About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What Makes a Pleasing Bouquet?

I had no training as a florist or flower arranger when I started Good Scents, and the first couple years I spent an embarrassing amount of time fussing with bouquets to get the effects I wanted. I sum up the trial and error method I used those first two years (and still resort to occasionally) as:

Keep adding flowers until the bouquet looks 'right' and if it still doesn't look good, take it apart and start over.

'Right': Green Bells of Ireland with pink and white lisianthus.

I still have no formal training but over time I’ve developed a style which my customers seem to like. The bouquets are always informal but hopefully also beautiful, exuberant and occasionally even elegant.

What makes a pleasing bouquet? I ask myself this all the time when I create one that looks perfect and another that looks not so great. What is the difference? What is wrong with the not so great one? It is hard to put into words but this is what I think makes a bouquet look 'right':

Harmony and contrast of color, shapes, sizes and textures to enhance the beauty of individual flowers while maintaining enough balance that it is still beautiful viewed as a whole.

I know this sounds kind of baroque and is a pretty tall order for an arrangement of flowers delivered in a mason jar and held in place with a rubber band! I don’t mean to make too big a deal out of it, but I enjoy thinking about this stuff and after 25 years writing software I’m always looking for rules and patterns. Wherever I go I try to notice what works or doesn’t work in flower arrangements, patio planters, perennial borders and home landscapes. It is really the same factors that apply in all these situations and what works in one case usually translates to another.

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