Floral Careers

April 1, 2009 at 7:47 PM (1)

The following is information summarized from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the Floral designer profession

About 1/3 of floral designers are self-employed and despite declining rates, the high replacement rate leaves demand for other floral designers. Most floral designers work in independent stores and make custom arrangements for weddings, funerals, and other formal or professional events. Pre-made arrangements are also made for walk-in customers and cut flowers are for sale. A floral designer will

Consult with a client to meet their needs. They will help the client choose a color scheme, design theme, and will often deliver the flowers to the event.

Wholesale florists select species of flowers to sell to their own corporate stores. They will also make arrangements to present to the individual florists, creating a blue print for the design.

Independent florists must also run their own business, which includes selecting flowers and making their own design patterns. They must also hire and supervise staff and deal with all the financial and managerial concerns of running a business.

All florists will interact with customers and most will provide delivery services. Although they may hire someone to make the deliveries or run the shop, the designer must still consult with the clients.

Becoming a floral designer does not require any formal education, but vocational schools provide the information necessary to run a store and make arrangements. As with any art, skill is also a factor.

The American Institute of Floral Designers offers accreditation, this is not necessary, but is a mark of professionalism and skill.

Most floral designers begin by working at a floral shop and working up. This allows the person to understand the inner workings of a business and it’s realities, something hard to capture in a trade school.

The median wage for florists is $21,700


Greenhouse operators

Greenhouse operators perform duties ranging from propagating plants to preparing media for new seedlings. They also quarantine and care for sick plants. Most greenhouse operators are required to have a degree in horticulture or floriculture and internships will provide necessary experience. The ability to manage staff and operate up-to-date computer systems is beneficial. An in depth knowledge of plants is necessary and the operator must know how to collect data and write reports. Greenhouse operators most work with other greenhouse attendants and they work with hazardous chemicals.



Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2007, December 17). Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from Floral designers: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos292.htm

Gardens, T. B. (n.d.). Retrieved from





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Floral Design Tools

March 28, 2009 at 12:34 PM (Floral Design)

Floral design has a range of tools to make designing more efficient and support elaborate designs.

Waterproof clay: This is used to position accessories in a floral arrangement. The surface must be dry and dust free for it to work.

Floral Stem Tape: Often used to disguise wire when wiring stems. This material stretches and sticks to itself, it comes in a variety of colors, including green.

Anchor Pins: Used to secure foam when tape will not be acceptable. Pins are super glued to the surface then the foam or flower is pushed onto the pin.

Wire: Comes in different gauges. This is used to support flowers or other elements of the design

Floral Foam designer shapes: Floral foam in any non-traditional shape. Sometimes the foam is secured inside a wire cage

Thorn Stripper: This is a narrow tube with a hinge to allow it to open. It is placed around the top of the stem and then slid down to remove any thorns.

Finishing spray: This coats flowers to prevent petal drop, dehydration, browning, and wilting

Floral Knife: Use to cut floral foam

Scissors: Cut flowers, ribbons, not to be used on wire

Silica Gel: Use to absorb water when drying flowers to preserve them

Crystal Clear: A preservative used in clear containers. This will keep water clear for the life of the design

Paddle Wire: Thin wire wrapped around a paddle rather than a spool. It won’t roll away. This wire is used to wire together elements of the design

Raffia Grass: Used to disguise wire or to bind flowers together

Pin Straightener: Small tool that will straighten pins on foam holders

Vase Fillers: Rocks and other materials are used to fill vases and provide a decorative way to disguise stems



Floral Design Essentials. (n.d.). Floral Design Essentials. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from Tools: FLoral Design Essentials: http://www.floraldesignessentials.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4

Oasis Floral Products. (n.d.). Oasis Floral Products. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from Design tools: http://www.smithersoasis.com/us/floral/products/showproduct.php?indexby=cat&market=&cat=Design+Tools+-+Adhesive&subcat=&prodid=&div=F&full=0

Save-On-Crafts. (n.d.). Save On Crafts. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from Floral Designing Tools: http://www.save-on-crafts.com/toolsoftrade.html

Whole Sale Floral. (n.d.). Whole Sale Floral. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from Vase Fillers: http://www.wholesalefloral.com/Vase_Fillers_s/1.htm




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Floral Competitions and Schools

March 18, 2009 at 2:55 PM (Floral Design)

Floral competitions and schools allow future designers and current florists to advance their skill and knowledge. FFA and 4-H offer competitions to High School students. These motivate students to pursue their interests in floral design.

