As a lover of flowers and a seasoned traveller, I have admired my fair share of stunning floral arrangements. But it was in a restaurant a few miles from home, that a floral display stopped me dead in my tracks. I was on my way to the powder room when I paused to admire a flower arrangement created on a cake platter that looked, well, like a cake!
Nonchalantly I tried to figure out how it had been made. I thought the flowers had to have been set in some sort of shaped oasis. After a more than reasonable time fixated in front of this beauty, I thought it best to get moving. On my way back from the powder room, I couldn’t help myself. I returned to the flower arrangement and slipped a finger into the flowers to see what was holding them in place….and got caught, literally with my finger in the flower~cake! A woman who identified herself as the manager inquired if she could be of assistance. How embarassing! By then, my girlfriends had come looking for me as I’d been gone for such a long time! We explained we were passionate about flowers and were from a local garden club. The manager, Terri Dow, had actually been the floral artist and she began explaining that this beautiful creation was a Biedermeier floral arranging style and the flowers were held in wet sand. WET SAND?!!! We were blown away and promptly invited Terri to teach us a class in this art.
Biedermeier flower arranging is considered a floral design where the flowers are arranged in a pavé technique, in compact and concentric rings of alternating colors. The arrangements are usually rounded or conical. Each ring contains one type of flower which contrast with the ring adjacent to it usually in color, form and texture to create interest in the design and to showcase each flower. This style of arranging is suitable to low bowls, cake stands and footed compotes.
Biedermeier floral arranging originated in Austria and Germany during the post war years of 1815-1848 and is associated with the famous furniture style of this era.
Modern arrangements can depart from the traditional Biedermeier technique in arranging the flowers in spiral or linear patterns. Berries, small fruit or even small objects such as Easter eggs might even be introduced. What remains consistent is the linear, dense arranging in one color per row. I invite you to search for Biedermeier flower arranging on Google images or on Pinterest to be blown away by countless examples of this fun floral art. Here are a few of my favorites!
Join my garden club in a class in Biedermeier floral design. Learning how to design with wet mounded sand was exciting! Not all Biedermeier is done on sand but the technique I will demonstrate uses a sand base. The sand is the sandbox stuff you can get at the hardware store. It should be new sand to prevent bacterial growth and all used sand discarded after each arrangement is dismantled. Using sand instead of oasis is a really economical way to create shaped arrangements. It is also far easier to work with than shaping oasis to the form you are seeking.
Choose flowers with similar life spans and your arrangement will look great for up to 2 weeks. Every 4 days or so, add a bit of water to keep the sand wet. You can do this by simply pouring water in the top of your arrangement as you would to water a plant.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about Biedermeier floral design as much as I did. Get in touch with your inner child and play in the sand again! Thank you to Terri Dow and The Ship Inn for hosting The Scattered Seeds Garden Club.