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Accenting Your Fall Arrangements With Ornamental Gourds

a href=””>There are so many wonderful touches that can be added to a fall flower arrangement. This time of year brings an abundance of natural touches, from acorns to gorgeous fall foliage to using ornamental gourds as accents or in some cases as the vase itself. In fact, there are a number of videos for sale right here that give you all the details you need to create lovely arrangements with ornamental gourds and pumpkins.

Using ornamental gourds to accent your arrangements gives you the chance to not only add in some great fall colors, but also some textures as well. There are so many places you can pick up ornamental gourds, from your grocery store to your local greenhouse and you can even grown them yourself. Ornamental gourds are generally 3 to 5 inches around and not over a foot in length. They come in a wide variety of colors, textures and shapes as you can see by the picture to the left.

Some of the most readily available gourds include:

Apple – This is a white gourd, round and about the size of an apple

Crown of Thorns – This gourd is either cream colored or green stripped. It is oblong in shape and has a ring of thorns around the blossom end. It is also known as the Finger Gourd or Ten Commandments.

Nest Egg or just Egg – This gourd is approximately the size of a hen’s egg and was traditionally used to replace eggs in the nest to trick hens.

Flat – This green striped gourd is button shaped and usually about 3 inches in diameter.

Orange – Like the Apple Gourd above, this one also mimics the size and shape of an orange.

Pear – This gourd is available in white or green striped versions and is also named for the fruit that it resembles.

Spoon – This gourd is one of the larger variety of ornamental gourds. Shaped like a dipper, it is a vivid yellow and green in color. Because of the shape, it can be used as a doll’s head or split in half and hollowed out to resemble spoons.

Warty – This particular gourd is most often orange in color and of course, named for it’s texture.

Chrysanthemums – Autumn’s Prom Queen

One of the first flowers of fall to burst into color is the Chrysanthemum or Mum as it is commonly known. The Mum with 13 different bloom types divided into two different style categories is so versatile you will be able to incorporate this traditional fall flower into almost any arrangement you create for the season.

Mums have a wide range of colors, including white and off-white, yellows ranging from a bright sunny color to gold to a dark bronze. Reds run from pink all the way to burgundy. And there are even lavender and purple mums. The most popular mum of all is the “Decorative”. This is the flower that we all immediately think of when it comes to Mums. A heavily packed flower with long broad petals. The center disk is almost completely hidden amid the thick petals.

Like several of the other flowers I have talked about lately, the Mum is also made up of small individual flowers or florets and a disk flower. Floret and disk flower arrangements determines what bloom category a mum falls in. The blooms can be daisy-like, decorative, pompons or buttons. Pompons are a double bloom variety, smaller than the decorative Mum and almost globe shaped.

Chrysanthemums are associated with a number of sentiments, which makes them a popular flower to give or put into an arrangement. For instance, red mums convey love. White mums symbolize loyal love and truth and yellow mums are often taken to mean slighted love.

September’s Blue Beauty–The Aster

AstersAlso called Starworts, Frost Flowers or Michaelmas Daisies, the colorful Aster is the September birth flower. Asters are actually made up of very small tubular flowers attacked to a central disk, much like Sunflowers are. They are also close related to the Chrysanthemum and considered one of the classic flowers of fall. The disk flower is usually a different color than the tubular flower, creating the illusion that all of these individual little flowers are actually one.

One of the few naturally occurring blue flowers, Asters also can be found in white, red pink, purple, and lavender, usually with yellow centers. Asters usually bloom in the late summer and into fall. The leaves of the Aster are dark green and generally long, thin and pointed very much like the tubal portion of the flower itself. There are nearly 250 species of Aster. The China Aster is the most common of these and the one primarily used by florists.

Arrangement Ideas-Bubble Bowls

Bubble bowls are becoming more and more popular. This style of vase is also known as a fish bowl or rose bowl and range from about 5 1/2″ to 16″ in diameter and make a great container for shot stem arrangements. I’ve done several videos using these versatile vases and the results are always just so wonderful.

