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GardenSMART Episode

Show #27/4901. Floral Arranging

Summary of Show

Gardening Connects People
From the beginning of time GARDENING HAS CONNECTED PEOPLE and communities around the common goals of producing food, creating beautiful spaces and working together to make our surroundings more enjoyable. Gardeners are an intrinsically generous group of people, whether its sharing seedlings or cuttings from our favorite plants, or sharing the abundance of the years harvest with our neighbors, to engaging with those in our community and developing deeper relationships.This Episode is a wonderful portrait of this spirit of community and sharing. We recently discovered the Kathy B. Davis Foundation and their program "Flowers For A Purpose."
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Vase
Morgen believes the first thing one wants to think about is your VASE. Before one begins any design you want to picture what your outcome is going to be. What kind of look are you going for. In this instance Morgen was picturing a wildflower look because we are talking about gardening and what we can take from our own gardens.
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Flowers and Greenery
Next we'll talk about the plants, the FLOWERS AND GREENERY we are going to use. There are many flowers that work great in cut flower arrangements. And, there are others that are not as ideal. What are we looking for a in a good, cut flower?
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Color Theory
Eric would like Morgen to talk about COLOR THEORY. There's an art and a science to making everything look just right in the vase. What would be some basic tips to optimize the outcome as we think about the right colors working together?
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Texture
What about TEXTURE? Some of the beautiful garden designs and arrangements that Eric has seen have incorporated a wide variety of textures, maybe a wider leaf, maybe more spiky plants or some nice delicate foliage. What do we need to be thinking about? Morgen personally likes to use a nice range of textures to create some dimension and style in her arrangements. She likes to be more than just one dimensional.
For More Information Click Here

Composing The Arrangement
Now we have picked our flowers, we've got our greenery selected, we've decided basically what kind of color theme we want to go with. Walk us through the process of COMPOSING this arrangement. The first thing is to get your water and your vase in place. What a lot of people may not realize is that you typically want to use lukewarm water.
For More Information Click Here

Use An Odd Number Of Flowers
Eric would like Morgen to talk a little bit about the way that she balanced the arrangement. How many of each of these plants do you like to use? Morgen feels that's a really good point. A good trick that designers use is to always use an ODD NUMBER OF FLOWERS. So instead of picking up two sunflowers, use three, three, five, seven, nine, odd numbers is just something that happens to be aesthetically pleasing.
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Bring Everyone Together
Now we've gotten a good lesson on flower arranging, its time to BRING EVERYONE TOGETHER so they can start creating their own arrangements. Morgen starts working with the special needs folks and the senior citizens. Okay guys we are going to start putting together a flower arrangement. The vases are in place, the next thing to address and a good place to start is to trim the flowers.
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Young and Old Find Common Ground
Eric - Both young and old FIND COMMON GROUND around their task of making something beautiful to share with others. Friendships are formed and the excitement they share is felt by all, regardless of age. We all have the inherent need to interact with others. Numerous studies have demonstrated that maintained or increased socialization has numerous health benefits ranging from lower rates of depression, to fewer incidents of illness, enhanced performance on memory tests, to even extended lifespans.
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Dry Flowers
If you ever want to DRY OUT FLOWERS all you have to do is hang them upside down in like a cool dark place.
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Special Thanks to All Involved
A SPECIAL THANKS to the Kathy B. Davis Foundation and Flowers For A Purpose, Just People - which is a non-profit organization devoted to creating a sense of community for those with developmental disabilities, and Atria North Point, a senior living community in Alpharetta Georgia.
For More Information Click Here

Keeping The Arrangement Looking Great As Long As Possible
Eric - Morgen, do you have any tips for KEEPING OUR ARRANGEMENT LOOKING GREAT as long as we possibly can? Absolutely, you make something so beautiful you want to keep it around, so one thing you can do is pay attention to where you keep the arrangement in your home.
For More Information Click Here

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Show #27/4901. Floral Arranging

Transcript of Show

In this Episode GardenSMART steps out of the garden to discuss bringing our favorite flowers indoors with a veteran and very talented floral designer.

From the beginning of time GARDENING HAS CONNECTED PEOPLE and communities around the common goals of producing food, creating beautiful spaces and working together to make our surroundings more enjoyable. Gardeners are an intrinsically generous group of people, whether its sharing seedlings or cuttings from our favorite plants, or sharing the abundance of the years harvest with our neighbors, to engaging with those in our community and developing deeper relationships.This Episode is a wonderful portrait of this spirit of community and sharing. We recently discovered the Kathy B. Davis Foundation and their program "Flowers For A Purpose." It's a tremendous organization that brings together youth and adults with developmentally delayed diagnosis and senior citizens to learn about flowers, create beautiful arrangements, and share them with folks in nursing homes or with family and friends on special occasions. The Foundation was formed 5 years ago by her husband, Dave Davis, as a tribute to her work in non profit that touched the lives of many over the span of her life. As the foundation has grown, the participants have seen first hand the power of working with plants to create beautiful arrangements that can be shared with others as well as the mutually beneficial relationships that are formed between the young and old as they work together.

