Customers often ask how I come up with the floral designs at our boutique flower shop, Fly Me To The Moon. So I thought I'd share me process with you.
Begin The Flower Arrangement With The End In Mind
My goal in working with flowers is to create lovely flower arrangements that will last as long as possible. How do I achieve this? By buying the freshest flowers. Purchasing from the best wholesalers in New York. Avid researching and conditioning of the flowers. And teaching our customers how to care for them.
The Flower Hunt Begins
It's 5:26 am, Monday morning. I'm at the Chelsea Flower Market in NYC ready to select flowers for the shop. They came into New York at 2:00 am, so all of them should be on display by now.
As much as I love buying flowers, I always glance longingly at those taking leave of 28th street before 5:30, flower-filled boxes in hand. It's like they've won some race I've arrived too late to even lose. In the flower business, the early bird really does catch the worm, but luckily, I can call ahead and ask the wholesalers to hold flowers for me.
Finding The Right Flower
I generally come to the flower district with a list of "must buy" flowers for the shop. But for my corporate clients, I'm looking to be inspired by some new discovery. It may be a flower I've never seen before. Or an unusual plant material like brunia or celosia
Often a rose is my inspiration flower. Some floral designers won't use them in their weekly accounts, but I know just the right varieties that perform well and look great.
Select Flowers To Enhance The Flower Arrangement
Next, I search for flowers that will enhance the look of my inspiration flower. It can either match or complement it. If a flower has three colors, I may choose flowers in some of those shades.
I generally use a minimum of 3 different types of flowers in an arrangement. But, I often use more. Adding interesting foliage and fillers can sometimes take the place of a flower.
Incorporating Flowers I Already Have
I also consider what I have back at the shop in our walk-in cooler. Do I have something that would add great texture or presence to the flower arrangement? These flowers or plant materials were either purchased late last week or have a long vase life.
Choose A Vase
A vase is often the first thing I choose, but since this corporate client prefers cube vases, I keep a bunch of them in different colors on hand and change from week to week. I sometimes use a cylinder vase to change it up once and a while. The arrangements for this particular client go on the concierge desks of luxury buildings down on the waterfront in Yonkers, New York.
Listening To The Flowers
This is gonna sound a little crazy, but here goes. I listen to the flowers.
I believe every flower in an arrangement has a perfect spot and that once placed there, it sings. Now, I've never actually heard a flower sing a note, but when I find that sweet spot all is right with the world everything else just falls into place. The arrangement of all the other flowers seems easy. Believe it or not, this is actually easier for me to do on a busy day like Valentine's Day.
Another floral designer could create a beautiful yet entirely different arrangement using the exact same flowers. I guess that's where "having an eye for floral design" comes in. With no formal training in floral design, I thank God for this gift.
Flower Arrangements Need a Little Something Wrong
I read a post the other day by Holly Becker over at Decor 8. She mentioned that a friend, Sania Pell, a London-based stylist once told her that "you need a little wrongness to make something right, especially when styling a room or vignette."
I think the same principle holds true for floral design. A flower arrangement becomes more interesting when it has something unexpected. Something that doesn't belong there. You know, something wrong.
So sure, I can make a flower arrangement sticking to a strict color palette and use of foliage or I can add something to it that takes it a step out of the ordinary. That's what I did when I added both the "gray" globe thistle and bright purple flowering artichoke to the above arrangement. It would have been fine without those elements, but see how much more interesting it is with them?
So, that's my process for creating flower arrangements. You can see my floral design posts here. I hope you try at least one of them. If so, please let me know how it turns out in the comments below.