Add Floral Design Drama Without Masses of Flowers

What can you add to floral arrangements with decorative accents? Space. Color. Texture. Form. A visual connection between arrangements. Glitz, a natural look or the two combined. Size without adding more flowers. Distinction. A sparkle. Perceived value. And drama. Emotion-inducing visual impact was among Jane Godshalk’s goals when she was charged with creating 25 arrangements for an outdoor event at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where the award-winning floral designer and published garden club speaker is a floral instructor. The AIFD designer’s solution? Decorative floral accents: specifically, swirling circles of Midollino stick bundles wrapped in gold bullion wire set prominently in each arrangement.

A ‘fabulous’ technique

[rev_slider alias="floral-design-drama-1"] “My students and flower show exhibitors are always looking for something different,” says Jane. Binding Midollino with wire and creating the circle insertions “is a fabulous technique to add drama to any design.” “It’s a real ‘winner’ for flower show designs, as it adds space and tension to capture the judge’s interest without requiring masses of flowers,” she says. In the classroom, she frequently uses the spatial technique as she teaches design styles. Using purple OASIS™ Midollino Sticks, laced with gold OASIS™ Bullion Wire, Jane repeated the purple and gold theme of the gala invitation. The glitz of the gold wire dressed up the natural Midollino for the garden party decor. [rev_slider alias="floral-design-drama-2"] “The two very large designs featured circles woven through the arrangements. Each of the 12 larger designs had three circles as an accent.” “An extender was the dominant feature in the eight medium size designs. This accent piece helped to visually fill a larger space allowing the designs to require less flowers.” [rev_slider alias="floral-design-drama-3"] One disappointment: Because the surface of the garden’s new tables proved to be uneven, “we had to take the designs from their tall vases and place them in lower urns,” says Jane. “Only the designers knew, but it was still disappointing to lose the drama of the very tall designs.”

How did the students make the circles?

Jane knew the process of making these decorative accents for 25 arrangements would be time-consuming. “One advantage of working at Longwood is that we have student volunteers who eagerly come and help with projects.” She was appreciative of the five volunteers that worked a day and a half to make the circles. They gathered six pieces of Midollino into a bundle and wrapped a length of OASIS™ Aluminum Wire around it. Next, they attached gold bullion to the center of each length with a half piece of UGLU™ Adhesive Dash, wrapping the bullion up each end of the bundle in the two opposite directions. Another option would be to start at one end of the bundle with the bullion and lace the lightweight wire up the bundle and back down, making a grid pattern on the exterior of the bundle. Securing a wooden pick to each extender with a dash of UGLU and Floratape® Stem Wrap, they used the wooden pick to anchor each end of the circles in the floral foam. The wooden pick swells in the wet foam and helps to hold the accents in place. “Circular and rounded forms are most often seen but with a careful crimp the rounded form can become an exciting angle,” suggests Jane.

Using the proper mechanics

Sometimes finding the right floral mechanic can be a challenge, explains Jane. When striving to use the least amount of floral foam in a small vase opening, she likes to cover the foam with chicken wire or OASIS™ Florist Netting for added support. “I often use colored OASIS™ Aluminum Wire to create an armature for structural support in a clear glass vase,” she continues. What’s on her list of preferred new products?  Jane includes OASIS™ Floral Mesh, OASIS™ Natural Wrap (Woodland Bark), OASIS™ Natural Wrap (Moss), OASIS Glass Hanging Tubes, and especially MaxLife floral foam on her list of favorites. “When I first began teaching at Longwood, students often reported that at least one of their blooms expired before the next week’s class. Once we began using MaxLife floral foam, students began bringing photos of gerberas that were still beautiful after two weeks!! When I squeeze excess water from the leftover floral foam it’s obvious that MaxLife holds more water.”

The power of her first blue-ribbon

Jane won her first blue ribbon when her golf partner invited her to attend a garden club meeting and enter the club’s small flower show. She discovered she had a passion for flowers and began her “total immersion into the world of floral design.” She joined the Garden Club of America and studied floral design wherever she could. She entered the Philadelphia Flower Show and took floral classes all over the U.S. and Europe. Her dedication to learning has paid off. She was inducted into AIFD and received the American Horticultural Society’s Great American Gardener’s Award for education in 2010. She was awarded the Garden Club of American National Medal for floral design education in May. Today she gets excited discovering new products to share with her floral audiences. “I often find that people outside the floral industry have no concept of the time, supplies, and energy that go into creating a floral design. Also, because flowers are ephemeral, it is often assumed that they are not expensive.” Jane continues to share with her knowledge of flowers with consumers through her design presentations and her book Flower Arranging Secrets available now on her website, What fun ideas can you share for creating drama in designs with decorative accents?

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