Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flower Arranging by Marianne Raub

October 13, 2009: Floral designer Marianne Raub demonstrated flower arranging while discussing the conditioning of flowers, design elements and the flower trade.
Following a career in ballet, Marianne studied at the Parsons School of Design and began flower arranging for Bloom in New York City. She and her husband opened Helen Olivia in Old Town Alexandria and named it after their maternal grandmothers.

Helen Olivia's "signature" design is a tight, full arrangement of many types of flowers in a close range of color with a variety of textures. She groups flowers of the same type to give them more presence and interest.
Raub made two signature designs, one in purple tones in a clear glass cube vase and another in fall tones in oasis in a smaller glass cube vase. Raub starts with Pittosporum tobira "Variegata" to make a base and provide the structure for the arrangement. She then places roses in groups of 3 or 5, followed by flowers of decreasing presence and strength, saving the most delicate for the end. She ends by wrapping the glass containers with a polyester ribbon in a complementary color to hide the stems or oasis and give the arrangement a finished look.

Raub said the signature design departs from the triangle design used in many flower arrangements by rounding off the points. She said another standard design for vertical arrangements was an "S" shape. Her third arrangement was a crescent shape, in a low rectangular ceramic vase.

Following the demonstration, the arrangements were raffled as door prizes. Jane Terry won the purple signature design. To a base of pittosporum were added Sahara roses, brassica, mini green hydrangea, purple stock, To a base of pittosporum , globe thistle, and lisianthus.

Marie Hertzberg won the smaller fall color signature design. To a base of pittosporum were added roses, dahlias, brazilia berry, fresia, and chrysanthemums. To take the arrangement "over the top," Raub added one Charlie Brown orchid.

Mary Lischer won the crescent arrangement. The base was Aspidistra elatior folded over and stapled into place. The flowers included macara orchids, amaranthus, mini cymbidium orchids, and mango calla lilies. Curly willow and kangaroo grass were added to give it height and line. The exposed oasis was then filled with short pieces of pittosporum.