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Chapter 18 floral design.

ABSTRACT

Flowers have played a major role in all civilizations since the beginning of recorded history. Background information on the uses of cut flowers, the different types of permanent flowers, and commonly used flowering plants for cut flowers is provided in this chapter. Flowers must be harvested at the proper time, and after the flowers are harvested, they must be handled properly. The five principles of floral design include proportion, scale, balance, rhythm, and dominance. The seven design elements are color, line, form, shape, space, texture, and pattern. The flower designer must follow six key design rules to create a successful design. The tools and materials commonly used for designing flowers include containers, cutting tools, floral foam, straight wire, ribbon, water tubes, floral tape, and floral clay.

Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

* discuss ways in which flowers were used in past civilizations.

* provide background on the uses of cut flowers.

* provide background information on the different types of permanent flowers.

* recognize flowering plants that are commonly used for cut flowers.

* discuss the proper time for harvesting certain types of flowers.

* outline the steps involved in conditioning flowers and foliage after receiving them in the retail or wholesale outlet.

* list the principles of floral design.

* discuss design elements that are physical characteristics of plant materials.

* discuss the six key design rules that are required in order to have a successful floral design.

* understand the commonly used tools and materials for designing flowers.

Key Terms

balance

cut flowers

dominance

floral form

floral garland

florists

form

hand pruner or floral shears

Ikenobo Design

line

proportion

rhythm

scale

shape

space

texture

vase life

INTRODUCTION

This chapter provides some of the basics of floral design. Flowers have played a major role in all civilizations from the start of recorded history. The first written record of the use of flowers was by the Egyptian civilization in 2800 B.C.; Egyptians are known for their large showy arrangements. The Greeks followed the Egyptians in around 600 B.C. and are known for scattering flower petals on special occasions and for wearing or carrying wreaths. The Romans then conquered the Greeks and are known for the use of floral garland. During the same period of time as the Greek and Roman civilizations, Oriental floral design emerged in India and then spread to China and Japan. Around the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was formed, which led to designs that were distinct for the different regions: Renaissance, Baroque, Flemish, and Victorian. Early settlers from Europe who came to the United States brought with them their European cultures and floral designs.

[FIGURE 18-1 OMITTED]

Cut flowers are detached from the parent plant for use in floral arrangements, corsages, bouquets, and more (Figure 18-1). Fresh cut flowers have a very short life span, so permanent flowers such as artificial, silk, and dried flowers have increased in popularity; however, fresh cut flowers are still the most popular and are used for a variety of occasions. Both woody and herbaceous plants are used for cut flower production, and different species can retain their desirable qualities for different periods of time. Plants grown for cut flowers should have vigorous growth and be disease free. At what stage of floral development the flower should be removed from the parent plant depends on the species. After flowers or foliage are detached from the parent plant, they must be properly cared for and handled. Steps for conditioning flowers and foliage include unpacking and inspecting; prioritizing the order of processing flowers; removing sleeves, ties, and any foliage below the water line; recutting stems and putting them in warm water containing floral preservatives; placing in the light at room temperature; and then placing in the cooler.

Flower arranging is an art; however, there are five principles of floral design: proportion, scale, balance, rhythm, and dominance. In addition, the seven key design elements are physical characteristics, including color, line, form, shape, space, texture, and pattern. A successful floral designer pays careful attention to six key design rules that affect the design from top to bottom. The floral designer must also be aware of the correct tools and materials now available that make designing flowers easier and make designs look their best. Some key tools and material include containers, cutting tools (such as pocketknives, floral shears, ribbon shears, and wire cutters), floral foam, straight wire, ribbon, water tubes, floral tape, and floral clay.

HISTORY OF FLORAL DESIGN

Written records trace the first use of flowers to the Egyptian civilization in the year 2800 B.C. The Egyptians used flower arrangements to beautify their homes and in ceremonies as offerings to their gods and to their dead. They are known for their showy flower arrangements in large vases (Figure 18-2). A typical Egyptian arrangement included roses, water lilies, violets, and narcissus flowers arranged together with a variety of types of foliage such as ivy and palm leaves. Around the year 600 B.C., the Greeks began to use flowers. Unlike the Egyptians, however, the Greeks were the first to scatter flower petals on the ground during weddings and other festive occasions. In addition, Greeks were the first to carry and wear floral wreaths (Figure 18-3). The Romans conquered the Greeks and took over many of the Greek customs. In fact, the Romans modified the floral wreath to make the floral garland, which is a noncircular wreath made of flowers, foliage, or a combination of the two (Figure 18-4).

