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Masterful Flower Arrangements

When it comes to floral design, few have mastered the craft like Jeff Leatham, the floral director at the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, George V.

Leatham's second book, "Flowers by Design," shows readers imaginative ways to arrange flowers, and best of all, they're actually quite simple to do.

He visited The Early Show to show how to do a few of his arrangements.

One of his signature looks is arranging flowers where only the tips of the stems are actually in the vase, so the majority of the stems and the flower are completely above the vase. This makes the flowers look different from most arrangements you've seen, but it's actually quite easy to do.

Stem Tips In Vase
They key to this look is cutting the flowers to achieve an equally flat surface with the flowers. Here is what you need to do:

  • Cutting stems to desired length
  • Cleaning stems of leaves and strip greens
  • Place flowers in vase

Stacking vases is something Leatham likes to do. You can use round, fishbowls or square vases. This often works when you're using just the heads of flowers floating in water, or when you use the shape of the vase as the border for the stems. You can twist and bend the stems of flowers to fit the vase, and then stack the vases together to create a visual effect.

Stem Wrapping:
You only need to follow three steps to achieve this look:
Bend and twist stems to follow shape of vase
Cut bottom of stems to desired length
Place stems wrapped around inside of vase

You don't have to use expensive flowers; you can make beautiful arrangements with "undesirable flowers" such as carnations and baby's breath. One of the fun ways to use carnations is to literally pop the heads off the stems and fill a vase with the flowers, or float the flower heads in water. You can actually pop the flower heads off of many kinds of flowers to create your own visual effect.

Popping Heads Off Flowers
Only one step is needed just pop the head off the flower stem

Interestingly enough, not all flowers need water - and most need less water than people think. For example, most people who receive a bouquet of roses will fill the vase almost to the top and put the roses in. In actuality, the roses really only need a little bit of water for the bottom of the stems. By not filling the whole vase you don't have to change the water as often, it doesn't get a murky and smelly, and it's a cleaner look.

On the other hand, for a really unexpected look, you can use your flowers as sculpture and completely immerse the flower heads, which can have a really beautiful effect. "Drownings and Drenchings," is one of Leatham's signature looks - creating a quirky way to see the flowers, the "wrong" part of the flowers are submerged.

Leatham advises using the surroundings to inspire the flowers. You don't have to use only one type of flower to make it look clean and for it to go together. Using monochromatic colors is a great way to use a variety of different flowers, and still be able to attain a clean look. Just decide what you'd like to highlight in a room as the main focus, and then work around that with your flower design.

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