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How to: arrange flowers

I love the look of flowers picked straight from the garden and casually arranged in a charming jug, jar, urn, vase - even a bucket.

But when I pick a posy from my garden and aim for a natural aesthetic with casual grace, my arrangement looks not so much just-picked as just-plonked! So I asked Sonya Gardiner for help and these are her tips - the 5 Fs of Fabulous Flower Arranging.

Images by Luisa Brimble


I love the look of flowers picked straight from the garden.


1. Forage

Sonya was very complimentary about my garden. ‘You can’t go wrong with the ingredients you have grown here,’ she said, and advised me to keep to a limited colour palette and not go overboard by picking too many different things. Three to five floral ingredients will do it she said, picking lilies, kangaroo paw, drumstick allium, flannel flowers and agastache and adding rosemary and banksia foliage.


Forage for flowers.


2. Foliage

Ground the arrangement by using foliage to set a structure. Make a strong diagonal or triangle-shaped structure, and add foliage that loops down below the top of the vessel to add movement to the arrangement.


Foliage sets structure.


3. Feathers

Add some soft textures that seem to float above the arrangement and will offer a contrast to the solidity of the main focus. Here it is kangaroo paw and agastache that add the feathery floaty look.


Feathers add soft textures.


4. Focus

Next add the focal points of your arrangement - the big showy flowers. These might be large rose, or dahlias, or in this case, my lovely ‘black’ lilies.These go front and centre in the jug.


Big showy flowers as focal points.


5. Fill in the gaps

Now add some friends to fill in the gaps, using smaller flowers in groups to give them some visual strength. Sonya grouped three allium blooms together and edged the jug with flannel flowers. Fabulous!

About this article

Author: Linda Ross