Lovely Living Arrangements

I have always been drawn to live plant arrangements.  An orchid nestled in among ferns and tendrils of ivy, an earthy collection of succulents, a kitchen herb garden…. But, I never could make them look just right or live long.  At our last photo shoot Katherine (our clever Creative Director) taught me the secret to success that she learned from her friend Rena, a master gardener and gifted floral arranger.

It’s all in the baggies, folks!  Simply take the plants out of their containers, shake off a little excess dirt and break your roots up a bit then place in a zip top baggie.  This allows you to pot up plants that require different levels of water.  I find the baggies act like a terrarium and plants need less water altogether (even better).  It also makes space for more plants, because you don’t have as much dirt to contend with.   The best part?  You can easily re-arrange the plants if they just aren’t “sitting right” in the container or swap out something that doesn’t quite have the stamina of the rest.  Re-planting elsewhere is a breeze.

To create an arrangement that is balanced, think in threes.  Three different plants.  Three different shapes (large leaves, curling tendrils, tight buds).  Three different heights.  Three different shades (look for variegation in leaves or interesting blooms).  (Of course, you can use more than three, but you have to start somewhere!).  I always look for something tall and eye catching as my anchor plant.  Most often I start with a plant that is blooming.  The anchor plant goes in first.  Next I tuck in my medium sized plants.  My go-to is ferns.  There are so many gorgeous, full ferns that really fill out an arrangement.  Finally, I add the short plants to give the arrangement interest.  Ground cover plants that cascade are perfect.  Ivy works nicely, but needs watering often.

To hide all of the baggies and to give the arrangement an elegant finish, I add clumps of moss around the base of each plant.  I then spray the arrangement with Green Glo leaf shine.  It gives the leaves a glossy finish and removes water stains.  You can find moss and Green Glo at your local craft store.