Because they are wider in the middle than at the mouth, bubble bowls are great for creating the perfect rounded shape. Being shorter in height, they are wonderful for dinner party or wedding reception table centerpieces allowing your guests to see and talk to each other. This type of vase also lends itself well to using water beads or decorative river rock with your arrangements. And best of all, you can find them at any craft store and they are very inexpensive.

The Heavenly Scent of Lavender

Did you know that Lavender is actually a member of the mint family? This lovely flowering herb is extremely popular. In addition to being known for its heavenly scent, the Lavender plant is also very lovely. There are over 36 varieties of Lavender that are available and they are generally broken down as English and Non-English varieties. I love using lavender in arrangements, not only because I love the gorgeous purple color, but because it also gives height to an arrangement and helps draw the eye upward to the beauty of the entire arrangement.

But there are variations of Lavender that are not purple. For instance, non English varieties of Lavender include Yellow lavender and the French Grey blooms along with the more traditional purple color. The blooms of these varieties are generally pineapple shaped. Traditional English Lavender varieties have much more delicate blossoms, tiny flowers on stems and tend to be in the light lavender to dark purple color families.

All lavender varieties are scented and are used in everything from soaps to oils and even in teas. Dried Lavender retains it scent and can be used in sachets as well as floral arrangements. And for centuries, the scent of Lavender has been used for its calming and soothing qualities.

A Little Bit Country–Black Eyed Susans

Black Eyed Susans are a wonderful bright splash of summer color. These vividly yellow flowers with their distinctive dark centers are the state flower of Maryland where they can be found growing along roadsides and in open fields. Actually considered a wild flower, these yellow daisy like flowers can grow up to 2-3 inches wide and have a sturdy stem with oval leaves.

Black Eyed Susans can actually have centers that are red or green in addition to the dark purplish brown one. Also known as Brown Betties, Brown Daisy or Gloriosa Daisy. They are available from July through the end of August. These gorgeous flowers are perfectly at home in almost any setting. Pair them up with some sweet gingham ribbon trim and you’ve got the makings of a perfect country theme centerpiece. Dress them up with richly colored velvety textured trim and they suddenly become something exotic.

Members of the sunflower family, they have a fabulous vase life in prime conditions they can last up to 10 days. This makes them perfect for an arrangement to be used as a gift so that your recepient will get to enjoy their beauty for a long time. Because of their sturdy stems, they work well in any arrangement style and will provide support for other flowers around them. They are native to the United States and grow east of the Rockies.

Stem Balancing Act

When creating your designs and choosing your gorgeous flowers, there is one very important thing to remember, each flower you chose has a particular type of stem and you need to make sure that those stems are treated so that your flowers stay fresh and beautiful for as long as possible. The one thing that I always recommend with any type of stem is to give it a fresh cut, a dip in quick dip (or other hydrating liquid) and then place it in tepid water for about 2 hours. After that, they should be stored in a cooler overnight. There are five general stem types, soft, firm, woody, hollow & bleeding.

Most spring flowers have a very soft stem and some of them actually give off a sap that will cause other flowers to wilt faster. Tulips and Gerbera Daisies are just two examples of soft stemmed flowers. Flowers with soft stems will need some extra support when creating your arrangements and are not really recommended for bouquets because they will droop. If you really want to use them in your bouquets, plan on wiring and taping them.

Carnations and orchids are examples of flowers with a firm stem. Making sure to give them a fresh cut is very important to avoid getting an airlock in the stem that will prevent water from getting up the stem and to the blossom. In order to prevent bacteria growth, you should remove the foliage from the stem area that will be under water.

Woody stemmed flowers, such as lilacs or flowering branches and shrubs should also get a fresh cut once they are received. Roses and Azaleas also fall into this group. You should remember to make sure to trim the and lower foliage that would be under the water line as well.

Hollow stemmed flowers such as dahlias and delphiniums can sometimes have problems taking in water once their stems are cut. Using the angle cut as recommended for all stems will help by giving a larger surface for water to enter into the stem. Misting the blossoms can also help provide water.

