Bring freshness into your home with this fragrant arrangement in shades of green, white and neutral, taken from florist Anna Potter’s new book, The Flower Fix
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIA HOBSON
Whilst winter rules the land, underground, restless bulbs erupt with energy, until furious green shoots appear through the sleepy darkness of the bare soil. Noam Chomsky once composed the following as an example of a grammatically correct sentence that is nonsensical: ‘Colourless green ideas sleep furiously’. Yet, for me, it perfectly describes my love affair with the colour green.
I am instantly drawn to this colour as a background to arrangements. It is unclear as to whether this is an innate feeling inspired by Nature, the ultimate grandmaster of showcasing flowers amongst endless shades of green. Or perhaps, as a designer, I’m so familiar with the green in the foliage that accompanies most stems, that I see it as a none colour.
Black, white, green.
This subtle design is quiet and curious – winter on the brink of spring – showing off delicate blossoms against a mass of green in an arrangement that immediately brings a sense of calm and stillness to a space.
YOU WILL NEED
- Medium-size ceramic vessel
- Chicken wire measuring 30 x 30cm (1 x 1ft)
- Wire cutters
- Florist’s pot tape
- Strong scissors or secateurs
- Spirea blossom x 11 stems
- Privet berries x 10 stems
- Hellebore x 12 stems
- Anemone x 3 stems
- Lilac x 3 stems
1. Start with your ceramic vessel and create a chicken wire structure in its base (see below**). To create movement with tall and dramatic blossoming branches, place the large spirea blossoms first, forming the backbone of your arrangement. The simplicity of tone, clean lines in the shapes, and the density of the dark silhouettes allow the delicate white blossoms to burst out of this design. Fresh green foliage stands out against this deeper-toned wall of blossom, but there remains a subtlety because of the slight tonal variation. Use the foliage both to support and fill the shape created by the spirea blossoms.
2. The privet berries and hellebores help to break up the mass of white buds and blossoms without introducing a new colour or dominating and demanding attention. Place them once you have created your main structure with the spirea blossoms and foliage, interspersing them to provide interest and depth in the arrangement.
3. There is a Latin term viriditas, which literally means ‘greenness’. More than that, it is the green force of life itself, a divine shade that encapsulates nature’s healing powers. There was an undeniable calmness to being in this room, a feeling of ‘just right’ and ‘okay’. I am going to put that one down to the attributes of green.
The temptation always arises to add a larger focal flower. In this case, I began to introduce roses once I had formed the structure of the arrangement. It was imminently clear that this was a mistake. The solidity and heaviness of the bloom deflected from the daintiness of the tiny individual flowers and it felt as if a seasonal celebration had been interrupted. Knowing where to stop is a virtue. There is real beauty in humility.
**HOW TO CREATE A CHICKEN WIRE BASE: Once you have chosen your vessel, you can work out what size to cut your chicken wire. A piece roughly four times the circumference of the vessel is a good starting point. Loosely scrunch the wire (you may want to wear gloves, as the wire can be sharp once cut) and place the ball shape or oblong, depending on the container being used, into the vessel. It should be slightly protruding out of the vase, a bit like an ice-cream scoop in a bowl. Secure the wire by taping over the top with florist’s pot tape in a criss-cross pattern, like a noughts and crosses grid. Pour water into the vase using a jug or watering can until three-quarters full.
Extract taken from The Flower Fix by Anna Potter, published by White Lion Publishing, £20. Photography by India Hobson.