What is Greening?
"Greening" is a term that florists use to explain the process of adding foliage to a flower arrangement. It is usually the first step in the design process because most florists use greening as an opportunity to create the shape of their design. It can be thought of as providing the foundation, structure, or architecture for a design. Greening is also important because foliage provides the necessary support for flowers to stand in a container. Additionally, when using floral foam, foliage is utilized to cover the mechanics of a design.
What Kind of Foliage Can Be Used For Greening?
Although there are a few staples in the floral industry (such as leather and lemon leaf), there is so much variety in the foliage available today, there is no answer to this question. Many designers use herbs and foraged greens for their designs. Foraging your greens is a great way to cut the costs of your arrangement. Greens are everywhere, and opportunities for foraging are also vast. Keep your eye out for interesting foliage for your arrangements. Utilizing two to three different types of greens, with different textures and tones of green, adds interest, movement, and depth to a design.
How To Green a Vase Arrangement:
The first step is determining the length of each stem you place in the vase. The standard rule is that your arrangement is 1-1.5 times the height + width of your container. Select three stems to start and cut the longest stem using the formula above. Then cut the second step 2/3 the length of the longest stem. Lastly cut the third stem close to 2/3 the length of the longest stem (you don't want to be too exact, and even a small difference in length adds dimension to your piece).
For a 3-sided standard-shaped arrangement, place the longest stem in the middle of the vase, and the shorter stems on each side of the longer stem. Use these three pieces as the skeleton of your arrangement. Cut the rest of your greens to fill in between the three primary stems.
Now that you have your greens in place you can add your flowers, continuing to use the shape you set with your greens as a guide for flower placement.
As you can see, greening is a fundamental step in the floral design process. It provides the architecture for your design, offering support for your flowers to stay in place, and also covering up the mechanics for floral foam designs. Mastering greening is not an overnight process, and takes patience and practice. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and use your mistakes as opportunities for learning.