CLASS 3- WATERFALL. A cascade design

Last fall my garden club, Four Counties GC, had their Fall Flower Show. The title of the show was “Love our Earth.” In October 2020 we had two hands-on workshops outdoors and the day of the show exhibitors drove their arrangements to the venue, dropped them off quickly, and went home. Two hours later we went back to the venue to retrieved our designs and saw the judged results. Judges and clerks worked in a large open space, masked, and properly distanced.

This month I am going to share with you my design process for entering our club flower show, Class 3- Waterfall. A cascade design.

As one of the club’s floral design workshop chairs, I planned two workshops to be held outdoors in our garage and driveway, not glamorous but a good way to learn in a socially distanced setting. Garden club members Roseann and Valerie demonstrated techniques to create the designs for both workshops, first a Phoenix design and then a Cascade.

The first workshop taught the Phoenix design which is a radial round form with tall stems radiating from the center of the design, named after the mythological Phoenix bird of many colors who died and then rose again from his ashes. Here the you can see these beautiful arrangements and happy ladies under an aging white pine tree.

A few weeks later, Roseann and Valerie taught the second workshop and the Cascade design. Weather was already getting cooler and I was sad to think that this outdoor venue would not be an option soon.

Our club photographer, Kate, takes a picture of Roseann’s design which used a wire mechanic and no floral foam.

Mandy’s design is in a vase covered with handmade paper and uses a floral foam cage to support the flowers.

The standard and easiest way to make a cascading design is to use a small amount of floral foam that overlaps the top of the vase. Chicken wire covering the foam allows for multiple stems to be inserted in a downward direction.

This cascade, shown from two angles, is from a Longwood Gardens Advanced 1 class and uses the floral foam cage technique.

The picture above on the right shows Roseann’s grid made from bark covered wire twisted around floral tubes. This allowed her to do her cascade design with no floral foam. Above left, I took made a grid of twisted 12 gauge aluminum wire. Tubes are then inserted into the circles of the wire grid allowing for downward movement.

I tried a design using this wire grid and found it challenging but very fun and it did achieve a downward proportion without floral foam. The close up shows the tubes. A small anthurium leaf at the top of the design gives the eye a resting place and repeats partially down the cascading line. I now have two anthurium plants and love having the shiny leaves for arranging.

For my flower show exhibit entry I first tried to use wool extenders to create a curved, cascading line and was very pleased with the outcome. But then I thought that flower show arranging not only needs to create a good design but also must interpret the class. The class name was “Waterfall” and this elegant piece seemed to be quite not quite naturalistic enough for a waterfall feeling.

My second attempt had a more natural flow, used a beautiful vase with a watermark pattern, and branches above the vase. It seemed to fulfill the class intent better than the one above.

Having the time to work on two different design ideas was a luxury provided by our quarantine and I loved the distraction. Our final final designs would be shared with our group in a PowerPoint presentation.

The day of the show, three cascade designs filled Class 3-Waterfall.

This was a very fun project and reminded me of just how much I learn every time I take on the challenge of entering a flower show. From my very first flower show entries (and I won’t tell you how many years ago!) to today, the creative process makes me pay attention to both execution and interpretation of a design and also I still learn from the judge’s comments.

Now I hear that our Philadelphia Flower Show is going to take place in June and it will be outdoors! Very exciting—another flower show venue for us to explore!!