FFA Floriculture CDE

The Floriculture CDE tests the member’s ability to work in the floriculture and floral design industry. The participant must know how to raise and care for plants and flowers, treats unhealthy plants, use equipment properly, properly design a floral arrangement, interact with customers, and keep records of finances and plant care. The competition consists of multiple events. The team activity allows a group to simulate a customer interaction, demonstrate equipment use, or complete an arrangement. The individual activities include the opportunity to identify plants, demonstrate knowledge of plant care, follow through with problem solving, and a practicum. The practicum includes completing a floral arrangement, a job interview, and completing a sale. Then the participant completes three more tasks. This year they may chose from asexual propagation of plants, handling a customer complaint, identifying and controlling plant disorders, make and package a corsage, media selling, and potting plant cuttings. The tiebreaker uses the scores of the arrangement, sale, and job interview, in following order, to determine placing.


Tips for Floral Design Competitions


Arrive early

Adhere to the competition theme

Don’t bring supplies that are not allowed

Evaluate your work

Stick to the design elements

Monitor time

Review judges comments

Be objective and open

Evaluate the successful designs



Place your name on the design, or on part of the design

Try an unpracticed technique

Overwhelm the design


Floral design schools give people the opportunity to start a new hobby, or build upon existing knowledge. The Houston School of Floral Design is an example of the programs offered. The classes offered provide skill and credibility to the florist.


Houston School of Floral Design


Arrangement: Contemporary, Geometric, and Classic floral arrangements are covered. Tuition for the 10-hour course is $296 and supplies are included


Wedding Session: Bridal and attendant bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and hairpieces are covered. Includes decorating both churches and cakes with fresh flowers and garden weddings. Tuition is $296.


Shop Management and Sympathy: Student must complete both Arrangement and Wedding sessions. The Sympathy course will cover flat sprays, casket sprays and tributes. Students will learn how to interact with the deceased’s family. Shop Management will cover care for flowers, finding suppliers, making displays, sales tactics, business promotion, tax code, and opening a business. The tuition is $296


Advanced Arrangement Seminar: Covers European designs. Students should have one year of experience before enrolling in this class. Tuition is $396.



Carpenter, R. (n.d.). Designing for Floral Competitions. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from Allied Florists of Houston: http://alliedfloristsofhouston.org/design-corner/floral_competition_tips.html

Houston School of Floral Design. (2008). Classes. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from Houston School of Floral Design: http://www.floristschool.com/classes.asp

National FFA Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www.ffa.org/documents/cde_handbook.pdf





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Floral History

March 4, 2009 at 4:25 PM (Floral Design)

History of Roses

According to fossil evidence, Roses are over 35 million years old and its 150 species have been cultivated for over 5,000 years.

In Greek times, roses were used to decorate the ceilings of meeting rooms. All that was discussed in the meetings was secret; this is where the phrase sub Rosa originates.

During the Roman period, Roses were used as perfume, confetti, and as a medicinal plant throughout the Middle East. The royalty of Rome used rose petals in bath water and carpeted the floor with roses for feasts. This demand for roses led the peasants to turn from food production to growing roses. Along with the fall of the Roman Empire, so fell the use of Roses.

Later in the 15th century, Roses were a symbol for fighting factions in England. In the “War of the Roses,” York was represented by the white rose and Lancaster was represented by the red rose. Moving forward to the 17th century, roses became so popular that roses and rose water were considered legal tender. Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, had an extensive rose garden that was the inspiration for the watercolor collection ‘Les Rose” by Pierre Joseph Redoute.

Starting in the 18th century, roses became highly cultivated in Europe and Asia. Efforts to cultivate specific types of roses, as well as hybrids, began during this time.

Currently, as a winter hardy and disease resistant plant, roses are often cultivated by hobbyists as well as commercial gardeners.


