Incorporating dynamic curved lines within a traditional static vertical-line design infuses the arrangement with visual movement, energy and vitality—and, along with a few unexpected elements, results in a commanding contemporary composition.

Vertical designs, stately and dramatic, traditionally convey power and strength, formality and dignity. While this high-impact composition, imagined by Erik Witcraft, AIFD,CFD, and showcasing Pantone’s 2020 “Color of the Year” (Classic Blue), communicates all of those hallmarks, it also introduces fun and playful touches with its dynamic swirling lines and unexpected elements including the “floating” tubular structures confining the Delphinium and accordion chains fashioned from New Zealand flax leaves. All of the interesting details in this design will invite close inspection and garner appreciation for the designer’s creativity and artistry.

Step 1

Cut several lengths of variegated-Aspidistra-leaf-patterned ribbon, each 13 to 14 inches in length. Tear the lengths of ribbon into strips, each approximately 1 inch wide.

Step 2

Tightly wrap the ribbon strips around six cardboard mailing tubes (each 3 inches in diameter by approximately 8 inches in length) in a diagonal (candy-cane stripe/barber pole) manner. Secure the ribbon to the tubes with staples (at the ends of the tubes) and adhesive strips or dashes or double-faced tape (on the tubes). Make sure each cardboard tube is completely covered with ribbon.

Step 3

Glue two sturdy flower stems (such as rose stems) or, alternatively, hyacinth stakes inside each of four tubes (stems opposite each other) with hot-melt (pan) glue.

Step 4

Place bricks of saturated floral foam (soaked in flower-nutrient solution) into a large blue bowl (hammered metal, in this design), and anchor the foam into the bowl with waterproof tape.

Step 5

Insert the flower stems (or hyacinth stakes) in the four ribbon-covered tubes into the floral foam, positioning each tube at a different height.

Step 6

Carve out half-round sections of floral foam on opposite sides of the container, and position the remaining two unstemmed tubes into those cutouts, to sit on the rim of the bowl.

Step 7

Arrange stems of fresh variegated Aspidistra leaves into the floral foam so that the leaves curve/swirl around the tubes, inside the design and extending slightly outside of edge of the bowl (to create visual movement, dynamic lines and dimension). Adhere the fresh Aspidistra leaves to the tubes with staples and/or adhesive dashes.

Step 8

Create several Aspidistra-leaf loops by piercing the stem though the leaf surface, creating a loop and tail with each leaf.

Step 9

Arrange the Aspidistra-leaf loops in groupings around the base of the design.

Step 10

Arrange long stems of Delphinium x Belladonna, from Rio Specialty Flowers, first through the centers of the tubes and into the floral foam. Arrange additional long stems of Delphinium outside of the tubes, as well as short stems at the base of taller tubes (this creates the illusion that the tubes are floating in the design).

Step 11

Arrange ‘Brighton’ hybrid tea roses, from Rio Roses, in groupings at the base of the design.

Step 12

Create accordion flax-leaf chains by splitting a single New Zealand flax leaf in half; placing one end of each of the two leaf strips together, perpendicular to each other; and folding them back and forth over each other (like the paper chains we made as kids.

Step 13

Arrange the accordion flax-leaf chains into the design, and knot them onto strong stems in the design.

Step 14

Arrange yellow callas in a curvilinear manner to swirl haphazardly throughout the design, reinforcing the dynamic curving lines created by the fresh Aspidistra leaves. Arrange pincushions to arc outward slightly from the strongly vertical design.