The 123 on Floral Design
Line, Mass, and Filler Flowers
It's fascinating to know how different types of flowers and foliages are combined to
make beautiful bouquets. Flowers have distinct shapes, fragrances, and colors. In learning
about floral design, let nature and your own creative inspiration be your guide. And above
all, have fun!
Line flowers are tall, and as the name implies, give your bouquet height, width, and a
balanced look. Branches and tall foliage can serve as line flowers. Most line flowers have
buds growing up a center stalk.
Examples of line flowers are: gladiolus, liatris, snapdragon, delphinium, tuberose,
veronica, curly willow, bells-of-Ireland, stock.
Tip: Line flowers, by themselves, look striking when placed in a
tall cylindrical vase.
Mass flowers will give your bouquet weightor massand are generally round
and full faced. Sometimes they are referred to as "face" flowers. They are
usually the focal point of color and interest in a bouquet. Most mass flowers come with
only one flower on the end of the stem.
Examples of mass flowers are: rose, carnation, gerbera, sunflower, lily, daffodil,
tulip, iris, freesia, zinnia, alstroemeria, protea, chrysanthemum.
Tip: Mass flowers are a good choice for a simple, quick vase full
of flowers and are often sold in bunches.
Filler flowers (stems with a lot of little flowers) and foliage will round out your
bouquet and give it a soft, full look. Casual, fresh from-the-garden bouquets use an
abundance of filler flowers to visually connect mass and line flowers.
Examples of filler flowers and foliage are: baby's breath, feverfew, Queen Anne's lace,
ferns, heather, statice, eucalyptus, aster.
Tip: Just a few sprigs of filler flowers, alone in a vase, can
give a sense of simple elegance to any room, and many filler flowers are good candidates
Project #1: Loose Flowers in a Vase
- Fill your clean vase with water containing floral food.
- Strip stems so that no leaves will be covered by water.
- Cut stems to about twice the height of your vase, leaving several stems an inch or two
longer for the center of your bouquet.
- First insert stems of foliage and filler flowers. Criss-cross the stems as you insert
them in your vase. This will create a grid that will help hold other flowers in place.
- Starting at the rim of your vase and working toward the center, add other flowers,
spacing them as if they were points on a triangle.
- Place the longest stems in the center of your bouquet.
- Stand back and review your bouquet, making adjustments if needed.
Tip: Start with marbles or small pebbles in your vase for extra
stem support, or to simply give a favorite vase a new look.
Project #2: The Bud Vase
This simple design can bring the scent and beauty of flowers into every room of your
home. Plus it's an economical way to try out new and different flowers!
- Select a narrow necked vase and fill with water.
- Cut flower stem to about twice the height of your vase. Strip stem so that no leaves
will be covered by water. Place flower in vase.
- To give added support and beauty, add a stem or two of linear foliage or a curly twig.
- Last, to give your bud vase an elegant, balanced look, insert a few small leaves at the
rim of the vase.
Tip: Be imaginative with bud vases! Beautiful perfume bottles,
recycled spice jars, or antique apothecary bottles can all hold a stem or two of flowers.
Tip: Bud vases can make inexpensive, personalized gifts. Select a
favorite flower and place it in a "collectable" vase. Or to dress up a plain
vase, simply wrap a pretty ribbon around the neck.
Project #3: The Table Centerpiece
- Fill a low container or bowl with wet floral foam.
- Cut all flowers and foliage to the same length, leaving several stems an inch or two
longer for use in the middle of the arrangement.
- Starting from the middle of the foam, and working outward in a circular fashion, create
a "green foundation" by inserting foliage. The longest stems go in first.
- Next, repeat this process with your line and mass flowers, inserting the tallest flowers
first and working outward to a fan shape.
- Step back and look over your work. Make adjustments if desired.
- Last, insert filler flowers to connect all flowers into a pleasing arrangement.
Tip: Keep your arrangement under 16" tall so as not to
obstruct views across your dining table!
Tip: Stretch your flower purchase by cutting long multiflowered stems
into smaller sections.
Project #4: The Hand-Tied Bouquet
As the name implies, this bouquet is made while holding flowers in your hand. In
addition to an abundance of flowers and foliage, you'll need a 24" length of twine,
ribbon or raffia to complete this bouquet.
- Start by stripping leaves from the lower half of all stems.
- Throughout the process in making a hand-tied bouquet, hold flowers and foliage midway up
the stems between your thumb and index finger.
- Pick up one flower and one foliage stem. Begin by placing one stem directly on top of
the other at about a 45-degree angle.
- Continue adding stems of flowers and foliage at an angle, building your bouquet in a
clockwise fashion. Keep your hand relaxeddon't choke your flowers!
- Place similar colors across from one another to create a burst of color.
- When you have a handful of flowers, bind with twine or ribbon at the point where your
hand is holding the bouquet.
- To secure binding, pull the twine up through the bottom stems and tug gently.
- Last, trim stems evenly.
Tip: Wrap your bouquet loosely in colored tissue paper for a
spectacular gift presentation.