History of the Tulip

The tulip was first cultivated by Turkey in 1000 AD, and introduced to Europe and the Netherlands in the 17th century. In the 17th century, tulips were used in both gardening and as a medicinal plant; botanists soon began to hybridize tulips, which increased their popularity. This popularity led to tulipmania between 1636 and 1637. Tulips became such a commodity that the bulbs were selling for outrageous prices, some costing more than a house. The bulbs were sold through a process called Wind Trade, when the price for a bulb was set by weight before the bulb was removed from the ground. The flooding of the market led to a tulip crash following tulip mania, leading many growers to bankruptcy. Soon after, the government created trade restrictions on tulips. The popularity of tulips was due to the bright colors and frilly petals. It was only after tulip mania that a virus, infecting the frilly tulips, was discovered. The tulips sold in current times have solid and smooth petals, unlike the flared petals during tulip mania.

History of Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China. Its boiled roots were used as a cure for headaches and the petals and sprouts were eaten in salads; the leaves were brewed into tea. In the 8th century, the chrysanthemum traveled to Japan and became the seal of the emperor. The flower was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and later introduced to colonial America. Chrysanthemums were considered the “Queen of all Flowers” and are now often used in corsage’s or mum designs popular with high school football.


A History of Roses. (2009). Retrieved 3 4, 2009, from University of Illinois Extension: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/roses/history.html

Rose Farm. (n.d.). The History of Roses. Retrieved 3 4, 2009, from Rose Farm: http://www.rosefarm.com/history.php

Tulips. (n.d.). Retrieved 3 4, 2009, from Holland Travel: http://www.holland.nl/uk/holland/sights/tulips-history.html




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Floral Symbolism

February 26, 2009 at 7:39 AM (Floral Design)

Floral Symbolism

Floral symbolism has roots in mythology and flower color. Certain colors maintain a general meaning from flower to flower. Yellow often represents cheerfulness. White represents purity or forgiveness, Red symbolizes love, and Purple represents royalty.


To the indigenous natives of Mexico, Carnations are the flower of the dead. However in Korea, to divine the future, three carnations are placed on a person’s head and the first flower to wilt indicates what area of that person’s life will suffer.

White: Pure love and Good luck

Light red: admiration

Dark Red: deep love and affection

Purple: Capriciousness

Pink: Undying mothers love, said to have come from the Virgin Mary’s tears


The lily has been adopted as a symbol of the Virgin Mary and represents purity or chastity. In paintings, Gabriel is often depicted to present a Lily to Mary. They also symbolize the restoration of innocence to the soul after death and are used in funerals.

Peruvian Lilies – Friendship and Devotion

White Stargazer – Sympathy

Pink Stargazer – wealth and prosperity

Lilies of the Valley – humility and devotion


The poppy has many associations. The Greeks associated the poppy with Hypnos, the god of sleep and Morpheus, the god of dreams. They used the poppy seed to ease pain and bring about sleep. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy fell asleep in a field of poppies. The poppy is also used to make the drug opium and it is still cultivated for this purpose. This drug also brought about war between England and China. Today the poppy is also used in baked goods; it is also the flower of California.


The Japanese believe that, with its balanced petals, the Chrysanthemum represents perfection. Confucius suggested that, because its symbolism of perfection, the Chrysanthemum should be an object of meditation. A petal placed in the bottom of a wine glass symbolizes a long and healthy life.


The sharp leaves of the Gladiolus are the source of the name. In Latin, Gladius means sword. This name meaning lends itself to the symbolism of the flower. To some the flower represents infatuation, a lover struck through the heart with passion. It also symbolizes strength and integrity.


The Hydrangea is a Japanese flower, with a name that roughly means ‘water barrel’, this is descriptive of the vast amount of water consumed by this flower. The Hydrangea also has multiple meanings. One is of boastfulness and vanity, stemming from its modern and delicate form. The hydrangea can also symbolism the appreciation of understanding from the presenter to the receiver.


In Greek Mythology, Syringia, the botanical name of Lilac, was chased by Pan, the god of the Forest. Terrified of Pan, Syringia transformed herself into the Aromatic Lilac to escape him. In current times, the purple Lilac symbolizes the first emotions of love. White lilac symbolizes youthful innocence.


The Poinsettia has roots in a Mexican myth. At Christmas, a young boy was only able to present weeds as a present to the alter. The congregation later witnessed the weeds transform into the Poinsettia plant. The Poinsettia now symbolizes cheer and celebration and is most popular as a Christmas flower.


The sunflower was worshipped by the Incans and worn as a medallion by Incan Priestesses’ and Native Americans would place Sunflowers on graves. The flower was also commonly used in art.


