Wondering what we teach in our workshops? Jackie from Something About That just posted her top 11 tips from our Vase Arrangement 101 Workshop. Click the link below to get the scoop!
Fall is here! Designers have always had a mad love affair with autumn; its palette is rich, warm and cozy and its textures are just as ample. Now that the temperatures are dropping, us Canadians will immanently be spending more time indoors. At WNF, we have created a step by step guide to help you bring the outdoors inside with your very own fall floral arrangement that will impress your pilgrimage of holiday guests.
STEP ONE: PREP YOUR VESSEL
Choosing a vessel for your arrangement sets the tone for the piece you will create. A glass vase suggests a clean and modern aesthetic, whereas an antique pitcher will add character to your piece. For this arrangement we have chosen a compote in a neutral tone to create a low and lush centrepiece.
Prepare tall and/or transparent vessels with a grid of floral tape along the perimeter of the vase. For wider and/or opaque vessels, form chicken wire into a hollow ball and use floral tape to secure it into place. Add water for your thirsty friends!
TIP: Compotes are a great choice for table arrangements, as they are low and do not block the view of your guest across the table. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s a great option!
STEP TWO: GREENS
Just like a chef or a baker, floral designers have recipes to (loosely) follow. Greens are always the first ingredient in making your recipe. Think of your greens as the bones of your piece, dictating the shape and support for your flowers later on. If you desire a round shape, evenly distribute your greens along the grid you have created. For a more organic shape, leave negative spaces to anticipate the addition of florals. Be sure to strip the stem of any foliage below the base of the grid to keep any stray leaves out of the water.
TIP: Use more than one kind of greenery to create an interesting shape. For our arrangement we have added a darker foliage to achieve tonal depth.
STEP THREE: BASE FLOWERS
Find a base flower you would like to use as the backdrop to your piece. Base flowers are best when they are sprays; sprays have several breaks in one stem and can cover lots of area. For our arrangement we have started with two variations of sprays: thryptomene and yarrow. Place some of the base flowers as following the lines of your greens, while others can deviate away, adding to the overall shape.
TIP: When using more than one kind of flower in a step, try grouping them together to create an organic feel. The same technique can be applied to tones and colours.
STEP FOUR: TEXTURE AND LINES
Find florals with texture and height to add some dimension to your piece. As we mentioned, fall and texture go hand in hand, so for our piece we have opted for some ornamental grasses and Queen Anne’s lace to soften up our piece with the warm-and-fuzzy-allover feelings they give us. Pick something that reminds you of putting on your favourite fall sweater! For lines, a foraged branch from a fall stroll would be a lovely addition to your piece.
TIP: Give your textural and line flowers lots of space to do their thing. Build upon the shape you have so far created, rather than cramming them in.
STEP FIVE: FOCALS
You’ve added all these ingredients, but for some reason it feels like something’s missing… It’s time for the piece de resistance, the main course, the third act: your focal. Your focal flower is where the eye will immediately be drawn to, so make sure it expresses your colour palette well. For our focal, we have chosen to use dahlias, the perfect fall local focal in deep red and cafe au lait colours. You might notice that we have deviated from the classic fall palette for something a little more modern and muted; if you are a traditionalist, sunflowers would be a wonderful choice for your focal.
TIP: Less is more when it comes to focal. Applying one or two per visible side of your arrangement will let the flower take centre stage.
STEP SIX: SECONDARY FOCALS
Secondary focal flowers should compliment your focal from step five. Think of your secondaries as the accessories to your perfect fall outfit. Just as the perfect boot or scarf can elevate your look, so can a rose or a stem of lisianthus.
TIP: Your arrangement might be getting a little crowded. If a stem wont go in where you want it, don't force it. Find a place where its natural shape can fit, like the last pieces of a puzzle.
STEP SEVEN: EXTRAS
It’s time for the bonus round. Find a flower that is airy and delicate to give your piece an ethereal feel. This last ingredient should be delicate and lightly threaded in to your arrangement as the last step. Our favourite step seven flowers are scabiosa (used in our arrangement) or cosmos.
TIP: You are nearly done! Make sure your piece has some dimension—place your “extras” in friendly positions, almost as if they are popping out of your arrangement to say hello to your admiring guests.
