Looking to Nature for Floral Design Inspiration
Growing up on a farm in central NSW Australia, I have had the privilege of experiencing nature in all its wondrous glory. I specialise in wedding design, and as a floral designer, I like to take floral design inspiration from nature’s raw beauty.
In Australia, we live with extremes of temperature, from the cold frosts and snowfields in the South to the harsh dry heat of the Red Centre. In my work with flowers, I will choose the blooms, design, and colours to convey a feeling or emotion and this can often link with the colours of the bush. Combining the red and orange tones of the Australian dessert will have a very different impact than combining the cool grey and white hues of the snowfields. In the same way, the warm blue and golden tones of our beaches differ to the brown earthy colours of our inland rivers.
The soft pinks and greys of a summer sunset are one of my favourite colour combinations, one that is often chosen by my brides. I find blooms with delicate petals in pastel tones mixed with gentle greys combine perfectly—and if you add a touch of white, it will add that glimpse of glimmer often seen as the sun slips over the horizon.
It is not just the colours but the shapes of nature that work to create floral designs with balance and harmony. Nature combines colours, shapes, and textures that are dramatic and beautiful. If a tree is lopsided it will fall over. Like the trees, our floral work needs to be balanced. It can be tall and thin like a stately poplar tree or round and sturdy like an English oak. If the tree is all trunk and has no canopy, it looks unbalanced. If a tree has no root system, it will fall over—just as we need to have the foundations of our floral design or our designs will fail. If we look to nature, we can see the balanced shapes and the colours that work in harmony. By applying these same elements to our floral work, we will create designs that follow the elements and principles of design.
A rose bush will simultaneously have buds, full blooms, and blooms that are fading; this shows the passing of the flowers on the bush. In our floral work, we create that flow and transition by using different sizes, shapes, and colours together for an overall effect. If it works in nature, it will work in floral design.
Nature is not always perfect. But we do not look at a tree and say “that leaf is damaged” or “that bloom is going brown." Rather, we look at the tree as a whole and enjoy its beauty. We should look at our design work the same way. I will always remember a talented designer saying, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful."
Photography Credit: Nikki Bourke Photgraphy, Feather & Birch, Girl in the White Dress