Tulips originate from Turkey. According to the Turkish legend, the Turkish prince fell in love with a maid. Upon finding out the maid had been killed, the prince killed himself by riding his horse off a cliff. Tulips sprouted from his blood and became a symbol of perfect love. The dark center of the tulip represents a lovers heart darkened by passion and the color of the petals have various meanings. Yellow is cheerfulness, White is forgiveness, and purple is royalty.

(n.d.). Retrieved 2 25, 2009, from The Poppy: http://www.poppies.ws/poppies/the-poppy.html

Encyclopedia of Myths. (n.d.). Retrieved 2 25, 2009, from Flowers ins Mythology: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Flowers-in-Mythology.html

Joy. (n.d.). Joy’s Florist. Retrieved 2 25, 2009, from Flower Meaning and Symbols: http://www.joysflorist.com/flowersmeaning.html


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Greek Plant Mythology

February 19, 2009 at 9:12 AM (Floral Design)

Greek Mythology describes the creation of plants essential to the Greek life. These myths were found in the Greek epics and their stories have survived to present day.

Monkshood, called lykotonon by the Greeks, has toxic leaves and roots. Lykoktonon means wolf slaying; this plant earned the name because it was rubbed on the arrows used when hunting wolves. Monkshood originated from the spittle of the beast Kerberos was dripped on the ground and this lead to the sprouting of Monkshood.
Almond trees are sacred to Attis, who was born out of an almond nut. The almond came to earth when Agdistis, a hermaphroditic god, was castrated by the goddess Kybele. The genitals were discarded and sprouted into an almond tree. The name Attis comes from the name of the child conceived by the Nymph Nana. Nana was sitting beneath an almond tree when a nut fell and impregnated her.
The Poppy was given the Greek name anemone, stemming from anemos, meaning the wind, because the seeds were carried by the wind. This flower was created by Aphrodite. She created the flower from the blood of Adonis, who was slain by a boar.
The apple tree is very important to Greek history. It is associated with both Hera and Aphrodite, respectively love and marriage. At Hera’s wedding, Gaia the earth goddess presented the first apple tree to Hera. The golden apples of this tree were guarded by three goddesses, Hesperides. At the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the parents of Akhilleus, Eris the goddess of chaos cast an apple into the ceremony. The golden apple was to be awarded to the finest goddess. Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena all claimed to be the rightful owner of the golden apple. The three goddesses went to Zeus and awaited a judgment; however, Zeus directed them to Paris of Troy. All three goddesses offered Paris gifts in return for a judgment in their favor. Paris chose Aphrodite, his prize being Helen, the wife of the Greek Menelaos. This decision brought the wrath of Athena and Hera upon Paris and his fellow Trojans and ultimately led to the downfall of Troy. A third myth appears in Greek literature. The Princess Atalanta insisted that her suitors compete against her in a foot race to earn marriage. Melanion, meaning man of the apples, prayed to Aphrodite. She presented him with three golden apples to distract Atalanta during the race. The gift of the golden apples allowed Melanion to beat Atalanta in a foot race and win her hand in marriage.
The Ash tree secreted a sap called Namma that was described as the juice of the stars and the tree itself sprang from the blood of heaven. Zeus was entrusted to Meliai, Nymphs of the Ash tree. Later in Greek history, Kheiron created a spear of Ash from Mount Pelion. This spear was used by Akhilleus to kill Hektor of Troy.
Barley was an important grain crop to the Greeks; they too turned it into a drink. Persephone, daughter of Demeter, stopped and asked for a drink and was given a barley drink. A young bog mocked her thirst and the goddess Persephone doused him with her drink. The boy was then transformed into a lizard and the grains of barley became the lizard’s spots.
The large shrub with purple flowers called the Chaste tree was used as a medicine to calm sexual urges in women and therefore associated with the goddess of marriage and chastity, Hera. In addition, according to mythology, Hera was born and nursed beneath a Chaste tree.
