Question of the Month

Question of the month

An understanding of basic biology and botany guides my respect for and care of floral materials. It also influences choices of materials and design if I wish to replicate nature or go “against nature.” An appreciation of architecture encourages me in the use of negative space and also how best to design to suit a particular location. Many of our customers have science backgrounds and appreciate the “nod to the sciences” they witness in our work. We are not just “sticking flowers in a vase.” We help our customers better appreciate what goes into floral designs by educating them, and educating consumers is one way to add value to the floral experience.
Liz Webster Goddard
Friends Gift Shop
University of Alberta Hospitals
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Architecture and the science of balance and symmetry (mathematics, really) have always played an integral role in floral design. We take inspiration from the shapes created, the textures of the materials used, the historical and cultural differences and nuances — so much to draw from! Of course, botany has guided many of us (me, especially) with design. Knowing how a plant grows allows me to better complement and respect the flower as I work with it. Every art and science sends messages to us all the time. The thing is, we have to pay attention and listen to them.
Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI
My Mother’s Bloomers
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Math is a central tenet of floral design, especially the proportions and ratios of the Fibonacci sequence, the golden mean and the golden triangle. You see those proportions in nature and other arts and sciences all the time. Intertwined with science, florists use math to create works of art that are aesthetically pleasing, draw people into the works and bring forth emotions. Knowledge of mathematics allows us to create more interesting designs that truly speak to consumers and display the true art of flowers.
Jodi McShan
McShan Florist, Inc.
Dallas, Texas

I studied architecture and psychology in college, and because of that, I apply concepts of structural balance, space, movement and, most important, the client’s individual style. My background in psychology enables me to create floral expressions of my clients’ inner artistic makeup.
Olga Goodman
The Company of Flowers
Valencia, Calif.

Mathematics, physics and engineering, for sure. We defy gravity all the time with the designs we create. Architecture and landscape design also help us create new and exciting designs and enable us to stretch our creative limits. We are able to take many elements from everything we learn or see and incorporate them into what we do.
Darlene Nelson DLN Floral Creations Naperville, Ill.

Agriscience has influenced my entire career as a florist. I grew up on a farm and understand how things are grown and the hard work and care it takes to get the product to my shop. This understanding has influenced when and where I source product, which, in turn, affects the care and handling all the way through the design process. Knowing the way things grow helps me use product in styles that are more natural and earthy (French country, vegetative, garden).
Lori Himes, AIFD
Abloom, Ltd. Flowers & Events
Walkersville, Md.

I am fascinated by the Fibonacci sequence and Leonardo da Vinci’s geometrical “Flower of Life” pattern, and I apply those principles to my floral design. The science of botany, also, is always on my mind when designing.
Michael Russo
Trout Lily Farm
Guilford, Conn.

The 500-year-old Japanese floral art form of ikebana uses mathematical principles of geometry to govern height, angles and shapes. I apply many of these ancient principles to my American/Western floral designs, and the results can be spectacular and modern.
Jan L. Gordon
East Meets West Flowers
Pleasantville, N.Y.

Beautiful floral designs start with the proper mechanics, and engineering science is the basis that governs the placement of your first stem. I’ve often thought that engineers and architects would marvel at the science used to design the perfect flower arrangements.
Holly Milburn
The Finishing Touch Florist
Crete, Ill.

Physics is everywhere and in everything around us in one form or another, and these concepts can become intertwined in new and interesting elements within floral design. A lot of scientific presence is often unseen, yet we know it is what makes things work.
Amanda Voss, CFD
Bosque Flower Market
Los Lunas, N.M.

Floral design requires construction achieved by strong lines and balance, much as an engineer would approach building a structure. We also are botanists; we examine the form and place where flowers grow and then translate that into our designs. Then there’s our role as chemists, to ensure flower and plant longevity.
Lynette McDougald, M.S., AIFD
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, Miss.