In this Episode we meet with a professional floral designer to discuss principles of floral design and arrangement and discuss the types of plants that work particularly well in arrangements. Morgen Norwood is our guide today. She comes from a family of floral designers where she learned the fundamentals of the trade. Morgen has a natural eye for what works well in a vase and has a keen appreciation for color theory. She practices her craft daily at Brenda's House of Flowers in Woodstock, Georgia

Eric welcomes Morgen, and thanks her for joining GardenSMART. Morgen returns the compliment, and thanks Eric for inviting her on the show. Eric goes on, in this Episode we are going to be talking about the world of flower arranging, which as a gardener, is a wonderful way of bringing the garden inside. A lot of the same principles of garden design apply to flower arranging. In some ways Eric thinks what we are doing in a vase as a kind of micro-gardening. Eric would like Morgen to talk about the basics - what do we need to know, start to finish, to have more success with our own at-home designs, what kind of tools do we need to consider?

Morgen believes the first thing one wants to think about is your VASE. Before one begins any design you want to picture what your outcome is going to be. What kind of look are you going for. In this instance Morgen was picturing a wildflower look because we are talking about gardening and what we can take from our own gardens. So pick out your vase, then round up tools for cutting and tape for the top of the vase, create a grid. You could also bring in things like rose strippers to help you prep your flowers. Basically a lot of the same tools we use in the garden.

Next we'll talk about the plants, the FLOWERS AND GREENERY we are going to use. There are many flowers that work great in cut flower arrangements. And, there are others that are not as ideal. What are we looking for a in a good, cut flower? You want something that is going to have a strong, long stem so you will be able to design with it. When it comes to greenery, especially when you are designing at home it's really up to you as to what you choose. Whatever you think is going to look nice and bring the aesthetic you are looking for in your arrangement.

We next consider what we need to think about when we are getting ready to put everything together. Morgen starts by cutting the bottom of the stems, stripping off some of the lower leaves. How do we start moving in the direction of composing our arrangement? Once all of our tools are set up and have everything ready, one of the first things we want to do is prep our flowers and our greenery. Take roses as an example, strip off the thorns and also take off a lot of the leaves. Some people don't realize that but you do want to strip off almost all of the leaves of the rose except, maybe the top two, so that it is thinner and easier to put down into your arrangement.

Eric would like Morgen to talk about COLOR THEORY. There's an art and a science to making everything look just right in the vase. What would be some basic tips to optimize the outcome as we think about the right colors working together? An easy tip one can always use is when looking at a color wheel any colors that are opposite from one another actually complement one another. So red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple are always colors that complement one another. One can also use the idea of using a cool theme or like in the arrangements today we are going to use bright colors, not going to use any reds but things like pinks and purples and yellows to give a really summery feel.

What about TEXTURE? Some of the beautiful garden designs and arrangements that Eric has seen have incorporated a wide variety of textures, maybe a wider leaf, maybe more spiky plants or some nice delicate foliage. What do we need to be thinking about? Morgen personally likes to use a nice range of textures to create some dimension and style in her arrangements. She likes to be more than just one dimensional. There are all kinds of flowers one can use to really bring that to life. They have a few different kinds of flowers in designing that they kind of categorize as prominent flowers. For example, a sunflower, is what she will use today. It is a nice flower that is really going to pop in an arrangement and really draw your eye. Then there are filler flowers and they do exactly what they are called, they fill in the vase, they add volume, and they also help out because when you are putting your different items into the vase things can be loose which makes it hard to hold everything in place. So the fillers help hold things in place just like your greenery does. A little saying they use is - your greenery is your glue, so fillers are kind of the same idea. Flowers like larkspur are nice and long and tall and those are fun. It's a personal favorite. Again, it's going to add just a little bit more to your arrangement, something to make it pop, to give it some height.

Now we have picked our flowers, we've got our greenery selected, we've decided basically what kind of color theme we want to go with. Walk us through the process of COMPOSING this arrangement. The first thing is to get your water and your vase in place. What a lot of people may not realize is that you typically want to use lukewarm water. If going for an arrangement, of say, all hydrangeas, Morgen has a saying - the harder the stem the hotter that water. So warmer water for harder stems. It just helps to bloom out your flowers and make them look really nice. So we will fill up our vase with water and then create a grid across the top with tape, which is another secret the designers use in the shop that you can kind of take home and use as well. Another little trick that one can use is that when cutting the end of a flower don't cut it straight across, cut it at an angle. That creates a larger surface area and it can suck in more water, therefor your arrangement is going to last a little bit longer.

