Have you ever started putting a flower arrangement together, and kept telling yourself "I've got this" to only end with something you aren't so proud of, nonetheless wanted to show someone? Yeah... we have been there too. And let's be honest, there's nothing worse for your self-esteem than being excited to make something with your OWN HANDS and thinking about how you want to post it on Instagram to share with friends and family...only to end up hiding it in the closet, or tearing it apart - walking away never to finish, or even worse...just throwing it away. It hurts! Egos, self-esteem, and wallets! That's why we want to give you our 4 Principles and a Go-To Formula for mixing flowers for arrangements. With these principles combined with our formula, you'll learn the skills of mastering flowering combinations and will be able to be confident in mixing and matching stems to create arrangements that you are not only proud of, but that will be able to help spread the JOY from making it to your friends by sharing, all while not wasting money on projects you never finished! Who doesn't need that in their life?
OK, I know the thing you're probably really interested in is our formula, but just like you gotta crawl before you walk, you need to understand a few principles first before you start plugging things in a formula. But don't worry, this isn't algebra (or worse chemistry)! You don't need a calculator and there won't be a test!
Principle #1 : Be Intentional
You can like it all, but you don't have it all at the same time! A few years ago, I visited a new restaurant that specialized in salads, and instead of going with one of the pre-made salads combinations that I'm sure they had painstakingly created (including special house-made salad dressings), I decided to make a custom combination. I mean, I was an adult and knew what foods I liked, so I thought "How hard can this be? I can do this" WELL, SPOILER ALERT....it was a disaster. I got a little overwhelmed with the choices and changed the thought process to "Well, just pick the things you LOVE! If you LOVE the pieces on their own, you'll LOVE it together!" WRONG...so wrong. It was so wrong in fact, I actually have never been back to the restaurant out of embarrassment of myself. True story. When it comes to mixing flowers, it's the same thing. Mixing flowers with intention and to fill a role in our formula will guarantee that you're setting yourself up for success!
Principle #2: Roles are Important
When it comes to mixing flowers, think of them like they were in a band. They can't all be the Lead Singer! There's a reason why all of our favorite music groups over the years have ended up breaking up and many of the artists have gone solo! EGOS! They wanted to be a star in their own right, and it's tough being part of a group...especially when there are egos involved. Fortunately for us, faux flowers don't have emotions and egos! So they'll play whatever part we want them to play in a good combination. Think of it like we want a choir of flowers, not a N'sync (a former boy band) of flowers - am I dating myself? Well...regardless of whether it's The Beatles, Destiny's Child, or One Direction that comes to mind for you, know that we are wanting a mix of flowers that work together in their roles! Mixing the right lead singer (focal flower) with backup singers (other flowers) with the right band (foliage) creates a much more enjoyable, impactful, and overall experience where everything is appreciated in the whole, not just the individual pieces ALL fighting for your attention.
Principle 3 + 4: KISS + CONNECT THE DOTS
When I was in Elementary school, I learned 2 of the biggest philosophies that I've carried through life with me, and no...one of them wasn't that girls had cooties. The 1st was KISS, Keep It Short + Simple. I'll be honest, it was a miracle I heard it in class, because I was labeled a "social butterfly" in First Grade, I even have it written on a report card to prove it. But it stuck with me, and I've often learned that keeping it simple is often more effective than doing something more complicated. This couldn't be more true than with flower combinations, especially with color. I promise you, an arrangement with 2 or 3 colors is easier to create and be happy with the result than one with 12 colors. I mean, I love that Dolly Parton had that Coat of Many Colors, but let's be honest....not many people could rock it like I'm sure she did.
So how many colors should you mix? We would recommend keeping it from 2 to 3 colors. Chances are you're going to have some kind of greenery, and while I believe that green is a neutral, we'll consider that Color 1 and starting point. If you're not using green, let's say it's Fall and you're using fall foliage, whatever foliage color you're using would be your Color 1. That leaves you with Color 2, and a Color 3 if you want to add it. Regardless of 2 or 3 colors, here's where Lesson #2 from Elementary Schools comes, CONNECT THE DOTS. Let's say you only want to do an arrangement with white and green, while it sounds like there are only 2 colors, there are actually more! You want to CONNECT THE DOTS between green and white, so there is more of a blend of color. In your mix of flower roles, be sure to use a stem or 2 that has both white and green on them to help connect the two colors. A white hydrangea, with some white and green ranunculus would be perfect example of this.
