraid to make a mistake. All of the information I had previously studied became a jumbled mess in my brain. Doubt started to set in. I had seen so many gorgeous arrangements in magazines and on Instagram, made by professionals that arranged flowers for a living. How could one of my creations come close to that? I had to admit to myself that I had unrealistic expectations. Then I realized I was working with flowers, some of the most beautiful things on earth. Even if my arrangement didn’t look professional, it would still be attractive because the flowers would make it so.
Once I let go of my anxiety, I found that flower arranging is incredibly relaxing. With just me, a vase, some flowers, and my ol’ pals Mozart and Beethoven, I could feel all the stresses of daily life melting away. I no longer fretted about whether my arrangement was balanced, proportioned, or used color theory. I knew that those things would come eventually with experience. But, for now, I just wanted to enjoy the moment. So, I went about putting the stems wherever it felt right to me, and I enjoyed the entire process. In the end, the arrangements weren’t perfect, but it wasn’t like they would be gracing a table at a wedding or anything. They were made purely for my family and my friends; to put a smile on their faces. And they succeeded.
I’ll probably never become a professional floral designer or have my arrangements displayed in the pages of a magazine, but that won’t stop me from playing with flowers. I’ll continue to learn with each bouquet or arrangement that I make. And when given as a gift, if those flowers elicit the intended emotion, I consider that a win. Yes, even if the bouquet doesn’t fit all of the rules. Now, I’m off to create a blooming masterpiece, as flowers and I have an arrangement.