Floral design, or floral arts is the art of creating flower arrangements in vases, bowls, baskets or other containers. It may also include the making of bouquets and compositions from cut flowers. People have been using flowers to lift their spirits for hundreds of years. Studies have show that even the view of a flower, or tree can lift the mood and help an ailing body recover. There are definitely benefits to health by just being near to them.
There have been studies at Rutgers University (USA) where they found that flowers had an immediate impact on levels of happiness, in all age groups. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. In particular, the study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction. Flowers can also allow intimate connections. The presence and use of flowers led to increased contact with family and friends.
‘Flowers bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room’ said Dr. Haviland-Jones. ‘They make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere’. This is applicable to homes, offices, hospitals or anywhere where people tend to gather. This may also be applied to outdoor spaces, but in this instance we have our native wild flowers with their abundance of colour and natural beauty to enjoy.
In the hay fields and surrounding woods and paths at Clue Hill Farm we have an abundance of wild flowers. This is primarily due to the fact that there have been no chemicals used there for the past 28 years and that the sheep are our wonderfully efficient natural lawn movers during the winter months, which prepares the hay fields so that they can burst into an amazing pallet of colours as they mature and grow during the months of May and June. There has been an amazing crop of buttercups this year, which looks stunning in the sunshine.
We have the following wild flowers on natural display at the moment: buttercup, wood anemone, bee orchid, red campion, red clover, rosebay willow herb, dandelion, bird’s foot trefoil, yellow iris, yellow archangel, bugle, yellow rattle to name but a few.
Wild flowers do not really last when brought indoors and also, should not really be picked. They are better left in the natural environment, for us to enjoy and for bees and insects to make use of. For floral arrangements, the use of natural materials such as mosses, lichens, bark and small branches can really enhance a few garden flowers giving that back-to-nature feel.
Our Gift Flowers and Floristry Techniques Workshop is specifically designed to make use of these natural materials that can be harvested sustainably from Clue Hill Farm. Caroline Wilson and Hazel Harmanour workshop tutors, are passionate about the use of nature’s fruits and have both had many years in the floristry trade where they have practiced this art.
Some of the floristry tips that are being offered at this workshop are:
– ensure that your flowers are as fresh as possible when you get them. Even after they are in the vase, the freshest flowers will continue to open up and live fully until the end of their lifespan.
– whilst growing, flowers need water and sunlight, but after they are cut that’s not entirely the case – sunlight plays a vital role in growth, not necessarily in lifespan. In fact, too much heat will restrict the absorption of water, so a hot windowsill in the midday sun may not be such a good idea. Equally, avoid putting them near radiators or fires, or even microwaves. Overnight it is a good idea to put your flowers in the coolest part of the house to ensure that they do not get too warm. It is also crucial not to place them in a draught, or near a door.
– to maximise water absorption, put your flowers in warm water, not cold when they arrive. Warm water is easier to absorb and will ensure that the flowers stay fresh. Be vary of adding too much water – flowers only absorb through the bottom of the stem, so only an inch or two needs to be submerged. Ideally, cut your stems across and keep them as short as you can. Shorter stems means the water does not have as far to travel and will make a difference in lifespan.
‘A successful person is not necessarily someone with a lot of money and material goods, but rather someone who is in tune with people and knows how to touch their hearts. I can think of no other item besides flowers that evokes such positive feelings and perceptions for both the giver and the recipient’ M.J. Ryan author of the Random Acts of Kindness books series.