An autumn composition of fruit and vegetables in a striking line design. The branch of apple is held in position in water on an extra heavy pinholder with a large moulding of Plasticine built up behind it for extra support. The lowest cluster of three rosy apples, offset by the two colourful begonia leaves, mark the focal point, behind which all stems converge. The soft green grapes repeat the main colouring of these leaves and are texturally in harmony with them, both materials possessing a soft bloom.
An all-round arrangement, planned for a dinner party, and designed to suit a round or square dinner table. For use in a dominantly blue coloured dining-room, it consists of pink tulips, blue iris and hyacinths, with touches of white narcissus. Held in a silver compote dish, neutral grey-green foliage hides the pinholder and wire netting. The iris leaves are used on their reverse, thus revealing their delightful silver linings. They are fashioned into ‘bows’ and set as graceful ‘fillers’ lower in the design. All-round arrangements are somewhat more difficult to execute, because every facet of the design is on view.
This simple arrangement, dramatizing the shades and tints of pink tulips and young phormium leaves is perfectly interrelated in size, and an excellent example of good scale.
The chrysanthemums within the goblet are out of scale with the other flowers.
A lead container here holds grey stemmed mauve-tinted seed heads of ornopordum, and silver-grey and lilac-tinted acanthus flower bracts. The fresh leaf head from a pineapple makes a striking focal point. All stems are held on a pinholder which is assisted by a cage placed over the pins.
This natural-coloured gypsy basket of tawny and yellow chrysanthemums and golden privet is an example of the proper scale relationship between flowers, foliage and container.
Daffodils, tulips and graceful foliage in a charming curved dish are an excellent example of the beauty of a balanced design.
The ‘shadow’ flowers on the right of the central candle help to put this design into correct form-balance. But without the shadows the arrangement would be incorrectly balanced, because there would be too much weight to the left of the candle.
A pyramid of anemones and eucalyptus leaves are the perfect complement to the pretty container.
A spring design, in which polyanthus, narcissi and primroses form a graceful asymmetrical triangle in a lead container. This is known as a cut-and-growing arrangement as the primroses and polyanthus are still in soil, and can be eventually returned to the garden.
A perfectly balanced diagonal arrangement using a bleached ivy branch, iris and arum lilies and their foliage. The larger flowers and heavy leaf balance the strong upward slant of the other material.
Just one bunch of blue iris and pussy willow, showing a very definite rhythm and repetition of line. Stems are held on a pinholder hidden beneath the moss.
A royal blue glass dish, containing early red tulips which are effectively complemented by the graceful red dogwood branches.
The beat of rhythm in this arrangement is accentuated by the double movement of the bleached ivy branch, supported by the careful placement of the arums, their foliage and the appropriately water-loving accessories.
A graceful movement set in motion by the curving stems of the Japanese variegated lonicera, followed by the sturdier flowers of kalanchoe blossfeldiana and three dahlias in an attractive shallow dish.
The crescent is a shape of great beauty, and here it follows the sweep of the dolphin, making an effective play upon repetitive line. Rosemary and aucuba foliage, freesias and tulips are used in fashioning, with the tulips emphasizing the focal point.
One chrysanthemum, a bract of aucuba foliage and three phormium leaves arranged on a pinholder in an individual casserole dish. Particularly suitable for a man’s desk, in its simplicity and definition of line.
A delicate arrangement of grevillea robusta, beech leaves and dahlias held in a slim brass candlestick. A candlecup holds the arrangement in water.
One branch of spruce fir and just six red tulips with their own foliage make this graceful (complementary coloured) arrangement. They are held in the narrow neck of a Persian metal water jug.
This nicely proportioned fan-shaped arrangement represents the glory of summer. Deep pink roses, hydrangeas, larkspur and gloxinias with rosemary and bronze-coloured foliage, shows how charming a well-executed mass arrangement can look.
Anemones have a habit of huddling together after arrangement. Prevent this by using a generous amount of foliage. Senecio greyii, used here, makes an attractive neutral foil for these gay flowers.
During winter you need not restrict your design by the length of your longest flower; utilize a branch, such as this lichen-covered apple bough, to set the line. The few chrysanthemums and pernettya berries are partnered with their foliage.
A fresh-looking arrangement for which I used crisp yellow-green hydrangea leaves, yellow ranunculus, Esther Read chrysanthemums and delicate lily of the valley, arranged in a diagonal line based upon the shape and colour of the artistic dolphin container.