Saffron is the metamorphosis of Krokos. Krokos, a boy loved be Hermes, died and was transformed into Saffron. The red stems symbolized his spilt blood. After the creation of Saffron, Persephone was abducted be Hades as she was gathering saffron. Zeus later employed Saffron to seduce the princess Europa. He transformed himself into a bull and produced a Saffron flower from his mouth to gain her attention.
is a large, yellow-flowering plant that could be used as an effective torch. It was created by the Titan Prometheus. To punish Zeus for hanging Prometheus from Mount Olympos and leaving him to have his liver pecked out by an eagle; Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it to Man in the form of the Fennel plant.
The Fir was the metamorphosis of Attis, who was fathered by the Almond tree. Attis was unfaithful to Kybele. Kybele forced Attis to castrate himself and transformed him into a fig.
The grape vine was the invention of Dionysus. A youth slaughtered by a bull was transformed into a grape vine by Dionysus, who then taught the Greeks viticulture and winemaking.
Herbs were called pharmakiea; these herbs were used in potions and medicines by the Greeks. The Titan Kronos devoured his children, except Zeus, because of his fear that his children would over power him. His wife Rhea and the Goddess Gaia slipped Kronos an herb to relieve him of his children: Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. Gaia made use of herbs again when she hoped to make her sons immortal. Her sons made war with the Gods of Olympos and were destined to die. Gaia began her search for an herb to make the immortal; however, Zeus forbade the Sun, Moon, and Dawn to shine on the herb. Asklepios, the founder of medicine, was taught the use of herbs by Kheiron, a centaur.
Larkspur is a summer perennial with blue flowers. Hyakinthos, a Spartan loved by Apollo and Zephyros, was caught in a quarrel between Apollo and Zephyros. Zephyros, jealous of Apollo, struck Hyakinthos in the head. As Hyakinthos bled to death, Apollo turned his blood into larkspur and inscribed it with the words “ai, ai” meaning “alas, alas.” The word ai is supposed to be patterned in a tint of lavender on the flower petals.
The Greeks cultivated a wild prickly lettuce and after the death of Adonis, it was regarded as the plant of the death of love and the plant of impotency. Adonis, a man loved by the Goddess Aphrodite, was slain by a boar and died in a patch of lettuce. Mythology also says that Adonis was hidden in the lettuce by Aphrodite after his birth from the tree.
The Linden tree was the metamorphosis of Philyra, a nymph loved by the Titan Kronos. Rhea caught Philyra and Kronos in a tryst and Kronos transformed himself into a horse and escaped with Philyra. Later Philyra gave birth to Kheiron, the centaur. Ashamed of Kheiron, she begged Zeus to transform her into something else. Zeus morphed her into the Linden tree.
The nymph Lotis was transformed into a Lotus tree to escape the lust of Priapos. On the return journey from Troy, Odysseus and his men encountered a tribe of lotus-eaters. The men of Odysseus ate fruit of the Lotus and lost their desire to continue their homeward journey; the men had t be dragged and bound to the ship.
The Narcissus is a yellow-trumpeted bloom and was named after the numbing effect it has after it is ingested. Narkissos, a young man, refused to greet those who courted him. The goddess Nemesis caused him to fall in love with his own image and he eventually wasted away and transformed into a narcissus flower.
The olive is and was an important part of Greek agriculture. Athena created the Olive tree when Moria, a maiden close to Athena, died. Athena then transformed her into an Olive tree. Athena used the Olive tree to win the city of Athens. She competed against Poseidon and Zeus was to judge who created the better gift for man. Poseidon crafted a horse and Athena produced an Olive tree from a rock from the Akropolis. Athena’s gift was judged the best and she was awarded the city.
The pomegranate is sacred to both Hera and Aphrodite. The pomegranate tree was the metamorphosis of Side. Side, wife to Orion, claimed to be more beautiful than Hera. Hera, in her characteristic anger, banished her to the underworld and transformed her into a pomegranate. Persephone, kidnapped and wed to Hades, refused to eat. However, she was finally tempted to eat pomegranate seeds. The seeds she ate forced her to spend part of each year in the underworld after she was rescued from the underworld; this was done to punish Demeter, Persephone’s mother, because Demeter turned the keeper of the pomegranate trees into a screech owl.

