Making Flower Arrangements A More Personal Experience

Flower arranging can be an intensely personal experience. Whether you’re making an arrangement for yourself or whether you’re creating something for a loved one, there’s no better way to express yourself through your work.

Flowers aren’t just an accessory or a decoration – they are an essential and vibrant part of life. All too often, people see them as a final touch or as a traditional afterthought, but in fact, a flower arrangement can be an engaging element for any occasion.

The Language Of Flowers

In the Victorian era, there was more importance attached to flowers than there is today. The language of flowers was well known and was used to give coded messages through the choice of flowers given. Lovers would share their feelings for each other through the choice of blossoms that went into the bouquet that they gave to their beau, and color, variety and size all meant something truly special both to the giver and the recipient.

Today, you can harness the power of the Language of Flowers to speak to the person that you’re giving your flowers to. Whether as a birthday gift, as a thank you or for a special occasion, the display that you create can express more than just your good wishes or gratitude. Here, we look at how you can put more of yourself into your flower arranging so that your displays can be truly personal and uniquely special.

Getting The Environment Right

The first step when it comes to creative flower arranging is to get the environment right. Experts have proven that the right environment can boost creativity so think about how you can help yourself to feel at your most creative. Choose the right ambient lighting so that you can see what you’re doing but don’t feel flooded with harsh light, set some scented candles alight and put some relaxing music on (there are lots of affordable speakers under $50 out there which are perfect for your flower arranging workshop – for example, the Oontz Angle 3 speaker is one of the best you can get in this price range and as it’s waterproof you won’t have to worry about accidental water splashes). Make sure you have everything you need close at hand so you won’t be disturbed and then you can get started.

What Do You Need?

You’ll need the following:

  • Sharp clippers or scissors
  • A vase or vessel
  • A selection of flowers – always have a mix of bud sizes together with some greenery or filler

Your Flower Arranging Tutorial

First, prepare your flowers, cutting them at a 45 degree angle at the stem. Make sure to remove any leaves or foliage falling below the vase’s water line. If there are leaves floating in your water bacteria will rapidly multiply and your flowers won’t last long.

Next, form a base. You can do this by adding green foliage to your vase first. This gives your arrangement a more organic and loose movement. Choose your foliage carefully and make sure to place it into your vase in various directions to create visual appeal.

Next, add the accent flowers or smaller buds. Choose buds which look delicate when compared to the larger flowers that you intend to use. Choose the colors carefully so that they either contrast or complement depending on the effect that you’re trying to create. You can either opt for a symmetrical look or an asymmetrical one depending on the impact you wish to have. An easy way to make an asymmetrical design is to simply drape a few buds over one of the sides.

Now, you’re ready to place the larger blossoms. These are the focal point of your arrangement and they should be placed in every hole in the arrangement. Empty spaces do have a value depending on the effect you want to create, however you need to get the balance right. Avoid adding too few or too many blooms, otherwise your display could look overcrowded or too sparse. You’re aiming for an overall organic feel and look.

To make your arrangement last longer, make sure to cut each stem every few days and top up the vase with fresh water. The result will be a beautifully personal floral arrangement that will express your own unique personality.

Making the Most of the Space You Have: Tiny But Beautiful Gardens

Most people’s dream garden covers acres, with flowerbeds, parkland and untamed woods rolling off towards the horizon. In real life, sadly, this is possible only for a few, and the rest of us have to make do with a patch of roof, a tiny back yard or even a couple of flowerpots on a windowsill.

On the other hand, having a small garden can be a kind of blessing: you don’t need to buy an expensive lawn mower, spend hours every weekend just to keep it looking respectable or worry too much about water restrictions. As it happens, there are also a number of ways to make a small garden more productive and pleasant than most people will believe.

Vertical Gardening

When you can’t go sideways, go up. When considering techniques such as trellising, vertical gardening really is nothing new, but it has been receiving much more attention recently as detached houses become more difficult to afford.

All you really need is a wall that receives at least some sun, which in a small courtyard might mean three out of four. The most labor-intensive part of setting up your own hanging gardens is usually building a structure, perhaps using old wooden pallets, that can support the weight – wet soil weighs more than you think! To this, you can attach ordinary flowerpots, guttering or even plastic bottles, fill these with potting mixture and start planting.

Vertical gardens are much easier to maintain and harvest, especially if your back isn’t what it used to be. Since the plants and flowers are at eye level, these “green walls” also look much larger than they have any right to, and with proper care, they can produce an astonishing amount of flowers and vegetables. Decorative species to consider include giant lilyturf, geraniums and star jasmine; while cucumbers, strawberries, peas, green beans and herbs of every kind also do well in a vertical garden.

Keeping Plants Indoors

Either due to their living arrangements or the climate, some people simply can’t do much gardening outdoors. A few of them, missing being surrounded by a little bit of foliage when relaxing, have simply moved their gardens inside.