The same CONNECT THE DOT mentality runs through if you're using 3 colors. Let's say you want to use Green, Yellow, and Coral. Among the pieces you mix together, you're going to want pieces that have a connector to another color. Our Sunset Dahlia is the perfect example connecting yellow and coral/orange.
Now that you have a great grasp on those 4 principles, you can now use that knowledge and put it in action with our formula, creating a combination that you are going to love and be proud of, that uses flowers with a purpose and with intention, while not wasting money! Let's get to it!
Remember to make it F.L.U.F.F.F.Y.
And yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but we're talking flowers here...not life altering surgery, so it's gotta be fun and memorable.
A quick over view:
- Fluffy Foliage: Soft foliage the drapes or moves.
- Leafy Foliage: Bigger leaf foliage.
- Up: Do you need height? What stem(s) can you use for height?
- Focal: The Big Feature, think Beyonce or Diana Ross.
- Friends: 2 or 3 flowers that aren't as large as the Focal, but add texture and color to the arrangement.
- Filler Flower: Hydrangea or another to fill in.
- Your Choice of Additional Texture (optional): Berries, variegated foliage, other texture.
OK, let's break the formula down so that it makes a little more sense.
F. L. U. F. F. F. Y.
The first two letters stand for Fluffy and Leafy foliage. We recommend 2 kinds of greenery in an arrangement. Sometimes it's easy to just think about the flowers, and have the greenery an afterthought. But the greenery combination that is used in an arrangement is as important as the actual flowers! It's kind of like if Diana Ross and the Supremes (the focal flower and friend flowers) were singing with music provided by Metallica (the foliage)...it doesn't make sense, and Lord knows it wouldn't make either fan base very happy, nonetheless make good music together. Individually they have their audience and I'm sure would make an interesting photo, but together...well, I'm not guessing they would win any Grammys.
An example of fluffy foliage would be something that hangs and is soft texturally. A Leafy foliage would be something that is just that, a larger leafy foliage. For example in use, I love to mix asparagus fern (fluffy) with fat acuba (leafy). They are different in not only texture but also in color. You could also do a fern stem, (fluffy) with lemon leaf (leafy). These are fool proof combos of greenery!
F. L. U. F. F. F. Y.
The U. stands for "What goes UP?" Do you need height in the arrangement, if so..what is going to fill that role? We would recommend no more than 2 types stems to help create height. Beyond that, it just starts becoming too much. Natural branches are a great way to get height in a textural way, without adding a flowery stem. But want more color vertically, add tulips or a more vertial stem like buddleia or delphiniums! Keep it simple and edited!
F. L. U. F. F. F. Y.
Ok kids, remember our principles heading into this part! Here's where people get really excited and then mix too many things together.
The 1st F stands for Focal Flower. This would be probably your largest flower or the flower you want to have the most attention, think Lead Singer.
The 2nd F. stands for Friends. These flowers are items that when mixed with the focal flower, add more depth. We would suggest 2 - 3 types of flowers. This is a great place to add texture by using flowers that are different in petal style, shape, color, and size than the Feature. THIS IS WHERE YOU CONNECT THE DOTS.
The 3rd F. stands for Filler flower. This would be a flower that helps fill out the arrangement but is more of a background piece, like a wallpaper. Our go-to flower for this role is hydrangea! They are a great way to add color and texture, without adding tons of more flower heads.
F. L. U. F. F. F. Y.
The Y. stands for Your Choice. This would be where you can add an extra something that adds interest or texture in some way( maybe it helps connect the dots too). A good example of this is a berry, sedum, or a small variegated foliage that tucked in the right place creates a perfect moment with what it's directly next to in the arrangement I often place these stems along the edges of the container or right up front on the most visible side of the arrangement. Since these are just little added pieces, you don't need many of them, so placement is key! Be sure to place them where you're going to see them! And the truth is, Y. is completely optional, you don't have to add them, but they could add something just don't add more than one of them to your arrangement! Another great example of a Y. is a ribbon, or ribbon combo in a wreath or basket. It's not always needed, but it's another great way to CONNECT THE DOTS, and add some interest and texture.
And guys, that's it! In the minutes you've taken to read this, you've just learned and mastered some of our key lessons and philosophies that it took us YEARS to learn through tears, experience, and a lot of trial and error! And we want you to know that the next time you're inspired to create something, you now have the tools and knowledge to mix flowers in a combination that you will not only be proud of, but will be showing it off like "Heck ya I made this!" All while finishing projects that will inspire others, that also ticks another line off of your projects list. AND you know that it was worth your investment from your wallet, and will get returns for your self-esteem. So what are you waiting for? Here's the time where you start showing the world, "I've got this!" Start creating!