Works Cited

Atsma, A. (n.d.). Flora Plants of Greek Mythology. Retrieved Feb 17, 2009, from http://www.theoi.com/Flora1.html


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Flower Preservation

February 11, 2009 at 8:38 PM (Floral Design)

Drying flowers and foliage preserves the color and form. When selecting flowers, it is important to select them at the right time. Flowers that are over mature will deteriorate and lose color.
The following are guidelines when selecting material to be preserved:
○ Flowers should be gathered before they shed pollen
○ Seed pods, grasses, and cattails should only be dried after they release their seeds
○ Cereal grains must be preserved before they lose their grains
○ Red, gold, or yellow leaves should be removed from the tree at the peak of their color
○ All material to be dried should be gathered when the material is free of dew
Once the material has been selected, the stems must be submerged in water around 110 degrees Fahrenheit, then placed in the floral cooler over night. Then proceed to preserve the flowers by hanging, pressing, burial, or glycerin infusion.

Drying by Hanging
Dry by hanging typically takes two weeks and some petal color will be lost and foliage may curl. The individual stems are then hung upside down in a cool, dry, and dark area. Sun or fluorescent light will fade color. Cool temperatures are best to hold color; a hot environment such as an attic can give the flowers an unnatural appearance. Ornamental grasses can be dried by placing them up right in a coffee container and spraying them with a light coating of plastic or shellac sealer. Ornamental grasses with cottony tops can be dipped in Tempra paint and then sprayed with hair spray to give them color. Seed pods and Cones should be dipped in polyurethane to prevent them from shedding seeds

Drying by Pressing
Deciduous foliage is typically preserved by pressing. When pressing material, alternating layers of paper and leaves are stacked together and weighted with boards of books to flatten leaves. This process typically takes three weeks, but the process can be sped up by changing the paper occasionally

Drying by Burial
Drying by burial is also called desiccant drying, which is the process of burying flowers in material to absorb moisture. This process protects flower color and shape

Preparing flowers
Remove the stem 1/4 inch below the calyx
– Insert a 16 gauge florist wire through the stem stub into the calyx, the calyx will shrink and secure the wire
– In a strong cardboard box, cover the bottom with a cornmeal-borax mix or silica gel
– If the flowers are single petaled or have stiff petals, place them face down in the medium
– If the flowers are more delicate, place them face up and sprinkle the material between the petals
– When using cornmeal and borax, 4 inches of material should cover the flowers
– 2 inches of silica gel should be used to cover the flowers
– Allow 10 days to 2 weeks to dry completely at room temperature
-If you use silica gel and microwave the material before sealing the containers drying time can be reduced to 2 to 3 days
– To remove the flowers once they are dry, punch holes in the bottom of the container to drain the material, then blow off excess dust on the dried material
– To be used with flowers that have closely spaced petals
– Mix one part borax with six parts cornmeal
– Do not microwave this mix
Silica Gel
– Can be reused indefinitely
– Dries quickly and retains petal color
– Mix 5 pounds fine silica gel with 1/4 pound of indicator crystals
– The crystals will change color once the material has absorbed the maximum amount of water
– The indicator can be reused if you heat it in the oven at 250 for 30 minutes
– Silica gel typically takes 6-12 days
– Time may be reduced by heating the gel at the lowest temperature for 2 hours or in a microwave for less than 2 minutes
– Rapid drying maintains colors
– Use a fine sand and dry it in the oven at 250 degrees, then mix two parts sand and one part Borax. A sand-borax mix will typically take two weeks to dry the flowers.
Cat litter can also be used as a drying material

Glycerin Infusion
Glycerin prevents foliage from becoming brittle. Woody stems are crushed with a hammer to allow better uptake of glycerin and softer material is cut at a diagonal. This process uses one part glycerin and two parts water and place the stems in 4 inches of the mix. Foliage will darken from the glycerin, but dyes can be used to change or preserve color. With glycerin infusion, preservation takes two weeks, then foliage is hung upside down to dry

Microwave drying

Microwave drying is quick, retains petal color, and results in durable dried material. To dry flowers in the microwave:
– Trim their stems to 1/2 inch long, them place the flowers on top of 1-2 inches of silica gel in a microwave safe container.
– Cover the flowers with silica gel then place the bowl in the microwave, along with a small bowl of water. The small bowl of water will prevent the flower from becoming too dry and brittle.
– Then microwave the flower from 1 to 4 minutes until the material is dry.
– Let the flowers remain in the gel for another 24 hours.
– After cleaning off the flowers, spray them with preservative and attach them to floral wire with floral tape.

