In a Vase on Monday

This post doesn’t strictly follow the rules, but I’m excited to have a contribution to In a Vase on Monday, a meme initiated by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and popular among blogging friends.

Last week, I attended a workshop by Marty Van Allen, a renowned floral designer and 2009 winner of the Garden Club of America’s Katharine Thomas Cary Medal. After demonstrating various designs, Marty coached participants in making a “modern mass” arrangement. This type of design requires a plain, stout container and features blocks of color and texture, rather than a mix of stems.

My first "modern mass" arrangement.

My first “modern mass” arrangement.

Florist roses were provided, but participants were asked to bring an array of foliage and berries from their garden. Not knowing what would be required, I took clippings of nearly everything that was presentable! In the end, I used the foliage of cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), folded and secured into a loop; pink lorepetalum (Loropetalum chinensis ‘Burgundy’); gold dust aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’); plus unripe, green berries of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica).

Seen from above, the arrangement features florist roses along with foliage and berries from my garden.

Seen from above, the arrangement features florist roses along with foliage and berries from my garden.

Marty noted that no more than five types of color/texture blocks should be used and their shape should be amorphous. The goal is to create rhythm with movement of the eye from one group to the next.

In addition to the low, wide-rim vase used for the workshop, Marty also created a modern mass arrangement in a nearly round vessel with a (roughly) 5-inch diameter opening at top. With a little imagination, it’s easy to see this contemporary style of massing could be adapted to nearly any simply shaped, portly container.

The big takeaway, however, is the exciting knowledge that I can make arrangements with foliage from my shady garden along with summer’s hydrangeas and winter’s camellias, or a small addition from the florist shop.

15 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday

  1. Gloria Ballard

    Very pretty! And a good reminder of how to use leaves and berries in the arrangement. I never would have thought of folding leaves to make that visual element.

    Reply
  2. Cathy

    That’s a lovely idea, using a bowl instead of a vase…. I shall definitely have to try that out. 🙂 The unusual foliage of the Aucuba really accentuates the pretty colour of the rose. This would look lovely with only leaves and berries actually.

    Reply
  3. Cathy

    So glad to have you are joining in – and you have already discovered that is is not all about flowers, although I have learned through blogging that there is always something in flower somewhere in the garden every day of the year! All contributors to the meme have been learning from, and inspiring, each other – it’s been really empowering 🙂 Love those nandina berries…

    Reply

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