Friday, May 15, 2009

flowers 101: topiary

a couple weeks ago we made rose topiaries in my floral design class. they were so cute and a lot of fun and actually were really quite simple. we all planned to give them to our mom's for mother's day. it was a great idea. every mom would love it. however, i didn't keep mine alive so well and didn't fancy up the pot like i had planned to. so when i woke up mother's day morning and raced around the house to get out the door, i decided to leave it because it wasn't looking it's BEST. my mom was sad when i told her about it. she said, "i'm sure it's beautiful, i would have loved it." and it's true, she would have. i don't know what got into me, i should have taken it but i didn't. now i'll just have to make her another one...a better one. a prettier one. one i remember to keep alive. :)

these little guys would make great centerpieces for a shower! our topiaries were on the smaller side with only 5 roses, but you could really beef them up and do 10 roses or even 15 carnations. how chic is that?

if you want to give it a try, this is all you need:

fresh flower oasis soaked(1/2 brick depending on container)
sealed container (terra cotta pot with lined-floral foil on the inside or a ceramic pot)
5-10 roses (or flower of your choice. just remember, it must be strong stemmed)
1 piece of curly willow (i would actually like a few pieces of curly willow myself)
1 small piece of twine
several pieces of rafia
spagnum moss
1 thin piece of floral wire

basically, you fill a sealed pot (so the water does not drain out) with oasis. normally the oasis sits about a 1/2 inch above the pot when doing an arrangement, but with a topiary, you want the oasis flush with the top of the pot or even a bit lower because eventually you are going to fill the top with moss and you don't want it falling out.

typically you trim roses at a diagonal because they have strong woody stems. however, for topiaries you want to cut the bottom of the stems as straight as possible, that way they stick straight up in the oasis.

next, you pick your straightest rose to be the center and tallest flower. while holding the rose, slowly add the other roses into your hand, placing them evenly around the tallest/straightest rose. once you think it is even, tie the bouquet with a small piece of twine at the neck of the roses in order to keep them secure.

(see that droopy little rose up there? sad little thing. so you know, the rose is NOT supposed to droop like that. this topiary was a week old and the roses were several weeks old. it should last longer then that if you water it and take care of it.)

the third step is the only step you have to be careful on... take the bouquet of roses, find the middle of the oasis, and push all of the stems down until you get the desired height you are after. you only get ONE shot at this! do NOT take the stems out of the oasis once you have put them in or else you will have a huge hole and the oasis will be unusable. in other words, take your time, pick the best spot and then stick those stems in with all you've got! NEVER LOOKING BACK! :) (ok, it's really not THAT big of a deal, but you get the idea).

once your stems are in, you're good. now it's the fun stuff. take a piece of curly willow, stick it in the oasis near the stems of the roses and wrap it up and around the topiary. as you can see, i wanted my curly willow to peek out the top of the roses...that is because i like silly things like that. most everyone else hid their curly willow between the roses. do whatever you want with it! just make sure that the curly willow wraps up and down the stems the same way. do not criss-cross the curly willow.

take your few pieces of rafia, make a handheld bow leaving a long end so that you can wrap it around the stems at the same angle of the curly willow. once you have the bow attached and the rafia wrapped around the stems, take the small floral wire bend it in to a U shape and place it over the tail of the rafia and stick directly into the oasis. this doesn't have to be fancy, it's just to ensure your rafia is secure.

lastly, take the spagnum moss and submerge into water for a couple minutes. take it out of the water and begin pulling it apart and playing with it. start placing it on top of the oasis and pressing into holes where you need to. it is very important to use spagnum moss for this arrangement as it is the only moss that is alive.

pretty darn simple and really cheap. especially if you have terra cotta pots laying around your cute to have these as centerpieces at a shower or party and let people take them? i know i would love it.

1 comment:

themom said...

I DO love it! I am glad I get to enjoy it in "picture!" It's beautiful!