Works Cited
Griner, C. (2002). Floriculture: Designing & Merchandising. Albany: Delmar Thomson Learning.
McDaniel, G. L. (1998). Floral Design & Arrangement 3rd Edition. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.


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Color Schemes

February 4, 2009 at 3:31 PM (Floral Design)

There are many different color schemes, all with individual benefits, that can be utilized when making a flower arrangement. Color schemes use various colors to compliment each other and to emphasize a specific color.

Monochromatic color schemes use tints, tones, and shades of a single hue. Because there is little variation of color, texture, form, and value are used to provide visual interest. Green foliage can be used in small amounts and will not detract from the color scheme. Lighter hues (tints) should be used on the perimeter of the design and near the height of the design. Darker hues (shades) bring more visual weight and should be used to draw attention to the focal point. Intermediate hues should be used as a transition between the tints and shades. Monochromatic schemes can be used in a room that has a wall with many colors or patterns. Picking a single color from the room and using it in the design will compliment the room and bring attention to the design.

Accented Neutral:
An Accented Neutral design uses a neutral background and focuses on a single hue. White is the most common neutral used in these designs because it is a naturally occurring color. This scheme should be used in a room with a heavy pattern and many colors.

Analogous color schemes have a great emotional appeal because it used three hues of a single primary color. However, it is not necessary for the primary color to be used in the design. This design focuses on one specific hue and uses two intermediate hues to emphasize that hue. These designs are most commonly seasonally themed.

Complementary designs use two colors opposite of each other on the color wheel, only one of these colors is emphasized. One color is warm and the other color is cold.

This design is considered to be easier than complementary designs. Three colors are used and one color is used as the color of emphasis.

A single color of emphasis with is chosen from three equidistant hues in the triad color scheme.

Double Split Complementary:
This scheme used colors that are adjacent to both the direct compliments. If Red and Green are the compliments, then red-orange, red-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green are the colors used.

With the tetrad scheme, four equidistant colors are used. Ex. Yellow, Blue- Green, Violet, Red- Orange.

A polychromatic scheme is difficult to achieve. Three or more unrelated colors are chosen in this scheme and one color is dominant. A bouquet of spring flowers is a good example.

McDaniel, G. L. (1998). Floral Design & Arrangement 3rd Edition. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.

Instructional Materials Service. The Element of Color.


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Floral Design History

January 28, 2009 at 9:26 PM (Floral Design)

Ancient Egypt (2800 – 28 BC)

The history of floral design begins in Ancient Egypt. The designs were highly stylized and focused on repetition and alteration of the colors red, yellow, and blue. Flowers were arranged in basins, wide mouth bowls made of gold, silver, or pottery. In addition, faience bowls were made of ground silicate. Bronze containers were also used. Table arrangements, however, were placed in low baskets and were typically topped with lotus flowers. The lotus was the sacred flower of the goddess Isis. This sacred flower was also used in chaplets and lotus buds or leaves were used to flank designs of regimented blossom rows.

Greek (600-146 BC)

The Greek period followed the Egyptian period. The Greeks commonly used flowers and plants as part of ceremony and they grew potted plants to provide the materials. They maintained the simplistic design of the Egyptians and incorporated designs that were more graceful. Fragrance replaced the importance of color and often petals were scattered on the ground during ceremonies. Wreaths, a symbol of allegiance and dedication, were used to adorn athletes, poets, and other heroes and olive branches were used during weddings.

Roman (28 BC – 325 AD)

During the Roman period, roses were often present at the evening meal; this time was given the name ‘Hour of the Rose’. The tradition of placing blossoms in scarves to be sacrificed at an alter developed in this period. In Roman floral arrangements, flowers were placed between feathery branches, leaving only the flowers clearly visible. These arrangements were placed in a likon, a basket that was high in the back and low in the front.

Byzantine (320-600 AD)

The conical design became popular during the Byzantine period. Densely packed foliage with fruit or flowers placed at regular intervals created this design. Small flowers were used to create arching lines. Lilies, star-shaped flowers, and branches of grapes were also popular materials. In these designs, neighboring hues created the color scheme.

Middle Ages (476 – 1000 AD)

The use of flowers and floral arrangements declined in the Middle Ages. Flowers were most often seen in the borders of manuscripts. Flowers were also painted on alters and see in Persian rugs. The Persian rug designs showed influence of Chinese symmetry and monochromatic and triadic color schemes.

