One of the most useful designs for filling large spaces is the phoenix design.  The name comes from an ancient Egyptian legend of a colorful bird called a Phoenix.  It lives in the desert for hundreds of years and then self ignites. When the ashes rise to heaven another Phoenix is reborn.  Thus, it symbolizes rebirth and immortality.

I like this design for event spaces, altar designs, and large outdoor containers.  We teach it in the Advanced 1 class at Longwood Gardens and it is a favorite because of the abundance of beautiful roses and other flowers.  Seasonally the flower choices shift from flowering branches in spring to gladiolus in summer, birch branches for autumn and ilex berries for winter arrangements.

Best of all, this design is relatively easy to achieve with the classic round arrangement at the base and a triangular placement of branches or tall flowers in the center.  I remember a quote from an art teacher who said, “Life is short, why don’t you do something easier.” I think of her when doing this showy but not difficult design.

Phoenix design for the Cleveland Museum of Art flower committee shows how to fill a large space using orange ilex verticillata branches. The base is magnolia, crocosmia, amaranthus, and free spirit roses placed in groups of three for greater impact.

At Longwood Gardens in the June Advanced 1 class we used larkspur for the center flowers, and roses and carnations in lavender and white. Garden greens of smoke bush, mountain laurel and spirea give the design a loose, natural look.

Designs done by Longwood students line the classroom’s side counter. For this class students brought their own vases which makes for an interesting variety of arrangements and a good lesson.

Great for parties and events, the phoenix design gives added height without using volumes of flowers.

The phoenix design works well for altars and large spaces. Here, delphinium soars above hosta leaves. The photograph was taken from the back so you can’t see the stems of white stock facing the congregation. This is a reminder to always have the back of your designs looking beautiful even if they don’t have all of the expensive flowers.

Give this design a try. It is fun and very showy.