succulents

Shades of green: Foliage taking center stage in ‘floral’ arrangements

Photos by Katie Farley

When Aaron Ardle started seeing greenery become the focal point of many arrangements and bouquets at industry trade shows, the Springfield florist wasn’t surprised.

“The eye can see more shades of green than any other color,” said Ardle, who works with his father, Bill, a Clark County Farm Bureau member who helps operate the family’s flower shop, Schneider’s Florist. “You want a lot of variety. Foliage offers that. There are all the different shapes and so many subtle variations in color.”

Working with greenery is exciting because of its versatility, the younger Ardle said. Foliage has a place in the rustic chic weddings that are increasingly popular but it also can be used in dramatic modern arrangements, he said. “You can do a lot of great things with greenery,” he said.

Greenery—which includes everything from ferns and succulents to leaves and green flowers—lends itself to many styles, according to Jody Brown-Spivey, owner of Expressions Floral Design Studio in Gahanna and a former member of the AmericanHort board of directors. Ivy, dusty miller and other country garden greens look beautiful in bouquets that are designed to appear as though the bride gathered the flowers just before the ceremony, she said. Other plants with shiny leaves, bold colors or muted tones—magnolia and eucalyptus leaves, for example—suit different looks.

Pinterest and wedding magazine photos of stunning foliage arrangements and an article by the Huffington Post proclaiming “Foliage is the New Flower,” have helped convince brides and customers that greenery is a trend worth considering.

Grooms often gravitate to the look because boutonnieres made from foliage or succulents are more masculine than flowers, the florists said.

Greenery also gives arrangements texture, which customers love, Ardle said. “More is more with greenery – more shape, more rhythm, more texture.” Texture has become an important part of wedding décor, added Jenny Garringer, the Ohio manager for the Association of Bridal Consultants and owner of Pink with Envy, an event planning company in Beavercreek. Bakers are adding it to cakes by decorating them with ruffles, rosettes and lace patterns. Wedding gowns and linens also have more interest and texture than in years past. “Textures have a way of making items feel more lush yet uniquely your own,” Garringer said.

Using foliage also can reduce the costs of arrangements, according to Garringer. “Greenery and foliage in mass adds a lushness despite the fact that it might not cost as much, yet it doesn’t have the dated or less expensive feel of something like a more traditional ‘filler’ such as baby’s breath.”

The popularity of foliage also can be linked to recent trends in fashion and home décor where botanical prints have become increasingly common, Brown-Spivey noted. Florists often follow trends on the runway or furniture design studios, she said. “If something is hot in décor and fashion – it takes a while – but it drives trends” in floral arranging and weddings. The look will be fabulous for Thanksgiving and other holiday tables, Ardle said. In the fall, he expects to see the addition of autumn leaves, wheat stalks and other natural elements associated with the season. He also noted that greenery has always been – and will continue to be – popular in Christmas arrangements.

Brown-Spivey also expects it to remain popular year-round. “Greenery will always influence arrangements and bouquets as texture and color,” she said.

Greenery Arrangement Tips

Creating a greenery arrangement is an easy DIY project, said Aaron Ardle of Schneider’s Florist in Springfield. He suggests clipping a variety of branches, stems and greenery from plants in the yard. Arrange the items like flowers in a vase, taking care to use pieces of different heights. Consider adding birch branches or others without leaves for additional interest, he said, adding “it’s hard to mess up this type of arrangement.”

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