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[FIGURE 18-4 OMITTED]

During the same time period as the Greek and Roman civilizations developed their design skills, Oriental floral design emerged. Buddhists priests in India began placing flowers on altars in religious ceremonies. Their religious beliefs prevented them from killing live plants, but did allow them to use flowers that had broken off the plant naturally. Around the beginning of the first century, the Chinese adopted the Buddhist religion from India. They thought it was not proper just to lay flowers on their altars, so they developed a practice of placing the flowers in large containers. Around 600 A.D., Buddhism was introduced to Japan. The Japanese culture created a style of its own called the linear asymmetrical balance. At the beginning of the eleventh century, a Buddhist priest named Ikenobo developed a specific method for Japanese floral arrangements called Ikenobo Design, in which each flower has a specific meaning and an exact location in the arrangement.

After the fall of the Roman Empire around 300 A.D., the emerging countries of Europe including France, Italy, Germany, and England all developed the use of flowers distinct to their region, such as Renaissance, Baroque, Flemish, and Victorian. Early settlers from Europe who came to America brought with them their European cultures. The Victorian design became the pattern for early American floral arrangements. The term Williamsburg design describes the American version of the Victorian style. The Williamsburg style is a large, round-shaped floral arrangement commonly used in the United States today. In the 1920s, a small bouquet for women to wear, known as a corsage, became very popular and is still very popular in the United States today.

BACKGROUND ON CUT FLOWERS

Cut flowers are grown for the sole purpose of removing them from their parent plant to display them in containers, use them in corsages, and more. Florists are individuals who use cut flowers in their trade. Cut flowers can be sold individually or in bunches; however, to add to their value, florists make floral designs for a variety of special occasions. Fresh cut flowers have a very short life span, so dried flowers and permanent flowers, such as silk or polyethylene, are also used in certain cases. Cut flowers can be used for a variety of occasions; for example, weddings, funerals, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Easter. Today, working in a florist shop is a lot of fun; however, it is also a tough profession. For example, there are long hours on holidays, and work comes in flushes for weddings and other special occasions.

PERMANENT FLOWERS

During the early 1950s, technology became available for the inexpensive production of flowers made of polyethylene plastic (at this time they were called plastic flowers). To improve the image of this type of flower, florists later called them artificial flowers, and these are still used today in specific cases. In the 1970s, silk flowers became very popular. Although called silk flowers, they are actually made of polyester fabric.

In the 1980s through today, dried flowers and weeds have become very popular. Flowers may be dried either by natural or artificial means, depending on the species being dried. To dry flowers naturally, they are cut and then hung upside down in bunches or singly in a well-ventilated dry room until they become brittle. Examples of species that can be dried naturally are Gypsophila (baby's breath), Eryngium (holly), and Limonium (statice). Plants with fruits or pods such as poppy, foxglove, and Chinese lantern are also excellent examples of flowers that can be dried naturally. Artificial or chemical drying uses special drying agents to dry flowers rapidly. Some examples of drying agents include silica gel or a mixture of silver, sand, and borax. Flowers are dried by placing the chemical used for drying in a container, placing the flower on top of the chemical, and then adding more drying agent on top of the flower. The container is then placed in a warm place and allowed to dry for three to four days depending upon the flower. Examples of flowers that can be dried by this method are Delphinium, Pelargonium, fuchsia, and rose. A commonly used method for drying leaves from trees, such as horse chestnut, oak, and mountain laurel, is to put the end of the petiole in a 1:2 mixture of glycerine and water.

COMMONLY USED FLOWERING PLANTS FOR CUT FLOWERS

Both woody and herbaceous plants are used for cut flower production. The most commonly used cut flowers are roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums. In the cut flower industry, annual herbaceous flowers are most commonly used, and these require planting every season and high maintenance to produce a high-quality product. Woody plants used for cut flowers have the disadvantage of requiring a long time to establish the crop before flowers can be harvested; however, as perennials, they require less maintenance. Each species and cultivar has a different vase life, which is the amount of time a cut flower retains its desirable qualities prior to deteriorating. Some examples of commonly used herbaceous cut flowers are baby's breath (Gypsophila elegans), carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.), freesia (Freesia refracta), gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), zinnia (Zinnia elegans), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), and globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa). Examples of commonly used woody cut flowers are rose (Rosa spp.), hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), pussy willow (Salix matsudana), forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia), and holly (Illex spp.).

HARVESTING FLOWERS

Plants grown for cut flowers should have vigorous growth and be disease free. Cut flower plants must be provided with optimal growing conditions throughout their life cycles to maximize their postharvest life. In addition to growing plants for cut flowers under the proper conditions, harvesting at the optimal stage of development is also critical. For example, chrysanthemums are harvested when their flowers are fully open, whereas roses are harvested when they are partially open (first two petals starting to unfold) and peonies and German irises are harvested when the buds begin to show color.

