Durban - Petal for petal, the country’s best floral artists will compete for top medal honours in the Sunday Tribune Garden and Leisure Show floriate competition in Pietermaritzburg this weekend.
And renowned KZN floral artist, judge and teacher, Helen Bellew, is sharpening her secateurs and hoping to impress this year’s judges with a blooming good entry.
“After my first flower arranging lesson all those years ago, I was hooked,” says Bellew, who has been competing in flower artistry competitions for more than 35 years.
“Creating with flowers is a journey of love and passion that has become my life.”
For this accomplished crafter, checking out what grows locally has always been a source of inspiration when it comes to designing original displays for the home.
“In South Africa, we are so fortunate to have an abundance of plant material in our gardens. There is no limit to the amazing variety of colours, textures, shapes and fragrances you can add to an arrangement. Always be on the lookout for something of interest and enjoy what the changing seasons bring.”
Bellew shows how you can create a beautiful arrangement for your home.
Dare to be different
Use a rough earthy looking container in a “sand” colour to go with a mix of protea or strelitzia and succulents from the garden.
Combine textures – the protea and strelitzia have a rough texture and the succulents a smooth texture.
Fold and staple flat green leaves to give a different shape and form to the design
Add dried twigs for a fun element.
Thinking out of the box
One bunch gerbera (about 10)
Use two containers. Link them together with a grid made of green grass sticks (most home stores stock these), add lime green pipe cleaners for interest.
Pack Oasis to the level of the lip of the container and cover with moss.
Tie grass sticks together into small bundles with the lime green pipe cleaners.
Tie glass tubes on to the grid (most florists sell them). Between the two containers add gerbera. Add rest of gerbera to tall sticks so that the colour moves through the design. When the flowers have faded this design can be used several times just by adding different flowers.
In the pink
Use one bunch of pink roses (20 stems).
Pack Oasis (floral foam) into the container to the lip edge. Cover foam in moss. Cut rose stems short. Place in foam to follow the shape of the container.
Use upright greenery from the garden to add interest to the design.
Tips for a perfect arrangement
Oasis (floral foam):
Re-use if there are not too many holes. Wet and store in plastic bag to keep moist. If foam dries out it cannot be reused.
Use moss to hide mechanics used in the foam. This gives a cleaner look than trying to hide the foam with leaves. When buying moss, it is usually dried. Soak for a few minutes in warm water. It will fluff up and colour will be enhanced.
After use, dry in the sun and store. It can be used many times over.
When using branches or twigs with blooms on from the garden boil stems in water for about 20 minutes before use, then place in cold water – blooms will last longer.
When buying flowers, before using them in your design cut a few millimetres off the stems and put into water and add in flower food. Let them sit for about an hour before arranging – this will help prolong the life of the flowers.
Warm water helps tightly closed flower heads such as roses to open fully. Leave in water for a day or two before using them.
* The flower arranging demonstrations at the Sunday Tribune Garden and Leisure Show are on September 27 to 29 at 10am, noon and 2pm.
Contact Vaughn Harrington at 083 510 8792.
Where: Royal Showgrounds, in Pietermaritzburg
When: September 27 to 29, 9am to 5pm. Gate charges R50 per adult and R35 for children under 12 and pensioners. Contact 27 (0)33 345 6274. - Daily News