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How to Make a French Bouquet:Le Bouquet Jubilé de Printemps

Laura Dowling
By Laura Dowling
Posted on May 15,2009
Filed Under Fashion , Local Style,
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Photo by John Arundel/WHG
Spring Abloom at the American Horticultural
Society's River Farm in Alexandria.

J’ adore le bouquet Francais!
 
Whenever I visit Paris, I am drawn to the adorable, portable, round French bouquet that is ubiquitous in every Parisian flower boutique, on every street corner, and in the most fashionable shops.
 
These are not simple garden flowers hastily arranged or the stiff, formulaic compositions that are still far too common here. There is nothing dated or frumpish about these bold couture creations.
 
Au contraire!
 
The French bouquet is a classic floral style that is constantly updated with of-the-moment trends in fashion and the decorative arts to exude tres chic style and panache. They are designed to inspire and command attention, become the life of the party, and bring a sense of joie de vivre and conviviality to special occasions and everyday life.
 
The classic French bouquet is all about technique, style, and attitude. French bouquets are remarkably intricate and complex expressions of floral art, relying on fresh combinations of unusual materials, a jaunty focus on color, and punctuated by surprisingly whimsical notes. At the same time, they are deceptively simple (with practice!) to make.
 
Start with either a classic glass vase or an organic container, an abundance of seasonal flowers, and a few creative accents, master a few techniques for putting it altogether – and voila! You, too, can make a sassy, elegant bouquet with a decidedly French twist.
 
Choosing materials
 

Round flowers make the best round bouquets, so use flowers with a round face. These include roses, ranunculas, mums, daisies, sunflowers, etc.
 
These are the focal point flowers of your bouquet. In addition, select smaller, complementary flowers for texture and to provide depth to the round outline.
 
Here, I’m using hypericum berries, lavender, mimosa, and olive branches to give texture and interest to an early summer sunflower bouquet. Finally, add special finishing touches to personalize your bouquet such as fruits and vegetables, folded leaves, trailing vines, shells, colored wire or ribbon.
 
Building the framework
 
Create the outline of the bouquet by adding stems of the focal flower, building your design from the bottom up. Let the stems support each other, creating an organic grid, for a more natural look.
 
Creating the shape
 
Start filling in the framework with smaller flowers, other textural elements and greens. Cut stems to the right length to create a smooth, overall round shape. Hint: If you cut a stem too short, wire another piece of stem to the bottom to make the flower the correct height.
 
Finishing touches
 
When you think the bouquet is done, pack in more flowers and foliage. When the bouquet is full, round, and complete, use finishing elements to create additional impact.
 

For a spring bouquet of jonquils and daisies, wire feathers on floral picks and insert into the bouquet. A fall bouquet could mix colorful mums and viburnum berries with mini-pumpkins to create a charming seasonal display.
 
For an elegant companion to roses, place individual cymbidium orchids amidst the flowers. In a bouquet of spring flowers and vegetables, add fresh herbs and berries to the mix, setting the composition in a container of chartreuse-colored banana peppers for maximum effect.
 
Laura Dowling, of Interieurs et Fleurs in Old Town Alexandria, specializes in creating flower arrangements in the French style. She regularly attends L’Ecole des Fleurs in Paris, France, where she studies advanced concepts in French design. For more information on Laura's work and additional how-to projects and instructions, go to www.lauradowling.com.



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