Things worth learning: flower arranging



What

“Floral design or flower arrangement is the art of using plant materials and flowers to create an eye-catching and balanced composition or display.” (Wikipedia)

There are formal systems of flower arrangement, such as ikebana. I would like to do that eventually. So far I have only done informal arrangements.

Why

I enjoy looking at a beautiful arrangement, and find the process of making one relaxing. You can put as little or as much thought into it as you wish.

I love flowers, and I like the paraphernalia of flower arrangement: shears, wire, tape, floral bricks, vases. Especially vases. When I was young and thinking about possible careers I considered studying floristry. It was probably best that I didn’t pursue that; I don’t have the right temperament to be a professional florist. But arranging flowers is a great hobby.

How

The only way to learn how to arrange flowers is by trying it. You can go to workshops, take classes, watch videos, or read books to pick up techniques. Much of the learning is developing your judgment about what looks good in an arrangement and what doesn’t.

A few years ago I worked in an office that was in a converted warehouse. The stone and metal made for an interesting space, but it looked a little harsh, especially for first-time visitors. One day I suggested to my boss that flowers in the entryway would make the space more inviting. We found some vases at a flea market, and purchased other supplies online. Every week the office manager would get a bundle of seasonal flowers from a local florist. We’d stay after work to arrange them in the vases. Working with different flowers every week was challenging, especially during the colder months, when the flowers you usually find in bouquets are out of season. Although I can’t say that having “flower arranging” among the list of my professional responsibilities has drastically changed my career path, I really enjoyed it.