Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to

• list and describe the materials needed by a floral designer.

• care for cut flowers properly to prolong their life.

• categorize arrangement materials into basic forms.

• define the principles of design.

• distinguish between different patterns of arrangements.

use color to advantage in floral design.

• wire flowers correctly.

• make bows, puffs, corsages, table arrangements, and wreaths.


focal point


monochromatic color




color families


adjacent color scheme



complementary color scheme



triadic color scheme



polychromatic color scheme


color scheme


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The use of flowers in gardens and homes is well-documented through most of recorded history. As civilizations have evolved, flourished, and floundered, the use of flowers has appeared to parallel people’s attitudes toward civility, taste, art, and religion. Ancient Romans rewarded their national heroes with wreaths and garlands of flowers and laurel leaves. The Victorians in England, confident of their leadership in the world

and buoyed by a century of British rule, used flowers in complex masses in their gardens’ perennial borders and in their homes. Japan, isolated for centuries from the civilizations and religions of the Western world, regarded flowers as materials for spiritual expression. The oriental use of flowers is probably the most personal and intimate that the world has known.

Americans began by copying the uses familiar to their emigrant ancestors. Today, however, a distinctive American style of flower arrang­ing has evolved, which, if analyzed, would probably represent a mixture of the styles of many nations. Selecting the best from an assortment of influences, American floral design is now the worldwide pacesetter for stylized arrangements. We use flowers to express our joys and our sympathies.

Flowers highlight the key moments in our lives: the birth of a child, the holidays, the first dance, weddings, anniversaries, illnesses, and deaths. Such uses have been traditional for many years. In instances like these, most people turn to a professional florist to arrange the flowers. At other times, we arrange our own flowers. When a selection of blos­soms is cut from the garden, brought into the house, and placed into a vase, or a single bloom is selected to wear in the lapel of a suit or in the hair, the use of the flowers becomes much more personal. Flowers today serve as gifts to friends and business associates. They accompany our entertainments and reward our heroes, whether stars of theater, opera house, battlefield, or race track. They permit the most inarticulate among us to convey our feelings when words may be hard to find.

Updated: September 27, 2015 — 5:47 pm