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How to create the perfect garden bowl arrangement

How to create the perfect garden bowl arrangement

Celebrate the start of the season with one of my favourite pieces, a garden bowl arrangement inspired by early summer blooms. Here’s our quick and easy guide to creating the perfect display

Choose your ingredients

One of my favourite things about this early summer arrangement is that you can use foliage and florals that you find in the garden, while out foraging, or bought from your local supermarket. Personally, my go-to ingredients for this type of display come from our garden: different varieties of cream and yellow-toned roses; foxgloves; clematis; honeysuckle; and beech tree branches. Each of these stems bring different colours and shapes to the arrangement and serve different functions while allowing me to recreate a corner of our garden indoors.


Start with a secure base

The first step in a garden bowl arrangement is to prepare your footed bowl. I love this vessel as it’s the perfect height for a table display and works in harmony with florals and foliage, especially when they drape over the edge. To hold my stems in place, I use scrunched chicken wire. I make a pillow of wire with about three or four layers, but you could also use a flower frog or angel vine instead (a sustainable and waterproof option!) The wire is then secured with clear pot tape in a cross shape. I think clear tape looks best with white and clear vessels and save the green varieties for binding bouquets and buttonholes.

Build structure with foliage

Foliage helps to create the shape of the arrangement. To build the perfect garden bowl display, I’m always aiming for a light and airy look, so I tend to strip away some of the foliage leaves to ensure it doesn’t become too dense or heavy. The vibrant green of beech branches is irresistible but removing some of the leaves means it won’t become overpowering.


Asymmetric designs can look more natural, so I cut the first branches so that one side is higher than the other. If you’re arranging in the heat, consider searing your foliage stems first by cutting them at a 45-degree angle, plunging them in boiling water for approximately 30-40 seconds, and then placing them in tepid water. This helps the stems drink as much water as possible and will hopefully increase their staying power.


Add interest with florals

Once you’re happy with the height and overall shape, start adding the clematis and foxgloves. I like to arrange the clematis so that is falls over the edge of the vessel and display the foxgloves at a similar height to the beech branches. Recut all the stems before placing them in the water and keep turning the bowl so that you can see it from every angle. This is a 360-degree design, so don’t be afraid to take a step back to make sure you’re happy with every side.


Consider the placement of focal flowers

Finally, it’s time to add your focal flowers. I love the cream and yellow tones of roses, even though it can be difficult to cut them to use in my displays when they look so beautiful in the garden. Luckily, I know I’ll enjoy seeing them in my arrangements just as much. A good rule of thumb is that the larger the bloom, the lower down in the arrangement it should be. Be quite considered with your placement and find gaps where each stem can nestle into the foliage as it would in the garden. Also be careful not to create any lines; the overall look should be natural, light, and spacious.


Enjoy your summer arrangement

Now, it’s time to sit back and enjoy. This arrangement should last between five and seven days but there are things you can do to help it look its best for as long as possible, even in a heatwave. I recommend changing the water regularly – every day if you can - keep it somewhere cool (or move it to a cool spot whenever you’re out of the house) and be cautious with your use of thirsty foliage.


For more inspiration and guidance, you can follow along with my live tutorial here:

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