CARE AND HANDLING OF FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE AFTER HARVEST

To increase the vase life of cut flowers, both growers and consumers must take care of them properly. Immediately after harvest, the grower should remove the field heat because wilting greatly reduces the vase life of cut flowers. By rapidly reducing the storage temperature to between 32 and 35[degrees]C, respiration and water loss is minimized. After removal of the field heat, maintaining a high relative humidity of approximately 90 percent is critical together with proper air circulation to minimize water droplets forming on flowers and leaves. When water droplets form, flowers are subject to fungal attacks such as the gray mold caused by Botrytis. Following harvest, cut flowers must have good-quality water. Hard water can be harmful to many cut flowers. Lastly, during shipment and handling, it is important to minimize the exposure of cut flowers to ethylene, which is a very powerful plant hormone that leads to the deterioration of most cut flowers.

Retailers should use the following steps to conditioning flowers and foliage:

1. Unpack and inspect. Immediately after receiving flowers, unpack and inspect them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

2. Prioritize the order of processing flowers. Prioritize based on the expense of the flowers and then on condition.

3. Remove sleeves, ties, and any foliage that will be below the water line. Leaves are removed to prevent them from deteriorating in the water and ties are removed to overcome potential restriction in water uptake. The sleeves should be removed to provide the flowers with space and to release any unwanted gasses, such as ethylene, that may have become trapped during shipping.

4. Recut all stems and put in a plastic or glass container (do not use metal) with warm water between 100 and 105[degrees]F. This facilitates water uptake and fully hydrates the cut flower.

5. Add floral preservatives. Floral preservatives such as Floralife (silver thiosulfate) should be dissolved in the warm water mentioned in the previous step. The main function of silver thiosulfate is to block ethylene action and prevent bacterial growth.

6. Place cut flowers at room temperature in the light. This should be done to allow for the uniform uptake of water containing preservatives.

7. Place cut flowers in a cooler. The cooler should be set at between 34 and 38[degrees]F with high humidity, good air circulation, and constant lighting.

PRINCIPLES OF FLORAL DESIGN

Flower arranging is an art; however, there are guidelines to help a floral designer create a beautiful arrangement of flowers. Principles of design include the following:

* Proportion and scale. This is the relationship between size and shape, including specific characteristics of the flowers, the container used, the table or shelf, and the room they are in. Scale is the part of proportion dealing with the relative size among things only, not shapes. The arrangement should be one and one-half times the container height or width. The flower arrangement should not overpower the room or be too small for a given location.

* Balance. This is the physical and visual stability of a floral design. A symmetrical design is equal in size and shape on both sides of the central axis of the arrangement, whereas asymmetrical designs have two sides that are not equal (Figure 18-5). Typically centerpieces are symmetrical, which enables people sitting at the table to see the same beauty no matter where they sit.

* Rhythm. The arrangement should have an ordered flow. In other words, all aspects of the arrangement should be tied together to create a pleasing effect.

* Dominance. One design element or characteristic should be more noticeable than others, thereby creating a focal point.

[FIGURE 18-5 OMITTED]

Design Elements

Design elements are the physical characteristics of the plant materials that a designer uses. The following are design elements:

* Color. Color is the most important element in the visual arts. All colors can be made from the three primary colors--red, yellow, and blue. When two primary colors are combined, they create secondary colors--green (made by combining yellow and blue), violet (combining blue and red), and orange (combining red and yellow). In an arrangement, you can create a feeling of warmth by using red and yellow colors or a cooling effect by using blue and green colors. When color is used wisely, the floral design turns out beautiful and can also help mask problems associated with a given design (Figure 18-6).

* Line. This is the movement between two points within a design, which can be created with linear or round plant material (Figure 18-7). Changing the heights of linear flowers can produce lines in a floral design. A line within an arrangement can also be made with round flowers by using the same-size flowers and alternating their position in the line, or round flowers can create a line by starting with small flowers at the top and becoming larger as they progress toward the bottom of the arrangement. Round flowers can also be used to create a line by starting with smaller, light-colored flowers at the top of the arrangement and then using larger and darker flowers as they get closer to the container.

* Form. Form is the three-dimensional shape of the outline of the floral design.

* Shape. Shape is the two-dimensional term for form. Examples of basic floral design shapes are triangle, symmetrical triangle, open triangle, L-shaped, vertical, Hogarth or S-curve, horizontal, and round shapes (Figure 18-8).

