Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Branches and Berries in Floral Designs

Branches and Berries in Floral Designs

***This is the fourth article in a series of 100 articles on floral design and running a flower shop.

The use of natural branches in floral arranging can give dramatic effects. Natural branches include manzanita, birch, curly willow, red twig dogwood, witch hazel, and blooming tree branches. Sierra Manzanita has a wonderful bonsai look that is great alone or within arrangements. Each is different, giving its own look and representing different seasons of the year. Branches can be used in floral designs or in a vase all by themselves. The one good thing about purchasing branches are most of them are everlasting, not perishable, as much of the flora with which we work.
When adding branches to designs, the potential is boundless. I love to go into the mountains and find natural green moss covered branches. I use these in live plant basket gardens. Also, little replicas of birds in a nest can be perched on the branches for a woodlands look. Very curly willow can be used to add height to green plants or fresh and silk arrangements. These branches can be left natural can be sprayed any color of your choice. Glitter can be applied to the branches for a festive effect. 

Very unique pieces of wood include the natural sanded grapeseed branch. Each piece of sanded grapeseed displays knots and very nice wood grain. This is also a very gnarled piece of wood with lots of twists and turns. Small forest animals, moss, birds and eggs are appropriate accents.

Branches with berries on them are some of my favorites. They are so versatile. Natural huckleberry branches with faux red berries can be bought from your wholesaler. These branches are perfect in wreaths and container designs. Pyracantha berries are also a good choice for much of the year. They can be grown in a home landscaping. The berries on the pyracantha range from orange to dark brown. Their orange to brown color makes them wonderful for fall designs. 

The hypernicum berry branch is a stem with olive green berries to darkish brown. Hypernicum berries combined with preserved oak leaves and cattails, are also spectacular choices for an autumn design. Hypernicum berries have also become popular in bridal bouquets. Stems with berries can either be bought in the fresh, natural form, dried or artificial variety that is extremely realistic. Do not forget about responsibly gathering materials from the outdoors.

Natural branches can be placed in buckets, baskets, or crates and draped with white lights. This type of preparation makes a fascinating display piece for your shop, exhibit window, or event where drama is needed. Flexible and easy to use, artificial branches and berries can be arranged and rearranged for all kinds of events. 

In the springtime, flowering branches are readily available. Forsythia, cherry branches, pussy willow, apple blossoms, and crab apple stems. These branches are not extremely long lasting. They do have a series of buds and blossoms making the blooming power longer. There is nothing more attractive, says that spring is coming than a vase of forsythia. Look around your yard and your neighborhood for flowering branches as well.

Branches and berries can be used in upscale designs to everyday natural, country creations. Large bunches of branches and berries tied with lots of natural raffia strewn throughout your shop are terrific accent pieces. A large bunch of branches or berries can be bought from your local wholesaler for about $5.00-$8.00. A bunch goes a long way. Using berries and branches in your designs is a way to distinguish your shop from the mass marketers. Natural materials such as these give your store unique character and personality.

Set of 6 Pre-Lit 36" White Berry Branch Sprays With Clear Lights #179944 

Pack of 12 Holly & Berries Decorative Silk Berry Christmas Branches 28" 

24 pieces of 21" Hand Wraped Artificial Berry Sprays with Berries 

18" Myrtle Wreath with Dried Flowers 

Frontier Chamomile Flowers, German Whole Certified Organic, 16 Ounce Bag 

Flower Press Kit for Microwave Ovens- 9" x 9" 

Malcolm Hillier's Guide to Dried Flowers 

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