A beginner's guide to floral design

Garden groups plan workshops on floral design

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Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the location and the March date of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs' floral design class.

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Floral designer Joy Simpson laughs as she finishes an arrangement in the workroom at Martina's Flowers and Gifts off Washington Road in Augusta. Simpson has been crafting and designing arrangements at Martina's for 14 years.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Floral designer Joy Simpson laughs as she finishes an arrangement in the workroom at Martina's Flowers and Gifts off Washington Road in Augusta. Simpson has been crafting and designing arrangements at Martina's for 14 years.

Floral design is understandably intimidating. There are thorns, after all.

It doesn’t have to be, said Linda Boland, a board member of the Augusta Rose Society.

“Everybody can arrange,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be difficult.”

Several garden clubs offer hands-on courses, workshops and events for beginners starting this month.

Even local floral shops can help, said Heather Colvin, the general manager of Martina’s Flowers and Gifts in Augusta.

“We encourage people to come and learn,” she said.

On Fridays, the shop offers some half-priced stems, which make for an affordable entry point into do-it-yourself floral designs at home.

“We have a lot of people coming in on Fridays to experiment and learn how to design,” Colvin said. “We tell people to bring their containers. We can help them find the right flowers for their vase.”

Colvin steers beginners toward easy-to-work-with flowers, such as hydrangeas or Alstroemeria lilies.

“You can grab a bunch and pop them into a vase and they’ll look pretty,” she said.

As hobbies go, floral design isn’t experiencing the heyday it once did, Boland said.

“It was big at one time,” she said. “There are just so many things to do these days.”

A series of workshops held by the Aiken Garden Club Council and the Augusta Rose Society teach traditional, contemporary and oriental rose arrangements.

They’re led by accredited American Rose Society judges who exhibit, judge and teach across the country, Boland said.

“They’re professionals. You can come in not knowing anything,” she said. “We want people to be comfortable with it.”

Another series of classes – Introduction to Floral Designs – is sponsored by the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs. Each week includes a demonstration at the Georgia State Floral Distributors.

“I think that anybody who comes will find something that appeals to them,” Boland said. “It’ll be a really fun day.”

Fun is exactly what arranging should be, Colvin said.

Rules of composition that guide traditional floral design. Arrangements, for example, are supposed to be 1½ times taller than their vases, Colvin said. So, a 5-inch vase needs 7½ inches of flowers, for an arrangement that’s a total of 12½ inches tall.

“But you can just throw a lot of those rules out the window,” she said. “You’ll still get something worthy of the dining room table.”

AIKEN FLORAL-DESIGN WORKSHOPS

WHAT: Three half-day floral-design workshops that include lectures and hands-on arranging classes sponsored by the Aiken Garden Club Council and The Augusta Rose Society.

WHEN: Jan. 24 for traditional arrangements; Feb. 28 for modern arrangements; March 28 for Oriental- style arrangements. All workshops begin at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. SW, Aiken

COST: $5 for lecture and $15 for arrangement per class. Participants must bring container and pruning shears. Roses, floral foam and other necessities will be provided.

LEARN MORE: Call (803) 643-9542 or e-mail pamkolb@atlanticbb.net.

INTRODUCTION TO FLORAL DESIGNS

WHAT: Weekly floral-design demonstrations sponsored by the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs. Participants will be allowed to browse and purchase from Georgia State Floral Distributors during sessions.

WHEN: 8 a.m. Jan. 19, Feb. 2, Feb. 16 and March 9

WHERE: Highgrove Club House, 1801 Prince George Ave., Evans

COST: $20 per session; registration required two weeks before class; refreshments provided

LEARN MORE: Call (706) 556-3417 or (706) 533-1149.


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