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Three tips on how to make your flower arrangements stand out

Three tips on how to make your flower arrangements stand out

Adding Pink Lady® apples to flower arrangements works remarkably well.

As the days get darker and colder, few things are better to bring life back into a home than fresh flowers, especially if they’re artfully arranged and with a twist.

Everyone knows spontaneous ideas can be the best ones yet, so when a friend strung up a discussion about what you can do with apples, and she blurted out ‘home decorations’ I thought – why not integrate fresh apples into a flower arrangement?

Incorporating Pink Lady® apples into flower arrangements sounds impossible? Just you watch.
Incorporating Pink Lady® apples into flower arrangements sounds impossible? Just you watch.

While I like flowers, I’m by no means talented enough to arrange them, so I needed some help from an expert; armed with a crate of Pink Lady® apples, I visited London-based florist Mig Kimpton.

Having won ten medals – three of which gold medals, the latest at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – at flower shows and having worked with various celebrities, he’s an expert in floral arrangements.

As I watch him set to work, I ask him about the most unusual thing he’s done since he started working with flowers.

‘I think I’ll have to say it’s this,’ he says.

Mig creates three arrangements, all incorporating apples and all a bit different – the first one immediately strikes me as a more formal, celebratory style.

Naturalistic, yet elegant and a bit more formal, the first arrangement treats the apples as the centerpiece.
Naturalistic, yet elegant and a bit more formal, the first arrangement treats the apples as the centerpiece.

Resting in a wooden basket-bowl-combination and offset against a crown of green salal and chorisia speciosa leaves, dusty pink hydrangeas, with their delicate flowers, pink roses and gardenias draw out the Pink Lady® apples’ colors in full.

 

Tip #1 for a home-made flower arrangements: the base

A good base is key for any arrangement; our expert uses floral foam, fitting snugly into and rising just a bit over the basket’s top edge.

It gives flowers and foliage hold, even when wet, and in the finished arrangement the flowers will hide the slightly raise edge.

When adding something like Pink Lady® apples into an arrangement, make sure they've got a good hold on your base.
When adding something like Pink Lady® apples into an arrangement, make sure they’ve got a good hold on your base.

To add elements without stems – like our Pink Lady® apples – carefully skewer them, but make sure the skewers can carry the weight: the apples in our arrangement are all secured with at least two skewers.

For the second arrangement, I ask for something more autumnal, seeing as the days are getting shorter and colder and the atmosphere slowly changes.

‘I’ll get some foliage for that,’ Mig says, while already heading out into the garden.

Bright flowers hold on to warmer days, while fresh foliage and Pink Lady® apples conjure up an idea of autumn.
Bright flowers hold on to warmer days, while fresh foliage and Pink Lady® apples conjure up an idea of autumn.

Truth be told, the arrangement – sitting in a stone goblet – beautifully balances the red and green leaves with light pink roses, white chrysanthemums and poppingly pink gerbera, making the Pink Lady® apples truly stand out.

‘I like to keep to seasonal varieties. Every season has its own flowers,’ he explains while popping the Pink Lady® apples on skewers before they are added to the nearly finished design.

‘The only flower I don’t like and refuse to work with is gysophila paniculata, or Baby’s Breath.’

 

Tip #2 for home-made flower arrangements: keep it natural

Tastes differ, but having spoken to Mig – and through an informal poll amongst friends and family – sprayed or unnaturally-colored flowers are growing less popular.

Even without artificially coloring them, the arrangement's pinks and whites beautifully compliment the Pink Lady® apples' bright tones.
Even without artificially coloring them, the arrangement’s pinks and whites beautifully compliment the Pink Lady® apples’ bright tones.

Natural colors, like the various shades of pinks we used – from dusty-pink hydrangea to white chrysanthemums, support and draw out other colors, like those of our Pink Lady® apples.

In a globalized world, it’s easy to get summer flowers in winter, but keeping to seasonal varieties will keep your arrangement in line with the season’s overall atmosphere and color scheme.

As we head for the third arrangement, Mig, who spent 30 years working in theatre and has worked with celebrities including Ian McKellen and Sir Elton John, decides to make it ‘a bit wacky’ and unusual.

Separating the Pink Lady® apples makes the different colors pop even more.
Separating the Pink Lady® apples makes the different colors pop even more.

Sitting in a white vase, the Pink Lady® apples are resting on a base of purple hydrangea – or rather, float in a sea of the delicate blooms, as our florists decides to spread them out rather than group them together.

Watching him work, I notice one thing: while they all look different, he seems to follow the same pattern for each arrangement.

 

Tip #3 for home-made flower arrangements: turn it into a three-step process

Once your floral foam is fitted, start building a basic structure for your arrangement – most often in the form of greenery – to create a basis for step two; consider contours and structure to make sure your arrangement has its maximum effect.

Points of focus: not just Pink Lady® apples, but all special elements should be added towards the end.
Points of focus: not just Pink Lady® apples, but all special elements should be added towards the end.

Then, add your points of focus, in our case the Pink Lady® apples; this way, you can see how the different elements work together and make sure the highlight of your arrangement is not overshadowed by something you intended to form the base.

Step three is the filler, for example in the form of Lily Grass or China grass, to add movement and give the piece its finishing touches.