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Dahlia Artistic Arrangements


Most members of our organization GROW DAHLIAS. They hybridize, coddle their seedlings and tubers, buy better umbrellas trying for the “perfect” bloom and the elusive “BEST OF SHOW”.

What happens to the rejects, the not perfect blooms? Some of us just enjoy the beauty of the flower – the colors and forms. We use the crooked stem, the off-center bloom, the blurred color to our advantage. We make a flower arrangement.

Archaeologists have found evidence that humans have been using plant material for medicine, adornment, decorations, and worship since the beginning of time (remember the fig leaf?)

Why not give it a try. You have all made a flower arrangement. Remember when you were a little kid and brought your mom a bunch of dandelions or clover, and she helped you put them in a glass of water? Arranging flowers can be relaxing and rewarding. In an arrangement, you can see each bloom without crowding. A group of flowers in a vase can be lovely to look at, especially if you let each stem be seen without crowding. Here is a simple way to get started.

Principals of Design

Click for a larger view of Principals of Design

  1. Condition the flowers as you normally would.

  1. Select a container.  A cylinder (about the size of a fruit jar) is a good place to start because it has sides and holds enough water to give weight to keep your heavy stems from tipping over.  You can try balancing the line, but you might want to have some oasis floral foam that holds water. Can be found at craft stores or florists, make sure that it is wet before you put it into the container).

  1. Measure your LINE – a branch or tall leaf ( cattail leaves and large cattail heads are a good scale for dahlias) so that it is above the container 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of the container after it is in the water.

  1. Now measure and cut the next line 2/3 the length of the first and put it to the let of the first leaning toward your left shoulder.  Take a third piece o line material and cut it 1/2 the length of the first and place it to the right-leaning toward your right shoulder.  You now have a frame to work with.

  1. Add flowers. Make sure no leaves are under water. Use the biggest and the darkest near the lip of your container. Smallest lightest toward the top. Place each bloom 2/3 below the tip of each line.

  2. Turn the vase around and do almost the same thing from the back, except make sure no two flowers are the same height.

  3. Now look at your design from the front and fill in any empty spots with short pieces of branch or leaves cut off the stems.

  4. Wipe any moisture off the container and place it where you can enjoy your creation. Make sure to add water to keep the flowers well hydrated.

Phyllis Andrews

Phyllis Andrews

Flower arranging is an ART FORM with plant material as our medium. Why not give it a try?

by Phyllis Andrews

Flower Arrangement Designer and Judge

Flowers Superintendent of Minnesota State Fair

Past president of Federated Garden Clubs of Minnesota

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