Autumn Sunflowers

The waning days of summer bring us beautiful sun filled evenings and gardens filled with an abundance of gorgeous blossoms. The Tuscan color palette was the inspiration for this video; deep blue purple, vibrant burgundy red and bright yellow sunflowers. Leanne shares the techniques for designing a glamorous oversized arrangement a she creates a stunning Tuscan styled design. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Flower School .com video library. I'm Leanne Kesler, Director of the Floral Design Institute. Today, I want to share with you fabulous autumn, focused on sunflowers. 

All of the flowers and foliages have been prepared ahead of time. Sunflowers, they're oh-so-thirsty. They do well with a treatment of Quick Dip, so I did them with Quick Dip, and now they're sitting and hydrating in a solution of flower food. Let them sit for at least two hours I let them sit overnight, and then you're ready to design. The container, a textural basket, handwoven, lined with plastic, but to be double-safe, I've added a garbage bag as well, tucked it in to make sure that if they miss the liner when they pour, it doesn't run out on to the table. 

I promised you sunflowers, but I'm going to save those. They're for later. I'm going to start with the foliages and hydrangea, bold, purply-blue, gives it that Tuscan feel. So just adding in a variety of foliages, could be some Israeli ruscus, set down in, nice and full. Everything's going to radiate out from a central binding point. 

Milky Way aspidistra, little different movement, letting it radiate out and then break the line of the container. Maybe do a couple of them side by side, out the opposite side, maybe even up towards the center a bit, bringing that color and the hue inward, again, radiating to the central binding point. Then, coming in with the hydrangea, giving it a dramatic cut. I find it does best if you cut it one direction, the other direction, clip it, and then set it in deeply, so that it is close to the water source and it drinks well. 

With the nest of hydrangea and foliages, we're now ready for the sunflowers, and the color is so bold, so fabulous, you want to group them so that they even have more providence, removing any damaged foliage, giving it a cut, and then inserting it deeply into the foam, making sure it's down into the water reservoir, and then repeating that, same location, grouping them together to get a little more drama. Then bringing in additional blooms, thinking about their faces, placing them in. And again, grouping it, adding another, maybe even yet another, adding that impact of vivid yellow. Coming back, filling in again, bringing some down low, towards the front, and then others up high, through the center, letting them even nestle right atop the hydrangea. 

To finish the design, thinking about an autumn sunset, maybe it's a sunset in Tuscany, and bringing in the fiery hues of an autumn sky, accenting just a bit more color, some leucadendron, carnations, maybe even some chrysanthemums, pulling off the lower laterals and then tucking it in, and then just adding a bit of color, radiating around, again grouping for a little greater impact, drawing the eye inward, coming out on the opposite side, and enhancing with a bit more of the fire color. 

One of my favorite parts of the autumn season is the mature garden, the plants that have grown, maybe overgrown, and the vines that take over. I actually went for a walk, just down the street, where we have a neighbor that has a beautiful passion vine, and it's just taking off and going crazy, so big and lush, I helped by pruning a bit so that I had wonderful vines, pulling them apart, laying them out. And then shorter ones, just draping them out, longer, letting them come up and through, into the arrangement, so that they just intertwine with the flowers. Another shorter one, draping. A nice long one, letting it come up and over, bringing the essence of the overgrown garden to the arrangement. 

Full and lush, like an autumn garden. Definitely needs water. That's why I used such a large container, with a lot of foam and a large water reservoir, because this many stems are going to drink, and that's one tip to remember when you're designing. Think about the number of stems that you're placing in a container, and make sure that you have an adequate water reservoir to keep them alive, because something this beautiful, you want to be able to enjoy it for days and days. 

For more creative inspiration, check out the website, Flower School .com. If you have questions, you can reach us through there, or pick up the telephone and give me a call at 503-223-8089. And of course, I would love to see what you create. For the autumn season, flowers for your garden, flowers from the store. What do you have in mind? Take a picture, design away, photograph, and then post it on social media. Be sure to tag Floral Design Institute, and that way, we all can see, because now, it's your turn. Have fun, and do something you love.

  • Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
    Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
  • Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
    Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
  • Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
    Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
  • Standard Floral Foam Pack of Four Bricks
    Standard Floral Foam Pack of Four Bricks