Good line repeated by a skillful blending of colours is as necessary in a pot plant arrangement as it is for cut flowers and foliage. The little extra trouble I took in planting these arrangements in compost (instead of wire netting) is well repaid by the extra weeks of pleasure derived from both lovely compositions. On the left, the strong lines of tall sansevieria and the flowing green and white hedera, peperomia magnoliaefolia and cryptanthus tri-color combine with colourful dracaenas, Rex begonias and flaming red and snow-white cyclamen and poinsettia in flower. Placed in an earthenware bowl which is held within the attractive wrought iron stand, they make a colourful Christmas decoration.
On the right, a pyramid arrangement in a pedestal vase utilises a tall hedera for the main proportionate line, followed by yellow and pink crotons flanking three calamondins. A forward-flowing hoya breaks the hard rim of the container, and softens the general effect of the design.
Forced sprays of forsythia, daffodils in full flower and bud, and paper-white narcissus, arranged in an asymmetrical triangle with holly and conifer. A design which seems to epitomize the promise of spring while winter still lingers.
Three variegated phormium leaves and some scarlet anemones, packed into the bottle mouth, stay firm by themselves. An excellent example of good scale and proportion.
Delicate sprays of golden privet and Esther Read chrysanthemums follow a softly curving diagonal line in repetition of the ‘ribbon’ held in the hand of the figurine container.
A Japanese-style arrangement utilizing a minimum of material with the maximum effect. Just three lichen-covered branches and three chrysanthemums, with washed coal to cover the kenzan.
Megasea leaf and some holly, arranged with griselinia foliage, carnations and anemones in a trough.
An upright Nageire-style Japanese arrangement in a pillow vase on teak stand, utilizing willow for the shushis and chrysanthemums as jushis.
Three branches of escallonia form the shushis (main lines) of the keishin-kei (windswept) Japanese-type arrangement. Three picture roses form the jushis, or auxiliaries.
An assymetrical triangle of brilliant red and white anthuriums brighten a dark corner. Shorten a tall vase by half-stuffing with crumpled newspaper (which allows greater stem length), before adding the wire netting which holds these flowers in place.
Paper-white narcissus and gay daffodils herald the spring in this version of an assymetrical triangle.
Spring is here! A symmetrical design of yellow daffodils and mimosa, with tawny orange tulips to emphasise the colouring associated with this time of year.
The pyramid. Glycerine-preserved eucalyptus foliage, blue iris, paper-white narcissus, a bunch of violets and freesias are held in a pinholder in this shallow glazed dish. Leaves conceal the pinholder.
A simple pottery jug holds golden privet and yellow dahlias. Arranged in 1-inch mesh wire netting corkscrewed into the jug, these flowers and foliage glide gracefully in a diagonal movement. The largest flower, placed centrally for focal point emphasis, is supported by three others, turned slightly off-centre to lessen their size.
Golden privet, cytisus, rosemary, pompon and decorative dahlias arranged in a shallow crescent design, following the sweeping line of the container.
To brighten the dullest of days – a pyramid of glowing golden chrysanthemums, yellow freesias, magenta anemones and carnations. With wire netting and pinholder, the flowers are quite simple to arrange in this gilded incense burner.
Another example of a symmetrical design. Carnations, gladioli, pompon dahlias and eucalyptus combine happily. A pinholder and wire netting hold the stems firmly within the sturdy compote container.
A variation of the oval design, with curving white gladioli and grey eucalyptus foliage creating a U-shaping. It is held in a well-pinholder, which is tucked into a piece of driftwood. Deep blue hydrangeas conceal the base and form al dark-coloured focal point.
A perpendicular design – ideal for stately gladioli. They are firmly impaled on a pinholder within a small water container, partially concealed beneath the ring of driftwood. The yellow and grey colouring of the Cornish Delabole slate is repeated in the tawny colouring of the flowers.
Pink schizostylis and roses with their own foliage soar upward in this hand-made Venetian glass container, emphasizing the simple dignity of this perpendicular arrangement.
Here is an original use for an old teapot! A crescent design of mixed anemones which are held in crumpled wire netting within the pot.
A multicoloured fan arrangement of dainty freesias, a little mimosa and three pale blue irises, held in crumpled wire netting within an opaque pale blue goblet.
Gracefully simple is this Hogarth curve, consisting of four roses and a couple of trails of ivy arranged within a cone-shaped wall vase, at eye level.
Use nature’s curves to simulate the new moon. Pink curvaceous antirrhinums and one stem of silver grey senecio greyii establish the crescent outline. Roses and begonias fill in and a regale lily head forms the focal point above the centre rim of this grey and maroon boat-shaped salad dish. The principles of rhythm and repetition are pleasingly obvious in the line of the container and the design of the arrangement.
