Lisa Alary, CAFA, is the owner of Fleur-de-Lise, a wedding and events design company in St. Albert, Alberta. She studied printmaking at the Alberta College of Art + Design and has 17 years of experience in the floral industry. Alary considers herself a bit of a "design chameleon," drawing on a number of different design styles. Much like the artists she's studied and admired, she enjoys turning convention on its ear - in a tasteful and beautiful way. When she isn't thinking about flowers (which isn't often), she's probably spending time with her husband and their five-year-old son. But she's probably thinking about flowers.

Taking palette cues from the flowers themselves via natural colour gradations of their petals and markings in their throats and stems (versus strictly adhering to rigid colour wheel-based schemes) can link blooms that might otherwise seem odd bedfellows. Likewise, exploiting textural contrasts and playing those differences against one another can actually narrow any gap. It becomes less about the individual blooms and more about the overall statement.

The old rules of harmony are being challenged. Once upon a time, we would only design exotics in clean contemporary containers. We’d never dare put elegant blooms in a dusty brown jug! But today, eclecticism is the hot ticket in floral design. Varying the detailing, accents, and vessels can take the same bucket full of blooms into so many unique directions.

 Growler craft beer bottles, fresh hops, prairie wheat, and millet welcome exotic orchids and romantic roses into their fold. These rustic elements give flowers that might feel far too formal for the beer hall a laid-back—yet chic—feel.

Move over, floral prints and patterns! Flowers in fashion are going 3-D. Flowers to wear have busted out from the conventional corsages and boutonnieres. Blooms are deconstructed in this dramatic necklace, which uses a birch base and millet “chain.”

Temperate blooms partner with exotic orchids and pincushion proteas in an elegant cascade bouquet. Ideal for the on-trend bride, this celebrates a passion of textile and fibre arts by incorporating hand-dyed yarn around an artful tangle of wire that runs through the bouquet.

An old pickle crock was a chance find while rooting around in the family storage room. Its monolithic physical and visual heft, paired with strong lines, takes a softer and feminine colour palette into a believable masculine arrangement with the help of sturdy birch poles and dark foliage.

Clean parallel groupings of flowers and foliage could come off as rigid and a bit static, but the repetition of aluminum wire swirl accents and coloured corsage pins inserted in cut lengths of equisetum lighten up this design with a hint of playfulness.

Flowers and fruit have been natural pairs since the beginning of time. Midollino adds a dynamic line and movement. And the strong geometric container takes an old Flemish/Baroque sensibility in a fresh modern direction. The apple accents can be removed and used for smaller accompaniment pieces (pictured) or could double as fun favours for guests.

The curly willow armature and lightly perched mini cymbidium blooms allow the eye to dance between these twinned arrangements of robust blooms. They energize the composition by creating negative space and rhythm.

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Katie Hendrick
Katie Hendrick is the editor-in-chief of Canadian Florist.
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