Photos by L.G. Patterson
Nothing freshens up a space quite like fresh flowers. Whether it’s a centerpiece meant to grab attention or a simple tableside arrangement to add a pop of color, flowers can make all the difference in any room.
Sherie Rodekohr has spent her entire career in horticulture, with more than 30 years teaching at Columbia Public Schools. She currently teaches floral and plant design at the Columbia Area Career Center, where she helps students learn the basics behind creating a beautiful arrangement.
If you’d like to try your hand at creating your own arrangement, there’s a few things you need to keep in mind. Rodekohr says there are four basic categories of flowers — line, form, mass and filler. Line flowers help establish the skeleton of the design, including its height and width, while form flowers will help create the focal points and are often the most unique and distinctive flowers. Mass flowers fill in the bulk of the design for the arrangement and fillers are used, as the name implies, to fill in any leftover gaps.
To start, you need to have an idea in mind of what you want the finished product to look like. Rodekohr uses what she calls the spring break anal- ogy with her students: If you’re going on spring break, the first thing you’re going to do is look at a map to decide where you’re going and how you’ll get there. But even Rodekohr knows that that can be a very difficult task. “Sometimes coming up with that idea is the hardest part,” she says.
If you’re struggling to come up with your concept, start by considering whether it will be a horizontal or vertical arrangement. Think about the purpose of the arrangement and any color scheme or theme that should be incorporated. And if you still need inspiration, turn to the internet for any number of examples.
Once you’ve got your design, you can get your flowers and start putting it all together. But don’t stress if it’s not coming together exactly like you envisioned. Rodekohr says if your design isn’t working out, just adjust as needed. “It could be that you can redo that design and just make it smaller or you need to go in a completely different direction,” she says. “Sometimes that’s when the best ideas come.”
No matter what type of arrangement you want to try, Rodekohr says just go for it. “Don’t be afraid to try new things,” she says. “It’s intimidating, I think, for new people to cut those stems off.” And while it’s true that you can only cut once, you can always adjust your original vision to come up with something beautiful in the end.