Arranging Florals in Foam: techniques, videos and candids from our November class

By Heather Lipp, J. Morris Flowers

Earlier this month, Jennifer taught sixteen, local, floral design enthusiasts her favorite techniques for creating a holiday centerpiece. The arrangement was low, lush and colorful, in a rustic but modern wooden box. The palette for the design included vibrant orange (Roses), white (Dahlias), ivory (Spray Roses), blue (Thistle) and the deep green and brown found in our own local Magnolia Leaves. Additionally, each arrangement featured two Succulents, allowing members of the class to experiment with using a "live" plant in their floral design.

Many of Jennifer's students were working with foam for the first time, learning how to prepare foam for the container and maintain moisture in their arrangement. Watch this video to learn how to "soak" and cut your foam.

Jennifer demonstrated two methods for incorporating Succulents and other live plants into a fresh flower arrangement. First, she cut a hole in the foam the size of the root and soil ball and placed the whole plant in the hole. Because roots and soil are included, the Succulent can simply be lifted out and reused again and again. "Succulents can also be wired," Jennifer explained,  "especially if they are to be used in a bouquet." Jennifer showed the members of the class how to trim the stem and poke a wire through the center of the plant creating a 2 ½” to 3” false stem that easily inserts into foam. 

Pave, is a French word that means pavement. Watch this video for an overview of this floral design technique.

Once the succulents were in place, it was time to focus on the next floral design technique; creating a “central binding point” with both the greenery and flowers. Jennifer explains this technique in the video below.

After Jennifer and the class filled in their shape with the Magnolia Leaves, they began to add the Seeded Eucalyptus. According to Jennifer, “This greenery is great because it naturally drapes – it’s going to fill in your ends, spill over your box and fill the space between your bigger leaves.

After adding the Roses and Dahlia’s, Jennifer talked about how to analyze the stem of plants like Blue Thistle. Each stem can be cut in several places creating individual pieces from the original branch. Thistle is colorful with a unique texture: a great way to fill in the few remaining holes in a design. Jennifer reminded the class to make sure they balanced their design by using each flower variety throughout the arrangement. Watch this video to learn the strategy that floral designers use when placing their floral stems. 

Finally, the class worked with moss to cover any remaining holes in the arrangement. Moss allows you to maintain spaces between stems while covering the foam and the edge of the container.

The arrangement was long (20” x 4”) but low, allowing for that critical sight line between guests. When this arrangement is reassembled for Thanksgiving, taper candles can be added as long as they are placed in the foam before any greens or flowers are added. 

Next Class Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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