* Space. This is the distance between plant materials found in the arrangement. In a floral design, some parts should be very dense and other parts should be open spaces to feature uniquely shaped flowers such as irises and daisies. Generally, more space is left at the top of the arrangement with the flowers getting progressively more dense as they near the top of the container.

* Texture. This is determined by the surface quality and placement of plant parts in the design. Surface texture qualities include smooth, rough, shiny, velvety, and others.

* Pattern. This is determined by the physical characteristics of the plant material, such as the arrangement of leaves and petals. Plant material used in an arrangement can be classified into four main shapes or forms (Figure 18-9): line, mass, form, and filler flowers.

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[FIGURE 18-9 OMITTED]

Six Key Design Rules

The following design rules should be followed strictly to create a successful flower design:

1. The arrangement height begins with the proper placement of the first flower, as it is important to work from the top of the arrangement to the bottom.

2. Smaller flowers and/or buds should be placed at the top of the arrangement, whereas large fully opened flowers should be located near the bottom.

3. Light-colored flowers should be placed near the top of the arrangement and dark-colored flowers should be placed near the bottom.

4. Flowers should be placed farther apart at the top of the arrangement and get progressively closer at the bottom.

5. Placement of flowers should be from the back of the arrangement toward the front.

6. A focal point should be established at the bottom of the arrangement.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS USED FOR DESIGNING FLOWERS

The floral designer should be aware of the correct tools and materials, especially because new materials and supplies are coming on the market that make designing flowers easier and make designs look their best. The most commonly used tools and materials include the following:

* Containers. A variety of basic container design styles are commonly used. Each design requires a specific type of container with different geometrical shapes, colors, textures, and materials, such as glass, plastic, and styrofoam (Figure 18-10).

* Cutting tools. The pocketknife is one of the most important tools available to the floral designer for processing flowers for storage, cutting flowers to a desired height for an arrangement, cutting floral foam to be put into a container, and much more. Hand pruners or floral shears are used to cut thick or woody stems that cannot be cut readily with a pocketknife. Ribbon shears have long, sharp blades for cutting ribbon, fabrics, or other similar materials. Utility shears are used for cutting paper and plastic, trimming leaves or small branches off stems, and more. Wire cutters are also used for cutting wire used in making corsages or bouquets. A variety of types, sizes, and shapes of floral shears, ribbons shears, wire cutters, and utility shears are used by florists depending on the task and the designer's preference. All cutting tools must be sharp to maximize their efficiency.

* Floral foam. Water alone does not provide enough support when arranging flowers, so flowers are arranged in a block of absorbent material called floral foam. Floral foam comes in two basic formulations: one for fresh flowers and the other for dried plant materials. The standard size of a block of floral foam is about the size of brick (Figure 18-11). Floral foam can be cut to fit any size container with a pocketknife or a piece of wire. The foam should be soaked with water prior to placing it into the container. The foam should be placed into the container so that it extends above the top edge of the container. In some containers, wire mesh is put over the top of the floral foam to provide additional support.

* Straight wire. Wires are used for a variety of purposes, including making corsages and bouquets. Commonly used wire sizes are 18 to 30 gauge; the smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire. Different gauge wires are used for different purposes; for example, #26 is used for bows, #22 for medium-sized flowers, #20 for larger flowers, #28 for filler flowers, and between #24 and #30 for corsages and bouquets.

* Ribbon. Ribbons come in different widths, including #1, #1.5, #3, #9, and #40; they also come in a variety of types such as satin, cotton, silk, sheer, burlap, or paper. Typically, smaller sizes (such as #1 to #3) are used for corsages and bouquets, larger types (such as #5 and #9) are used for potted plants, and extra large (such as #40) is used for funeral arrangements or larger arrangements.

* Water tubes. Water tubes are small rubber-capped plastic tubes that are used for holding water for a single flower or cluster of flowers. The rubber cap has a small hole for insertion of the flower stem. These tubes are used to extend the life of flowers used in funeral sprays, wreaths, and others. This method is a little more expensive than just wiring the flowers to a short stick or piece of metal, but the flowers last much longer because the water tube keeps the flowers hydrated.

* Floral tape. Floral tape is parafilm-coated paper, used to cover wires and stems and thus to enhance the beauty of the arrangement. Prior to being stretched, parafilm will not adhere to a container; however, once stretched, it adheres to the container and itself. Floral tape comes in half-inch and 1-inch widths in a wide variety of colors, such as green, yellow, black, red, white, and gray.

