For as long as I can remember, our family Christmas get-togethers always featured a home-made floral arrangement that really set the scene on the dinner table.
It helped that my mother, Thelma, was a florist. Each year she still seems to effortless pluck cuttings from the garden to create works of art.
Sadly, I haven’t inherited her creativity. Mum assures me it’s simple to do, so I’ve asked her to share her style secrets.
Where do you start?
You need some florist foam, which is readily available from Spotlight – although many other places have it – and soak it in water. If you can, give it a good 24 hours.
Secure the foam with ribbon or string in a decorative container or basket and you’re ready to start.
What’s the next step?
Start with your foliage. If you are going to have candles or other ornaments, like I have, put them in early and then add your foliage.
The foliage I have commandeered from the garden is gum leaves, olives twigs with baby olives on it, kangaroo paw and geisha girl plant cuttings.
I’ve started with the gum leaves, as base plants, inserting them all around to hide the foam, making sure all sides are equally covered.
You don’t have to be professional, just shove them in until they are all roughly the same distance from your container and you can’t see the foam.
I like that draping affect, so when I am finished, I can have it sitting up on a decorative cake stand.
At this stage I also add the kangaroo paw at each end or the arrangement and among the greenery as part of the foliage base to help add some colour.
What flowers do you recommend?
I’ve bought a bunch of roses and lillies, but any blooms from around the garden would work.
Ideally you cut the rose stems underwater so the water shoots up the stem a little bit.
Have a look at your rose and if there are any petals that are damaged, you just pluck them off. Ten roses or ten blooms of whatever main flower is ideal. I’ve also added some lillies.
Allow space for flowers opening, like lillies. When they open you don’t want your smaller flowers hidden by them.
Now you use your highlight flowers, in this case roses, to fill out any gaps where you need some colour in your arrangement – you don’t have to be very structured, but for something like this it can be a bit more informal.
What are the finishing touches?
I like to use any foliage that has little white flowers to fill up the arrangement.
I’ve cut some clippings from a geisha girl plant in the garden.
Being Christmas, I like to have little white flowers – it reminds me of an English or American white Christmas where they have snow.
Finally, I like to put some Christmas decorations in the arrangement. In this case I have a couple of Christmas reindeers, but any decorations, maybe baubles would look good too.
I like this arrangement for Christmas, because it has lots of greenery, small white flowers to represent snow, and Australian gum, because we’re in Australia!