A simple white glazed pitcher, with branches of yew and autumn-tinted ivy set a diagonal line, which emphasizes the pouring movement of a jug. A bract of glossy yellow-spotted aucuba foliage and some bright red skimmia berries complete this colourful and simple arrangement.
The diagonal line can easily become too harsh. Here, it is softened by the elegantly curving larkspur buds and a piece of rosemary. Two delicate gerberas and an ornopordum leaf give it body, and the little accessory completes the movement.
Spring blossom and narcissi combine their ethereal qualities in this delicate all-round dinner-table arrangement. A few coltsfoot and polyanthus leaves, set at base, conceal the pinholder upon which the stems are impaled.
A splash of colour for the mantelpiece, in which the roses and their own foliage, arranged in a simple symmetrical triangle, sweep low over the container.
The finishing touches being given to an oval-shaped all-round arrangement, designed for an oblong table. Roses and spray chrysanthemums are combined with rose foliage.
A horizontal arrangement of grevillea robusta foliage, golden privet and dahlias.
A red pottery urn, red dahlias (decorative and pompon), eucalyptus leaves and a bunch of parsley combine to make this all-round arrangement a complementary colour scheme with the accent on red.
An oval arrangement of white bellflowers (campanula barbata), miniature foxgloves, antirrhinums, single stocks, Esther Read chrysanthemums and rosemary foliage are the ingredients of this cool aperitif for a summer dinner-party.
Long supple sprays of luxurious euphorbia lend themselves perfectly to this gracious horizontal design.
The summer garden brought indoors – elaeagnus foliage reversed to show the gold and yellow gladioli set the outline. Bright yellow achillea flowers and orange-flushed alstroemeria fill in the centre against a background of large evergreen leaves. A touch of complementary lilac is introduced by the acanthus spikes forming the skirt of this pedestal arrangement.
An asymmetrical design, utilizing escallonia branches, dwarf gladioli, silvery cineraria foliage, tulips and arum lilies, in a cream-coloured wrought iron pedestal.
A half-circle of regale lilies emphasizes the focal point of hydrangeas and begonia leaf in this asymmetrical pedestal arrangement. Hyacinthus candicans (galtonia), gladioli and lunaria (honesty) form the outline, with a background of artichoke leaves.
A deep blue glass salad dish contains a pinholder, upon which variegated phormium leaves establish an asymmetrical outline. Blue and mauve anemones fill in the design, creating a very harmonious analogous arrangement in tints and shades of the main hues – violet, blue and green. The anemones are recessed lower in the arrangement, and combined with the container give a balance of colour weight.
A neutral-coloured, grey Victorian slipper supports five dahlias and their own foliage in a curving line design. A complementary colour scheme in orange-red and green.
Skilful colour harmony creating a play on design emphasized by colour. Gunmetal-coloured canna and yucca foliage combine with brilliant red mahonia bealei leaves to frame the cream chrysanthemum and stocks.
An all-green arrangement is refreshing in summer as a contrast to the galaxy of colour in the garden. Here rosettes of daphniphyllum are used instead of flowers. The shiny lighter green ligustrum and mahonia japonica foliage complete the drooping pyramid design.
The colour-weight of dark green Portuguese laurel leaves set so high throws this arrangement of spray chrysanthemums out-of-balance, rendering it top heavy.
Gorgeous strelitzia, gladioli, longifolium lilies and chrysanthemums go into the making of this lavish symmetrical arrangement in an ornate vase.
The principles of unity, rhythm and repetition are pointedly emphasized in this composition. The gold in the valuable Satsuma ware is echoed in the golden-coloured Sedum flowers. The design follows the circular movement of the plate and teapot.
Yellow daffodils combined with their own foliage, some iris leaves, muscari and a trail of ivy, placed in a neutral grey stone bowl. This is basically an analogous colour scheme, but the introduction of the white ducks and stones transforms it into a more colourful composition.
A green and white composition of chrysanthemums arranged in an antique bronze inkwell. The ornamental top of the inkwell is used as an accessory to balance the design.
A hamper basket of mauve-pink, shot with gold, holds pale, mauve-pink spray chrysanthemums, and four deeper-shaded disbudded chrysanthemums. This is a monochromatic or one-colour arrangement. The preserved eucalyptus foliage, although mainly a neutral soft grey, also contains touches of mauve.
