The beauty and drama of fall flowers make autumn an excellent time of year to experiment with arrangements. With a variety of elements available, floral creations can incorporate a multitude of colors and textures, allowing us to make statement-making bouquets at any scale. Inspired by the abundance of possibilities, we asked Karen Walker, owner of Hedge Fine Blooms in Charlottesville, Virginia, to share her approach to an all-purpose fall arrangement. Here is her expert advice.
Use what’s in season. Walker always tries to incorporate local blooms into her creations, weaving in what’s in season in her area. Right now, that includes dinner plate dahlias, grasses such as millet, sunflowers with the petals removed, crabapple, sedum, and dogwood. Throughout the fall and holiday season she works in other fall fruits and vegetables to add texture and interest to her arrangements.
Select a vessel with substance. While a clear glass container will always suffice, if you’re working to achieve a truly fall feel, Walker recommends a rustic wood box, a bark-covered vessel, a metal compote-like bucket (like the one featured above), or a piece of ceramic pottery.
Remember to stagger. For those just starting to explore flower arranging, Walker says using odd numbers of elements will help achieve symmetry, noting that the more you practice, the better at placement you’ll become. Creating groupings within an arrangement (as Walker did with roses in the one featured above) is a fun way to make a center statement, but it’s not necessary. Using single stems of an element is fine, or even two, so long as they’re different heights—just make sure you don’t inadvertently create a “bunny ears” effect.
Bring in reinforcements. Don’t be afraid to use oasis, flower frogs, wire, or (if you must) tape to keep your elements in place. Walker used wire to keep her heavier pieces (the crabapple and pomegranate) from slipping in the arrangement featured above. Using a particularly wide container can require reinforcements as well, since components can have a tendency to lean. And while Walker tries to avoid using tape in her arrangements, she admits it’s better to be on the safe side.
Feel free to take a pared-down approach. For something smaller in scale like a hostess gift or a grouping of arrangements for a dinner table, Walker recommends sticking to a tight color scheme, such as oranges or pinks, or only using one of each element. That way you’ll still have plenty of variety.
TSG Tip 227 and arrangement featured above from Karen Walker of Hedge Fine Blooms in Charlottesville, Virginia.