Renaissance (1400 – 1600 AD)

During the Renaissance, commissioned artists began making floral arrangements. Designs were typically twice as tall as the height of the container, balanced, pyramidal, and of a triadic color scheme using intense colors. Arrangements were kept in Venetian glass, metal pedestal vases, and wide-mouth marble urns. During this time, they also began to use floral arrangements to decorate walls and vaulted ceilings.

Baroque/Flemish (1600 – 1775 AD)

The Baroque/Flemish period brought about more flamboyant designs with the introduction of the Hogarthian S-curve and the use of tulips. Prior to the popularity of the Hogarthian curve, most designs were massed, over flowing, oval, and symmetrical.


There were four period of floral design in French History. During the Baroque period, refinement, elegance, and femininity were stressed. In the design, there was no focal point and the largest flowers were typically placed on the outside edges of the arrangement. Topiary trees also gain popularity during this time.

The feminine design carried over into the French Rococo period. Rococo, meaning ‘graceful arc that forms line’, was an appropriate name for the period when asymmetrical, curvilinear C- shaped designs were formed.

In the Louis XVI period, Marie Antoinette popularized cool colors that were highlighted with gold. The designs of this period were more conservative than the previous periods.

Masculine designs dominated the Empire period, thanks to Napoleon. Militaristic designs replaced the formality and femininity of the previous eras and often arrangements displayed emblems identifiable with Napoleon, such as a bee or the letter N.

English-Georgian (1714- 1760 AD)

Floral design moved away from formality in the English-Georgian period. Designs, influenced by the Chinese, were symmetrical and triangular. Flowers also became fashionable for women to wear on their clothes or in their hair. This period also resulted in the Nosegay, also known as a Tussie Mussie. This design was a ‘knot of flowers’, a small hand held bouquet designed to disguise offensive odors that were thought to be unhealthy.

Victorian (1820 – 1901)

The Victorian Era was the first period to attempt to establish design rules, however during this time there was no definite style. Most arrangements were asymmetrical with large mass flowers in a compact arrangement.


American floral design developed slowly. In the Early American period (1620-1720), wild flowers, grains, and grasses were collected and placed in jugs or pans.

During the Colonial Williamsburg period (1724-1780), massed, round, and fan shaped designs became popular. Dried grasses and flowers were commonly used. These materials were arranged so that flowers with greater visual weight were placed at the rim.

During the American Federal period (1780-1920) designs were very similar to the English-Georgian style and most arrangements were pyramidal shaped.

Corsages became a popular arrangement in the 19th century. After the end of WWII, Japanese designs brought more line to American designs. American designs then included European mass and Oriental line.


Oriental design began when monks scattered branches and stems at alters. Chinese Buddhists then began to arrange flowers in bronze ceremonial vases. The designs were often symbolic with bright colors that were contrast to the color of the vase. In these arrangements, the darkest colors were placed on the outer edges and the lighter colors remained in the center.

Japanese design has the most complex history. There are a variety of styles and elements. The first, Ikenobo, means, “Giving life to flowers.” This focused on the refinement of art and ritual flower use by Japanese Buddhists.

Rikkwa designs depicted natural scenes. They were massive, symmetrical designs contained in bronze ceremonial vases. In this design, there were three levels, Shin, Soe, and Tai. Shin was the first line, representing the ‘distant view’; it represented the trees. Soe was the ‘middle view’ and represented shrubs. Tai created the third line; it represented the ‘close view’ and was composed of small flowers. Nejime was not a layer, but consisted of helper flowers to complete the design.

Shokwa design meant ‘quiet flower’ and was an informal, asymmetrical design. In Shokwa, Shin represented heaven, Tai represented earth, and humans, between heaven and earth, were Soe.

Nageire design meant ‘thrown in’, these designs were composed of curved lines, and informal everyday designs.

Moribana design referred to ‘piled up flowers’. These designs were natural and simple, they moved away from floral symbolism and they often depicted miniature gardens.

Jiyu-Bana, the last type of design, came about after the end of WWII. Western influence resulted in more free and natural designs.

Works Cited

Griner, C. (2002). Floriculture: Designing & Merchandising. Albany: Delmar Thomson Learning.

McDaniel, G. L. (1998). Floral Design & Arrangement 3rd Edition. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.


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