A composition employing the principle of repetition as expressed by the lines of the bird and the driftwood. The base is a cheese board. The fern is growing upon the moss, and the violets are held in a pinholder concealed beneath the moss.
Summer and autumn mingle happily in this sweet-smelling basket of chrysanthemums and freesias, combined with a little shredded pampas grass and foliage.
Here are bleached trails of amaranthus, and pieces of cloud-soft pampas grass. These preserved materials are combined with red skimmia berries and foliage, golden privet, and gold and tawny single chrysanthemums (the living materials) held in water. All surround a snowy candle in this Christmas composition.
Sprays of white lilac form the arch of this fan-shaped design. Bold arum leaves provide ‘body’ and background for the definite shape of the arum flowers. White irises and stripped Portuguese laurel act as fillers.
Sculptured acanthus flowers, hydrangeas and gracefully curving gladioli and their leaves are refreshing in their tricolor mauve, green and white, so lovely for a summer wedding reception.
Wedding bells are ringing, and their mood is reflected in the four pure white and gold-splashed regale lilies. This sculptured perpendicular arrangement, held in Oasis in an alabaster urn, combines purity of colour and line. Silvery begonia leaves and a shimmering piece of gold lame emphasise the principle of unity.
Shells from the seashore make an apt accessory for the shell vase. Its frilly skirt repeats the pattern of the floribunda roses. Dainty larkspur spikes break up any excessive roundness in the composition.
Soft pink spikes of astilbe, pink larkspur and deeper pink roses in a stark diagonal design.
Golden roses and their foliage in a golden incense burner sweep in a graceful curve towards the lid, which is being used as an accessory both to maintain correct visual balance and lend interest.
Low containers like this attractive cigarette box are perfect for the regal iris. These deep purple blooms, grouped so that each flower can be shown off to perfection, are held in place with a heavy rectangular pin-holder. Holder is placed inside a concealed bowl of water.
A play on elliptical shapes is shown in this gay crescent of red and orange zinnias, accompanied by autumn-tinted beech and yellow achillea.
Mixed tulips have their colourful exuberance well controlled by this solid, black container and the neutral grey eucalyptus leaves.
A way of using a few left-over flowers. Off-white anemones and paper-white narcissi reflect the colouring of the sleeping swan.
Lupins will curve, so use these bends to create a lovely Hogarth curve, aided in this case by three curvaceous delphiniums. Two roses and stachys lanata flower heads fill in the design, and a begonia flower is supported at the focal point by seven stachys lanata leaves.
A piece of driftwood in front of a well-pinholder forms the container for this dried-and-living arrangement. Glycerine-preserved azara microphylla (which turns almost black), one deeply lobed aralia chinensis leaf and a small pair of eucalyptus leaves provide the permanent background to a changing scene of flowers. Here yellow dahlias add a bright contrast.
A zigzag design inspired by the root, which is used as the container. Preserved beech leaves and bronze chrysanthemums emphasise the colour link, with a still-green mahonia bealei leaf striking a note of contrast.
Pink tulips, silvery pussy-willow and chlorophytum leaves are arranged in a maroon-lined grey salad dish.
A delightfully simple fan design, just using tulips and their own foliage.
The root of an old tree forms the unusual and attractive container for this all-foliage arrangement. Two colourful begonia leaves cover the pinholder in a small water container and provide the focal point of the arrangement, making a striking foil for the wild iris leaves, pussy willow, hart’s tongue fern and chlorophytum rootlets.
Bronze and yellow chrysanthemums and some rosemary foliage held on a pinholder follow a gracious Hogarth curve complementing this rather exotic bronze compote. Rosemary is very stiff and will not bend, but fortunately the bushes grow with many a natural curve and twist. Seek these and use them to fullest advantage to establish a good and interesting line design.
Preserved eucalyptus leaves, and a deeply lobed aralia chinensis leaf, lightly touched with gold paint to ‘light’ it, make a permanent background for flowers. They can be combined with one or many bold chrysanthemums throughout the winter.
An antique incense burner holds an early winter-into-spring arrangement of pussy willow, preserved glossy black azara foliage, preserved laurustinus leaves, and working towards the centre, goldenelaeagnus leaves and lime-green cupressus. Against this rich colouring, the actaea, paper-white and cheerful narcissi hold their own most wonderfully.
Cornish slate, flecked with rust, tawny Gaillardia, cuckoo-pint and briony berries, the curving pods of the horned sea poppy and beech must all follow the line of the dried ivy, thus emphasizing the principle of repetition.