We’re IN IT, people: summer greenery is super abundant, and we’re here to help when it comes to talking about how to use branches, grasses and greens, in arrangements or on their own.
Greenery is such an essential part of the anatomy of a floral arrangement. I think of greenery typically as the leaf-heavy element that enhances an arrangement but is not the star of the show—and “greenery” doesn’t always have to be green. Even when greenery is not used, the choice should be a very intentional decision as part of the overall aesthetic; non-greenery arrangements tend to be more expensive as it takes a lot more flowers to create fullness, but can have a totally striking and gorgeous effect.
Don't Forget Flowers!
When I first started designing, my mantra was "don't forget to use flowers," because I was so enamored with greenery and textures. Flowers were almost an afterthought, if you can believe it. Greenery can serve a variety of purposes, which is why we love it: it can create the overall shape of the arrangement, adding height, width, drama, or asymmetry; it can be used to create structure for arranging the rest of your bouquet. By weaving greenery stems from multiple directions, whether in a vase or hand tied, you can build a base of intertwined stems to support heavy blooms and hold everything in place. It can cover your vase-line or "mechanics," and fill holes or help bulk up your arrangement. It also acts as a nice backdrop—or frame—that helps enhance your blooms and make them pop even more. It can certainly add interest and beauty all on its own.
My tips for using greenery: limit the varieties of greens to about two or three at the most. If you're going to use more than one, they should each serve a different purpose and have enough contrast so they don't create visual chaos. If my flowers are variegated, I typically like my greenery leaves to be solid in color, and vice versa. Solid blooms may call for a more interesting variegated green. Typically, I like to start with an affordable, broad-leafed green as my backdrop and structure. I like this green to be full and lush with a solid dark or olive green hue and fairly large leaves—pittosporum is one of my current favorites. If I am going to use a second green, I like to wait until I've added my blooms so I know what my arrangement is in need of. I like this second green to add interest—as in, a variegated green, a tiny more textural leaf, or something that feels special, seasonal and eye-catching. One of my go-to's is grevillea. It has both green and red hues with a fern-like leaf shape. It does a great job of marrying pinks, reds, and other warm colors into the green of an arrangement. The shape also adds a lot of texture, and keeps arrangements from looking too basic. Another greenery I love is ninebark; it's a highly seasonal branch with maple-shaped leaves, and it comes in a bright chartreuse or a burgundy brown, often with bud, flower, or seed clusters. If I'm considering a third greenery type, I want it either to mimic my first base green, or add yet another element that the other two greenery types haven't. For example, I might add an oversized leaf like a palm or monstera leaf, or a stem of explosion grass at the end, for that extra magic and drama.
I recommend playing around with what you love, with varying colors and textures, and having fun with the process of finding what produces the particular aesthetic you’re looking for—it’s the right time and season to take advantage of all the growth and greenery that’s available to us!
As always, happy arranging.