* Floral clay. Floral clay is used to hold materials in place, such as a piece of styrofoam in the bottom of a container used for a dried flower arrangement, or to hold a piece of chicken wire in place to support flowers.

[FIGURE 18-10 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 18-11 OMITTED]

SUMMARY

You are now familiar with the world of floral design. Flowers have played a major role in all civilizations since the beginning of recorded history. Cut flowers and the different types of permanent flowers are both used in floral design. Flowers must be harvested at the proper time and handled properly. The five principles of floral design are proportion, scale, balance, rhythm, and dominance. The seven design elements are color, line, form, shape, space, texture, and pattern. The chapter concluded with a discussion of the six key design rules that are required for a successful design and the tools and materials commonly used for designing flowers.

Review Questions for Chapter 18

Short Answer

1. Based on written records, which culture first used flowers?

2. What type of floral designs are Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans known for?

3. Oriental floral design began in three countries. List the three countries, designating which was first, second, and third to use flowers. Then, provide their contribution to floral design.

4. After the fall of the Roman Empire, many countries emerged in the region now called Europe. List two of the four design types created in those countries.

5. What design became the pattern for early American floral arrangements? What term describes the American version of this type of design?

6. What are three types of permanent flowers?

7. What are silk flowers made of?

8. What are the most commonly used cut flowers?

9. List the six steps that should be followed to condition flowers and foliage properly.

10. What are the five principles of floral design?

11. What are the seven design elements?

12. What are the six key design rules?

Define

Define the following terms:

floral garland

Ikenobo Design

cut flowers

florists

vase life

proportion

scale

balance

rhythm

dominance

line

form

shape

space

texture

pattern

True or False

1. According to written records, the Egyptian civilization was the first to use flowers.

2. Corsages were very popular in the Baroque era.

3. In Ikenobo Design, flowers are distributed randomly throughout the arrangement.

4. The Renaissance design became the pattern for early American floral arrangements.

5. Egyptians are known for their showy flower arrangements in large containers.

6. Greeks did not arrange flowers in vases or jars; they are known for scattering flower petals at weddings and wearing and carrying wreaths.

7. Romans were the first to use the floral garland.

8. Each of the European floral design styles has its roots in the traditional Greek and Roman cultures.

9. Silk flowers are made of polyester fabric.

10. Silver thiosulfate prevents bacterial growth and blocks ethylene action in cut flowers.

11. Prior to conditioning flowers and foliage that have been received, the order of processing should be prioritized based on the condition and expense of the flowers.

12. One of the six rules of floral design is to work from the top of the arrangement toward the bottom.

13. One of the six rules of floral design is to use smaller flowers or buds at the top of the arrangement.

14. One of the principles of floral design is proportion, which is the relationship between size and shape.

15. One of the principles of floral design is scale, which is a part of proportion dealing with size only, not shape.

16. Design elements are the physical characteristics of plant materials, such as color and line.

17. The pocketknife is one of the most important tools available to the floral designer.

18. Commonly used wire sizes are 5 to 10 gauge.

Multiple Choice

1. Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans incorporated the use of flowers into their cultures. Which of the following were the Greeks known for?

A. Showy arrangements

B. Floral garland-type arrangements

C. Scattering flower petals on the ground during festivals

D. All of the above

2. Buddhist priests in which of the following countries were the first to use flowers in religious ceremonies?

A. India

B. Japan

C. China

D. None of the above

3. Steps for conditioning flowers and foliage include

A. prioritizing the order of processing the flowers based on the amount of each type.

B. recutting all stems and placing them in cold water.

C. adding floral preservatives such as Floralife.

D. placing them in a cooler with low humidity.

4. Basic floral design shapes include

A. asymmetrical triangle.

B. symmetrical triangle.

C. open triangle.

D. All of the above

5. Which of the following is not a key rule of floral design?

A. Use light-colored flowers near the top.

B. Place small flowers or buds at the top of the arrangement.

C. Start flowers at the front of the arrangement and work toward the back.

D. Establish the focal point at the top edge of the container.

Activities

Now that we have completed our discussion of floral design, you will have the opportunity to explore this fascinating area in more detail. In this activity, you will visit a local florist and gather the following information:

* the types of flowers that are sold, including fresh, artificial, and dried.

* care and handling procedures used for cut flowers. types of arrangements made and whether the arrangements followed the six rules of floral design.

In addition to the information you were asked to gather, include your thoughts on how the flower shop was run in general. If you do not have access to a flower shop, surf the Internet for two sites that present information on floral design and summarize them. Provide the Web site address where you found your information.
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Author:Arteca, Richard N.
Publication:Introduction to Horticultural Science
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:4724
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