What is greening?
“Greening” is a term florists use to explain the process of adding foliage to a flower arrangement. It is usually the first step in the design process because most florists use greening as an opportunity to create the shape of their design. It can be seen as providing the foundation, structure, or architecture of a design. Greening is also important because foliage provides the necessary support for flowers to remain in a container. Also, when floral foam is used, the foliage is used to cover the mechanics of a design.
What kind of foliage can be used for greening?
Although there are some staples in the floral industry (such as leather and lemongrass), there is so much variety in foliage available today that there is no answer to this question. Many designers use herbs and forage vegetables for their designs. Picking your greens is a great way to cut down on your grooming costs. Greens are everywhere, and the opportunities to forage are huge too. Look out for interesting foliage for your arrangements. Using two or three different types of greens, with different textures and shades of green, adds interest, movement, and depth to a design.
How to green a vase arrangement:
The first step is to determine the length of each stem that you place in the vase. The standard rule of thumb is that your array is 1-1.5 times the height + width of your container. Select three stems to start with and cut the longest stem using the formula above. Then cut the second rung 2/3 the length of the longest stem. Lastly, cut the third stem about 2/3 of the length of the longest stem (you don’t want to be too exact, and even a small difference in length adds dimension to your piece).
For a standard 3-sided arrangement, place the longest stem in the middle of the vase and the shorter stems on either side of the longer stem. Use these three pieces as the skeleton of your arrangement. Cut the rest of your vegetables for stuffing between the three main stems.
Now that you have your greens in place, you can add your flowers and continue using the shape you established with your greens as a guide for flower placement.
As you can see, greening is a critical step in the floral design process. It provides the architecture for your design, offers support for your flowers to stay in place, and also covers the mechanics of floral foam designs. Mastering greening is not an overnight process and requires patience and practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and use your mistakes as opportunities to learn.