**We have lots of new centre piece additions to our online ordering roster that would make the perfect Thanksgiving favour. Feel free to check them out here.
- Written by Katie Jordon
As a floral designer, there is a particular conundrum faced when all our weekly goodies arrive in their buckets looking oh-so-wild, unkempt and farm-fresh. At Wild North, it is our wish and aesthetic to preserve that wildness our local growers supply by offering our recipients blooms right from Ontario’s big backyard. So where is the conundrum? Each of those blooms that appeared on our doorstep must be cleaned, trimmed and arranged; ultimately, some of that unruly charm becomes domesticated. The Japanese art of flower arrangement, Ikebana, explains this as the tasking of harmoniously combining the natural world with the human one. A designer needs loyal colleagues with a shared appreciation for rugged refinement if they are to consciously create an arrangement that is authentic to its materials. Who is my best co-worker, companion and friend in the studio? My dog Rosie.
Rosie was a country rescue mutt turned city dweller after my partner and I adopted her—a little bit like the flowers we bring into our workspace here. She is a brute and a darling; a little untamed, but (usually) well behaved. She is an embodiment of the balance I strive for as a designer: somewhere between spontaneous and thoughtful, wily and sweet. On days when I am able to bring Rosie with me to the studio, she always reminds me how important it is to stop and smell the flowers (she really does stop to smell all the flowers). Both flowers and pets have the capacity to make us feel an effortless and irrational joy. Our other working pups, Bailey and Cole—brother and sister shih-poos—act in coercion as conjoined twins or each others’ shadows, as if they were telepathic. But, no matter how in sync they always seem to be, Bailey is curious where Cole is stoic, serving to remind us of another element in design: opposites attract and compliment each other. Our canine residents are infinitely wise, if you know how to listen to them.
When deciding which charity to donate 2% of our monthly sales to, choosing Save Our Scruff a second time was a no-brainer for the entire team. Save Our Scruff is a wonderful organization in Toronto that pairs rescue dogs with their forever-homes. Visit their website www.saveourscruff.org to learn all about your new best friend and maybe even your new muse. If you know an organization that would like to be a part of our donation sales program for the month of August, please contact us at email@example.com.
Written by Katie Jordon, Wild North Flowers Floral Designer
There is a chapter in Lewis Carol’s Through the Looking Glass in which a miniature Alice finds herself in the garden behind her house talking to a tiger lily. It’s a fantastical notion really, to anyone but a florist. Us flower folk talk to our blooms regularly. We praise them, shower them with attention and encouragement, sometimes we even chastise a few for being such delicate wimps. It’s no wonder the blooms in Carol’s garden of live flowers were a little haughty; an attitude earned by all the gazes of admiration a flower must endure. However, in Disney’s adaption of the scene, the flowers were equally sensible, as they taught Alice that you can learn a lot of things from flowers, for especially in the month of June.
June is here and spring will blend into summer too soon, but the season’s senior roster is at its biggest, brightest and best. Although we do appreciate each flower for its own individual quirks and personality, we, at Wild North Flowers, have developed some devout feelings for a few particular combinations of petals.
PEONY. There is nothing basic about this girl. Not only a modern classic, but simply a classic classic. The peony has long been a symbol of abundance, wealth and honour--dubbed “Spring’s Shooting Star” or the “King of Flowers”. Any gardener knows that the flower does indeed inspire its own subjects, as it draws ants to its bud with its nectar in a ruse to have them work open their ruffled and fluffy cloud-like blooms. It’s the stuff cotton-candy-flavoured dreams are made of.
FOXGLOVE. This foxy lady is our most whimsical in the studio this month. There is something about foxglove that is pure magic, as if it were made out of teeny, tiny little fairy hats. And, as a Scandinavian legend tells, fairies taught foxes to ring the flower’s thimble-shaped bells in order to warn their kin when a hunter was near.
DELPHINIUM. The tall kid in class turned super model. Known best for its iconic, heart-breaking blues, this towering beauty steals the scene in any arrangement. Its star-shaped blooms are the reason for delphinium’s common names larkspur or knight’s spur, but in Greek the name translates to dolphin, referring to its sleek, streamlined shape. Call it whatever you choose, we’ll be happy to keep this one around in July.
- Written by Katie Jordon, Wild North Floral Designer.