We've selected our vase, we have figured out the color combinations we want to go with, we have our plant material here, lets start composing our arrangement. The first thing that we are going to put in is our greenery. Today Morgen is using Leatherleaf Mahonia which really is a staple for designers, they use it every day. Morgen is going around the vase, adding the Leatherleaf in each little square that has been taped off, then puts a piece of greenery down in it. Another thing one must learn to do is measure the stems. How long do you need them to be to fit down in the vase? Since Morgen has been designing for a while she can look at it and tell. A really simple way is just to hold a piece of greenery or a flower to the vase to be able to measure it to see how tall it needs to be. To Eric it seems one of the advantages of the tape is that it does provide some structure and support. If the stem were just a little too short it would keep it at a nice height. As more greenery is inserted, the arrangement is beginning to get full. You're really creating a good base down there to stick stems in. Now Morgen is ready to put in the flowers. One can create their own system based on what they are comfortable with but for her she likes to put in what her base is going to be. Not the fillers and not the most prominent flowers but the other flowers she wants to fill up the arrangement. In this case that is going to be some of the Larkspur. Another great thing one can do, especially at home, is use every part of the flower. Morgen calls this part tendrils and she breaks them off and later sticks them into her design, when almost done just to add a little bit more of a fun element.

Eric would like Morgen to talk a little bit about the way that she balanced the arrangement. How many of each of these plants do you like to use? Morgen feels that's a really good point. A good trick that designers use is to always use an ODD NUMBER OF FLOWERS. So instead of picking up two sunflowers, use three, three, five, seven, nine, odd numbers is just something that happens to be aesthetically pleasing. Since she has three pink and three purple flowers, she next moves ahead to another flower and adds athos.

What's great about this arrangement is that every single plant selected here are plants that grow in our garden. These are all great garden flowers so it is a very practical, do-it-yourself, at home kind of arrangement. Morgen was hoping to bring that element today so that the viewers can really see this is something practical, something one can accomplish at home.

Next the sunflower, she didn't put them in first simply because she wanted to make sure they were put somewhere in the arrangement where they will stand out, where they are not going to get lost behind the other flowers. Next are the snapdragons. Morgen just cleans the neck of them, pulls off their leaves because cleaning them up not only is prettier, it looks nicer, but it also is practical when inserting them into an arrangement because they take up less room in the arrangement.

Even at this point in the arrangement there are a lot of additional things that must be added but already we have a really nice array of textures, a wonderful contrast is starting to develop with the yellows, deep purples, and also some of the softer hues like the lime, lime-yellow and and the pinks. As Morgen is turning the arrangement she now starts to pop in some roses. She wants to spread them out so she can put them next to something that is going to contrast and is going to pop. The next flower is a really fun flower, great texture, nice and tall and can add something extra to your arrangement with a very nice texture.

Eric mentions that we talk a lot about container gardening on GardenSMART and see many of those same principles Morgen is utilizing in the vase. She's establishing pillars and then the fillers and then the spillers at the bottom. This is the way we approach designing in a container in our garden.

Morgen is next going to put in the orange roses. She likes these, it's a fun color. One will want to take off the thorns, of course, and also some of the leaves on the bottom so, again, when inserting them into the container it's thinner, easier to insert. Then you also take off a few of the leaves around the outside of the bloom so that the bloom looks nice. A lot of times you will have what is called birth leaves on the outside that are a slightly different color, a slightly different texture. They are just not quite as pretty. Then she adds in a little bit of filler, Solidago. It is a personal favorite and uses it as much as possible. She spreads that out fairly evenly throughout the arrangement. The purple Monte Casino is next added, it is a filler and she disperses those keeping in mind the colors already included. She doesn't want to put a bunch of purple Monte Casino next to the larkspur and have them all blend in. Morgen feels the arrangement is looking great and thinks she will call it done.

Now we've gotten a good lesson on flower arranging, its time to BRING EVERYONE TOGETHER so they can start creating their own arrangements. Morgen starts working with the special needs folks and the senior citizens. Okay guys we are going to start putting together a flower arrangement. The vases are in place, the next thing to address and a good place to start is to trim the flowers. There are clippers if needed. Just hold the flowers up to the vase to see how tall you need them. Yeah, that is great. You can do one at a time or a few at a time.

Eric weighs in. Its heartwarming to see how, after everyone starts the process of creating and working together, the barriers come down between the collaborators and a spirit of teamwork permeates the process.

Morgen - That is exactly right, clip your stems at an angle so that the flowers can get the most water. And keep in mind when first putting the greens in, they are not going to go where you want them to, they are going to kind of fall around. But put all the greens in there because you need as many greens as you can get.

