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Flowers: How to Create Line, Mass and Line/Mass Arrangements

The elegance of a Line Arrangement is reminiscent of Japanese-style simplicity

When creating a line arrangement, the most important thing to remember is that simple is better. Strong lines sweeping upward or in flowing curves are the identifying factors in a line arrangement. The arrangement is never crowded.

The container is another critical element; it is typically wide with a low profile. Line arrangements are not just about the container and the plants, however. The style must be balanced with white space and come alive with a sense of flow.

A line arrangement may have one, two, or more stems, but three is the most common balance. Balance is typically asymmetrical as one stem may transcend upward on the left and another will turn downward on the right. Line arrangements are enjoyed best from one angle only if the design is to be studied and appreciated.

The easiest way to develop a line design is to use a floral frog. Bunch the stems at the base together and put in position. From here, you will see how gravity affects the upper portions and can give a certain amount of guidance to the form.

At the base of the arrangement, you can add a minimal amount of unobtrusive filler material such as greenery or bark to conceal the frog.

Compotes are wonderful for line arrangements and even interesting wide-lipped vases can be used if they are first filled with sand or rock and the arrangement sits level with the top of the vase.

Gladiolus, snapdragon, yucca, cattails, and tall grasses and twigs with sparse branches are good examples of what can be used in a line arrangement.

The central base of the arrangement should be off-center and toward the back of the container. That will give more depth when viewing from the front. Use floral clay to anchor the frog.

A basic line arrangement might have one sturdy branch with buds that is upright. This is the focus branch and the others should not be as tall. The second and third (or more) pieces can also curve or flow in the same direction as the main piece. Or, they can create a complementary curve to each other - one left and one right.

There are many ways to create a line arrangement and many materials that will add the perfect space and drama.



A burst of color is what a Mass Arrangement is all about - and it is very easy to create!

A sense of color and texture will help when putting a mass arrangement together. It is more about the group and how the mix of flowers and foliage work together than when working with line arrangements. While there are focal points that emphasize the larger flowers, each piece combines to make a pleasing arrangement.

Mass arrangements can be any shape. They can be domed, oval, triangular, or any style that fits the container and the surroundings. Mass flowers can work in the center of a room or against a wall.

Typically, a focal flower is selected for strong color and size. Two or more additional flower types of lesser size, but complementary in hue, will take secondary stage. Filler greenery can be of one or two types and is used to provide depth and hide bare spots.

The focal flowers at the top should face upward in a domed centerpiece while the secondary flowers will face in a variety of directions. As mass arrangements are considered "traditional" in style, the majority of them are symmetrical, meaning the design is the same on both or all sides.

Depth is achieved through placement of filler greenery and smaller flowers at varying points within the arrangement; some will be set deeper into the centerpiece while others may protrude. Some of the greenery should also flow over the sides of the container.

Good examples of mass flowers include: zinnias, roses, daisies, and violets.

Floral foam or chicken wire can be used to anchor mass arrangements. Many people find that foam is a little trickier and that some stems may be lost in the process; wet foam is recommended.

Flower colors can be warm (blues and greens, for instance) or cool reds, yellows, and oranges. You can select a range of three yellow hues for an interesting monotone effect or a range of fiery oranges with yellow accents.

Begin by creating the highest point of the centerpiece and work downward. Be sure to include shorter stems that will be somewhat hidden for depth. Step back often and inspect the work in progress. This will help keep the arrangement from becoming too crowded or off-center. You want the eye to flow from one smooth line to another and eventually lead to the focal flowers.

Line/Mass Arrangement: This delightful style blends the elegance of strong lines with the traditional shapes of mass flowers

The combination of line and mass arrangements can be a little tricky, but with a little practice can be achieved. Plus, it's fun to use the variety of flowers and greenery to create interesting shapes and centerpieces.

As its name implies, the line-mass arrangement utilizes both forms: the hearty branches and stems share space with mass and filler flowers and greenery.

The mass flowers will either anchor the line arrangement or join it together at the midpoint or other junction. The blending means that the line branches will filter into mass and some of the filler and mass flowers will mingle with the line shapes. Any shape of container can be used, but simple and refined is the best choice in style.

Before you start, however, you must decide which style will dominate; they cannot receive equal attention. If the mass flowers are more colorful and will take center state, then it becomes a massed-line arrangement.

Avoid too many flower types or colors as a line-mass can easily become too busy. These are best viewed from the front and usually are asymmetrical. Placement in the container is the same as a line arrangement: the frog is situated toward the back of the bowl for viewing depth.

Begin with the line shapes; use up to three branches of the same style for a basic line-mass arrangement. The tallest can be placed at the right of center with the consecutively shorter lines aligned to one side. Now, place some very short branches of the same material horizontally fanned out from the base to begin coverage of the container.

Use an odd number of mass flowers of varying lengths. Begin with the tallest and allow it to face upward. Then begin arranging the remainder in a flowing pattern downward into the bowl. You can continue filling in with greenery - just enough to hide the frog or floral foam.

The shape of a line-mass arrangement can be vertical, horizontal, or curved. As with other types of flower arrangements, you can't really mess it up. If it appeals to you and brings praise from your guests, that is all that matters.




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