Harvest Flower Arrangements

Harvest Flower Arrangements

Any kind of occasion in autumn provides an excuse to give decorations a harvest touch. Flowers and fruit look so well together. At one time much ingenuity had to be employed to get an apple or whatever to stay just as you wanted it, but now usually all you have to do is push it firmly into a piece of foamed plastic. You may find that it is best to arrange the fruit first. It is always simpler to push a stem away out of sight and to curve a flower around than it is to lower several fruits down into the centre of a group of flowers so that they look attractive and at ease.

If the arrangement is only intended to last a little while there is no harm in the fruit being in contact with moisture, and when this is the case the same block of plastic which supports one can succour the other. Often you will need to arrange the fruit and maybe even the flowers and foliage on different planes. You can elevate them by using blocks of OASIS, although these need not be very thick. One can be anchored to another quite firmly by pushing a cane, twig or cocktail stick down through one to the other. Any joins and subterfuges of this nature can be hidden by the flowers.

Much depends upon the nature of the arrangement and sometimes the fruits have to be positioned after arranging the flowers. Various means can be used to lift and support them. Sometimes individuals, an apple or a gourd turned so that its attractive centre is facing forward, can be held and properly displayed in a circular object such as a napkin ring. Pastry cutters are also good for this purpose. The support can be hidden by a leaf or by some other similar means. At other times I have used a piece of clean, dry bark or cork laid across the rim of the container. Often fruits are mounted and arranged separately like the flowers.

Florist’s wires and even pipe cleaners are useful sometimes for the actual stem, in which case they have to be long enough to pass two or three times round the stem of the subject being arranged and then go down deep into the container. However, these are sometimes just not heavy enough to anchor themselves properly and this is particularly the case when a large bunch of grapes is being arranged. A length of cane can come to your aid here or some stout twig. The bunch can be tied, wired or taped to this. Just bear in mind that the weightier the material to be mounted the more rigid must be the false stem which supports it.

Making a ‘double leg’: So much depends upon whether or not the fruit being used has a stem or leaf-stalk. Where this exists, even if it is quite short it is sometimes possible to splice a false stem onto it. But often this little stem becomes detached after arrangement. Because of this the whole fruit has to be wired instead by passing a wire through it from one side to the other. It is best to do this in such a way that the wire is not conspicuous. As a rule you can pass it through quite well some little way above its natural stem area. The method is to leave roughly equal lengths of wire protruding on each side. These are then known as ‘double legs’ or ‘double mounts’. The wires are then brought down as close as possible to the surface of the fruit and then twisted together directly below it, again as close to the surface as possible. Sometimes these two wires together will be firm enough to act as a stem, but should this not be the case they can be twisted around a cane or taped to it. Adjust the angle at which you want the fruit to be displayed before inserting the stem and make any other small adjustments after it is in position.

Quite often, and especially if the arrangement is not expected to last for a long time, it is possible to insert the wires or even a thin stiff cane into the base of the fruit, roughly at the point where its stem should be. If the fruit is heavy you may need to treat two or more wires held close together as a single wire. Cocktail sticks can be used for this purpose in arrangements where only short stems are necessary. Sometimes you can insert the wire or the cane up through the centre of a short petiole, like that of an artichoke for instance. If you use thick wires for this instead of canes you will be able to bend them to make the fruit face your required direction after it has been mounted. The ‘double leg’ technique is used in floristry for various other purposes such as mounting leaves.

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