Flower arrangement : An easy way to relax during COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Gayatri Khangjarakpam *

Flower arrangements are an easy way to beautify and make any rooms livelier. It is the artistic display of flowers in a right manner and proportion so that the same may provide maximum pleasure and satisfaction, and create a quite peaceful, pleasant and congenial atmosphere at the place. Some of the reasons why flower arrangements are so important for every occasions are;

Mood boosters : Flowers come in a wide variety of colours, smells, and styles. Placing flowers in your home or in your workplace is extremely beneficial when it comes to improving moods. A good floral arrangement can keep you in a happy state of mind throughout the day.

Transform a space : Floral arrangements can transform a dull room into an invigorating space. Pay attention to colours when creating an arrangement. For instance, colours like orange and red have been proven to boost energy, while shades of blue and green provide a serene feeling.

An expression of creativity: Arranging flowers is an expression of creativity and a highly valued art form. It can be a part-time hobby or full-time profession, depending on how you want to use your skills.

Materials used for flower arrangement

Containers : In floral design, the container is a foundation or base of the floral composition. A properly selected container should be functional and in harmony and unity with the arrangement. The container must be capable and deep enough for holding an adequate volume of water and to support the weight of the flowers.

In case the container is unable to hold water, another container, which can hold water can be placed inside. Glass, metal, plastic, porcelain or glazed pottery container all have unique effect on flower designs. Metallic finishes require protection from the tarnishing that accompanies the use of floral preservatives in the container water. The shape and size of a container often suggests the type of design to be created within it.

A large, heavy container requires a taller arrangement to balance the mass of the container. A beautiful curved style of arrangement calls for a dainty stemmed compote to provide balance. A horizontal dinner table arrangement is most attractive when constructed in a low and flat rectangular container. The lines of the container are repeated or accentuated to provide unity and harmony within a design.

The colour pattern found in the container appears best when it either repeats those found in colour scheme of the design or when neutral colours are present in the container. The most utilitarian colours used in floral containers are green, white, grey, brown, tan or black. Green-coloured floral vases are often selected, since nearly all flower stems and foliage repeat this colour.

Brown containers appear best when this colour is duplicated in dried flowers, wood or autumn-coloured leaves. Metallic containers having a finish of silver, brass, bronze and gold leaf usually suggest a formal design.

The containers with different shapes are termed differently, viz.
'Vase', where height of the container is greater than its width,
'Bowl', where width of the container is greater than the height and it is often used for table arrangements,
'Pedestal', where the container is elevated on a base that may be short- or long-stemmed and is useful when a tall arrangement is needed yet the mass of a vase container is not desired, and
'S' curve and triangular types look perfect in pedestals,
'Basket' (made of metal, wood or bamboo), which are used for both vertical and horizontal but usually in informal designs including the 'round', and
'Novelty' which are limitless in possibilities.

Care should be taken to assure that they do not overpower the design. These are perfect specially for free styles.

Support Material

o Needlepoint holders ('pin holders' or 'frogs') : It is customarily used for creation of modernistic and stylized designs by an amateur as well as by an ikebana artist as these are popular stem-supporting aids.

These are available in various shapes and sizes (round, oval or square) to suit any particular arranging requirements and are made of coated iron, brass or copper. They may be placed in any location at the base of the container and anchored for temporary or permanent use.

o Chicken wire (floral netting) : The stem support aid used for large floral bouquets usually consists of chicken wire with 2.5-cm mesh and a filler material. The filler material may be of chipped floral foam, vermiculite or the wire may be used to cover a solid block of foam.

o Floral foam : Various floral foam products are popular stem-supporting aids for both florist and home flower arrangement. These floral foams are manufactured from resins in several shapes, colours and for various design purposes. They may be purchased in either rectangular bricks to be cut to fit individual containers, or in cylindrical blocks for uses in specialized containers. These products are extremely porous, so they provide water to the inserted flower stems used in the arrangement.

Tools used : Various tools required in flower arranging include

o Knife to give sharp cut at the stem ends as well as floral foam
o Secateurs for cutting both herbaceous and woody plant material
o Pruning shears used for cutting woody materials
o Besides, different wires are also needed based on the floral design, such as florist wire, chenille stems, spool wire, twistems, wooden picks and floral tap.

Foliage and Flowers Used in Designing : Line type of design is thin, vertical and tapering and is made by using various flowers such as amaryllis, bells of Ireland, Dendrobium, gladiolus, golden rod, heliconia, iris, tuberose, Vanda, etc. and branches of bottle brush, Murraya, Dieffenbachia, etc. and foliage of areca palm, asparagus, cycas, fishtail palm, pandanus, sansevieria, snapdragon, etc.

For mass designing in round shape at the centre of arrangement the flowers and foliage required are anthurium, China aster, dahlia, Lilium, fruits of apple, orange, pomegranate, etc. and foliage such as money plant, philodendron, syngonium, etc.

For uncommon and unusual shape the flowers used are anthurium, bird-of-paradise, heliconia, orchids, etc. and the fruits of cashew, grapes, banana, etc. Fillers are used in case of thin, spreading and small arrangements with the help of palm leaves, gypsophila, aglaonema, asparagus, bottle brush, casuarina, eucalyptus, ferns, silver oak, etc.

o Harvesting : Best time to harvest flowers is in late afternoon or early morning at correct harvest stage according to the flower. The stems should be harvested longer than required with a sharp knife or shears than you will need. All leaves are to be removed from the lower part of the stems. If flowers are not used immediately, then follow a standard post-harvest management practice.

o Preparation: Using a sharp knife or shears, make a fresh cut on each stem and leave in water until use. The flowers should be handled by stems for preparation of floral arrangement. If floral foam is to be used then it should be soaked in preservative solution or in water.

o Arrangement : There is no hard and fast rule on whether the mass flower, line flower or filler to be placed chronologically. One should always use its own creativity on the creation of proper flower arrangement following principles and basic design elements. Conceal the holder by bringing some of the flowers or foliage down over it.

o Care : Place the arrangement out of heat source. Check the arrangement daily following best storage conditions.

o Prolonging the vase life of flowers : It depends upon many factors like temperature, relative humidity, light, air velocity, composition of the holding water etc. The vase life can be extended by the following methods. a. Prevention of pollination: b. Prevention of blocking of the conducting vessels of the flower stalks using preservatives and right environment.

So in-order to get a visually pleasing display of fresh flowers, dried flowers or Foliage Flower arrangement is very significant in any place be it Home, Workplace or during Festivals.

* Dr Gayatri Khangjarakpam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Assistant Professor (Horticulture), MTTC & VTC, CAU, Imphal
This article was webcasted on October 26 2021.

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