This need not imply being restricted to sticking a wilted ficus in the corner and a struggling fern on your desk. Some people go much further, even adding a purpose-built “green room” to their houses to relax and entertain guests in.

Humidity is an obvious factor to bear in mind. If your house is built of brick, moisture-resistant paint and polyethylene sheets may be all that’s needed to keep this at bay. If you’re dealing with drywall…well, the clue is in the name.

Light quality is also, generally speaking, a concern. A few species of plant might be able to survive even in a north-facing room, but setting up an indoor garden may require you to change the way you currently use your space and even knock a few new holes in the walls. Luckily, there is a workaround in the form of grow lights, which come in handy especially during winter months.

Using Vermicompost

If you have a limited amount of space and only a few plants, you really want to do all you can to make them as lush and productive as possible. This obviously means feeding them well, and one of the most effective ways of doing so is to apply the ejecta of earthworms to the soil. The way this works is not really by adding more NPK, but by improving the concentration of helpful soil bacteria around the roots, meaning that your plants will be better able to make use of nutrients and be more resistant to disease. Just look at these seedlings:

Vermicompost can be found at any gardening center with an organic inclination, or simply be created by composting kitchen scraps and garden clippings with the aid of some worms. If there is one single thing any gardener can do to increase the health of her plants, it is to scatter a teaspoon of vermicompost around the base of each.

Getting Way, Way Out of Town to See Nature Blooming

Culinary tourism, historical pilgrimages and even traveling to disaster zones to help out have all become popular ways to holiday. If you are interested in botany and flowers in particular, you might have considered going to see Japan’s cherry trees blossom in spring, or perhaps visit the tulip farms of Holland. If you’re willing to go a little off the beaten track, though, there are places you can take holiday snaps that may rival anything you can find in National Geographic.

Triple Canopy Rainforest

For the more adventurous, there are a number of totally unique flowers that can be found only in the Amazon. The bad news is that seeing them typically requires you to sweat a little.

You will certainly require a local guide: bugs, spiders and snakes, oh my! It’s ridiculously easy to lose your bearings in the jungle unless you stay on waterways: the “horizon” is rarely more than twenty metres away and you will not be able to tell where the sun is coming from. Also, in Colombia at least, exploring botanists have actually wandered right into drug cartels’ hideouts…so really, pay a few dollars to someone who knows the area. One with a certification from the local tourist board will often know volumes about the rainforest’s ecology and be able to locate species you’d otherwise walk right past.

Perhaps the most exciting part of visiting the Amazon is not the hint of danger or its uniqueness, but the fact that you can actually experience three ecosystems at the same time. These take the form of horizontal layers, from the gloomy yet still beautiful world of the undergrowth, which receives little sunlight, to the still-mysterious canopy layer, where completely different kinds of flowering plants can be found.

In the past, studying the canopy was a somewhat risky process. An arrow trailing a fishing line was shot upwards, hopefully looping over a sturdy branch, after which a climbing rope was pulled up. With the canopy easily being 40 metres off the ground (i.e. the height of a 13 story building) and medical attention days away, this type of fieldwork was not for the faint of heart or frail of bone.

Today, though, remotely piloted drones make taking pictures of the upper layer much easier. These aircraft are available in a variety of price ranges. At the lower end, you can choose the Holy Stone F181, which can be charged from a power bank, but it doesn’t have a FPV (drone’s eye view) or obstacle avoidance capability. If you’re willing to spend $3,000 plus on a jaunt to South America, though, you can certainly afford something better, such as the 3D Robotics Solo.


Climatically as different from the Amazon as you can get, Namaqualand in Namibia and South Africa consists of arid plains interspersed with low hills. Desolate scrubland for most of the time, the landscape explodes in a riot of color for a few weeks every year somewhere between August and October.

Several hundred species of flowers take advantage of the seasonal rains to propagate, making this biome unique. It also boasts the highest concentration of succulents of any desert locale – over a thousand local plant species aren’t found anywhere else. Photographs cannot do justice to the beauty of varicolored blooms literally carpeting the landscape; it is something that simply has to be experienced in person. The incongruity of seeing dryland animal species such as gemsbok, ostrich and springbok grazing among what might as well be a miles-wide flowerbed is by itself worth the trip. For best results, keep in mind that the flowers follow the sun, so the best viewing times are between noon and 3 o’clock, facing east.

Well-traveled by tourists, it’s possible to cycle or drive offroad through Namaqualand. Alternatively, guided bus tours are also available, usually taking routes that allow you to spend a few hours in the various charming towns scattered around. If flying into Cape Town, make sure to also include the fynbos region on the Cape Peninsula in your itinerary, as this ecology and the species it’s comprised of are also found only in this small area.