Eric - Both young and old FIND COMMON GROUND around their task of making something beautiful to share with others. Friendships are formed and the excitement they share is felt by all, regardless of age. We all have the inherent need to interact with others. Numerous studies have demonstrated that maintained or increased socialization has numerous health benefits ranging from lower rates of depression, to fewer incidents of illness, enhanced performance on memory tests, to even extended lifespans. Risk of falls is reduced in seniors who regularly engage in activities with younger generations. Working together, both learn from each other whether it is a new skill, or new ways of looking at the world. There is a sense of purpose that comes from the shared engagement as both parties are giving of themselves and finding unexpected companionship in the process.

Morgen - Yeah, here guys, some of these flowers are buried but you can use whatever color you want. We have pink and orange.

Eric - Many seniors in assisted living facilities see few visitors and cherish their interactions with their young visitors. In the same way, many special needs youth have few friends outside of their normal circles and find a welcoming, smiling face, eager to share their many years of wisdom and life experience, very rewarding.

Morgen - I think all the sunflowers are on the table but I'm sure not everybody is going to want to use sunflowers. You know, we've got some hidden underneath here. You want another one? Yeah, that is called delphinium. Those kind of get tangled together don't they? It's okay. You can pull it apart. They're a little more sturdy than you think, they are pretty strong and you know if you break them it is no big deal. There are plenty more snap dragons over here. There is a whole pile of snap dragons. Sometimes guys if it has a bunch of leaves on the stem you can strip them. Just run your hand down the stem like this and it makes it much easier to put into the vase. If you guys want some different colors here is some saladago to fill in. Here's some purple larkspur. I like these, they are fun because they are kind of fuzzy. Larkspur is one of my favorites. That's a beautiful stem you have there. Creating beautiful flower arrangements is something that anyone can do. Its great to understand the fundamentals but really all you need is some basic supplies, a bundle of your favorite flowers, and a creative spirit. Sunflowers are my favorite flower. I have liked them since I was a little girl. Here, I'll show you a thistle. It is kind of fun. Do you like that one? That one is cool. Guys love thistle. Here is delphinium, if you want any I do have some pink lark spur if you want pink. Those are a very wild flower aren't they? You can look at them and tell. The delphinium is gorgeous too. I would definitely break up some of the pink right there so you can see it better. Yeah, maybe the sunflower, it is yellow if you need it. I like all the different heights. That is nice. Are they getting full? Yeah, sunflowers have thick stems. So sometimes if you want to fill in you can use things like this. That's a great filler because they are really thin. Perfect, right? You guys need some pink roses down there? You're going to stick it right down in the middle. Okay, you want to get it down in there for me? Awesome. Perfect. Yeah, sometimes you have got to get different angles, you've got to spin the arrangement around, stand up, sit down. I do, I have to dance all around to get them right. And sometimes you can peel off these outer petals here to reveal the prettier ones.

If you ever want to DRY OUT FLOWERS all you have to do is hang them upside down in like a cool dark place. Hairspray them and you can save them.

Yes, exactly a good fresh stem of thistle will be totally bright blue and a lot of times I will use them around the edges because that way you can see it perfectly.

Eric - In this Episode we brought together two groups in our community whose paths typically don't cross and witnessed the impact of creating something beautiful together. Something that is designed to be shared with others. It's a picture of collaboration and giving back to the community, as well as learning from each other. The sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something beautiful is remembered.

A SPECIAL THANKS to the Kathy B. Davis Foundation and Flowers For A Purpose, Just People - which is a non-profit organization devoted to creating a sense of community for those with developmental disabilities, and Atria North Point, a senior living community in Alpharetta Georgia.

It has been wonderful day seeing everyone work together to create beautiful arrangements. These programs are so impactful in bringing people together in our communities and are the types of activities that can be implemented across the country.

Morgen - I think they all look amazing. It looks great. I think you guys did great.

Applause

Eric - Morgen, do you have any tips for KEEPING OUR ARRANGEMENT LOOKING GREAT as long as we possibly can? Absolutely, you make something so beautiful you want to keep it around, so one thing you can do is pay attention to where you keep the arrangement in your home. You don't want to put it in direct sunlight, you don't want to put it next to something like an air vent or where heat is going to be blowing on it, you don't want to dry it out of course. Not a lot of heat. Another thing you can do is plant food, if you go and get a flower arrangement and you get plant food to put in the water, all it is is sugar so you can actually take some sugar packets at home, add it to the water, and it will help feed the flowers.

Eric - That is a wonderful tip Morgen. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise, this came out great. We explored the fundamentals of flower arrangement and discussed ways to get the most out of cut flowers in our home. Thank you so much, I really appreciate you being here.

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