Poinsettias, daffodils and poppies have what is known as a bleeding stem. A bleeding stem will give off a milky sap when cut and it is recommended to use gloves when working with these kinds of stems just to avoid any allergic reaction. One way that you can treat flowers with a bleeding stem is to sear the ends with a candle and then placing the sealed stem into a bucket with tepid water. Daffodils should be prepared and placed in a bucket all by themselves as their sap can cause problems with other flowers while they are being conditioned.

Let your imagination run wild

One of the nicest things about using clear glass vases is that it gives you the opportunity to add some great touches to your arrangement. Whether you are planning to use a bubble bowl like I talked about earlier this week or are planning to use a tall stately glass vase, there are literally hundreds of different things you can use to help secure your flower stems into place and create an added splash of color.

River rocks are very popular. Available in a wide variety of earth tones, these polished stones work very well with almost any type of vase you are planning to use. Readily available in every craft store and department store with a silk flower section, river rocks come in three general sizes, small, medium and large. River rocks also work well to help secure your arrangements into place.

Glass and acrylic beads are also a very popular way to add color and pizazz to your arrangements. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Like river rock, glass beads and shapes depending on their size will also help support your arrangement in the bottom of the vase. Most acrylic beads are usually added for splashes of color. Their lighter weight will not always support heaver stemmed flowers so they’re used more for their decorative appearance that as additional flower support. Acrylic and glass beads are also available in a variety of gem shapes, which make them just perfect for a wedding reception or romantic dinner at home.

Shells, marbles, wood slices, just about anything you can think of can be used to create a unique setting for your arrangements. I have actually even used broken windshield glass with spectacular results.

Check out our Starter Kit!

Flower Arranging 101 is proud to announce that we are now offering a fantastic Starter Kit. This kit comes complete with all the tools you will need to get started on creating your own beautiful arrangements just like the ones in our videos.

Everything offered in our Starter Kit is professional grade and include tools that are not readily available in the retail market.

Your starter kit comes with everything you will need to get started making your own floral arrangements. Including:

  • Clippers
  • Scissors
  • Florist Knife
  • ¼” Clear bowl tape
  • 1 roll ¼” green bowl tape
  • 1 roll ½” green bowl tape
  • 1 roll Light Green Corsage Tape
  • 1 roll Dark Green Corsage Tape
  • Rose Stem Stripper
  • 20 pieces each of 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 gauge wire
  • 1 16 oz Quick Dip Bottle
  • 1 32 oz Finishing Touch Mister
  • 10 oz of Crystal Clear Fresh Flower Food
  • 1 tube Floral Adhesive

This wonderful kit will not only help you re-create all the arrangements I’m sharing here, but to allow you to express your own creativity!

Glorious Greens!

You can design the most beautiful flower arrangement imaginable, but without the right greenery choice, it could fall flat. Think of greenery as if it were a picture frame, complimenting your arrangement. Color, shape and size are all very important factors when selecting the right greenery for your arrangements.

Color-Just because it’s called greenery does not mean that it is always green. Dusty Miller is a lovely silver grey color. Eucalyptus leaves are available in orange and red as well as a silvery green. Canna leaves are a lovely chocolate brown with a hint of green. A number of fillers can be purchased dyed. And the greens can range from yellow-green all the way to extremely dark green, depending on the type of greenery selected.

Shape and Size-This is very important to make sure that you have the correct balance between blossoms and greenery. You would not want to put large leaves with dainty flowers, such as daisies.

Vase Life – Greenery,unfortunately does not have the longest shelf life. If you are using leaves from your own garden, the best thing to do run a test by placing the cut greenery in a vase by itself to see how long it lasts. Greenery purchased from your local florist has already been chosen for a longer vase life so it can be a better choice.

Seasonal – Most greenery is available year round and will look work with any arrangement. You will, however want to avoid using evergreens, holly or autumn leaves except during the fall and winter season.

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