Time goes by too quickly! First of all, thanks to all of you folks who are taking the time to read this blog. If there are any subjects you would like me to comment on, please let me know.

Well, here goes. (Talk about taking the bull by the horns…) (I’ve found I truly love cliches! )

I must have a death wish. After reading over my previous essays it looks like I’m swimming upstream against the current. (Yes, I’m a northwesterner.) Thing Salmon… This time is no different. Here goes…

“European designs.” Wow! This florist must be very special! People across America see this advertised by their local florist and think, “I’d love to have one of those in my home. My friends are coming over this evening.” Or “This should impress my clients!”

Well, think again. There is no such thing as a European design. (Florists across the USA are shooting arrows at me as you read!) Allow me to elucidate.

Around the world, arrangements (designs) are pretty standard – traditional, it you will. Traditional means the design is symetrically balanced. There are more flowers than greens. They can be tall or short and almost flat. It doesn’t make any difference where you are: Italy, Hawaii, France, UK…You get the idea.

But! Florists worth their salt, whose creative juices are flowing, go a step further. They will do a more contemporary design. These designs can be symetrical or asymetrical. They can be any size. What distinguishes them from the traditional is the deviation from an over all look where your eye can see everything in one blink.

Instead of seeing a mound of flowers and colors all blending together uniformly, suddenly single flowers jump out at you. You actually see a specific color, a specific texture or shape. You marvel at how an aspidistra leaf (long, flat and wide) has been rolled or curled or stripped or cut into interesting shapes. Grasses take on a life of their own. Branches with lichens or mass add new life to a design.

What’s that bright lime green thing curling through it all? Wow! Aluminum wire (comes in all colors) can be manipulated into any shape. What’s that peeking around that huge stem? A little bunny rabbit!

Uh huh. The sky’s the limit. Anything goes. But it’s not just thrown together. Each flower or object creates a balance and adds to the over all aesthetic pleasure of the observer.

The design in the above picture started out with a “pvc” type pipe already cut into inch high pieces, then glued together. The flowers were inserted into flower tubes and then placed in this foundation. A tall vase was inserted into the center which held the main, more heavy flowers. Moss was the last thing to be added all around to soften the look. This arrangement was used in the Seattle Flower and Garden Show this year.

Germany, New Zealand, Austalia, Denmark, to name just a few countries, are producing designers who are truly pushing the envelop in floral design. Some designers are using nothing but branch materials to create incredible sculptured pieces which last forever. When a specimen flower is added you gasp in appreciation. Flowers from all over the world are adding to new looks. Growers are constantly coming up with new colors, new species to add to their inventory.

Go on line and check out some of these designers. Here are a couple to get you started:Gregor Lersch, Andrew Gilfillan, Pascale Coste, just to name a VERY few!!!