Sound Garden: Asleep at Heaven’s Gate

This week, my floral inspiration for Sound Garden comes from a very abstract album cover, Asleep at Heaven’s Gate from the indie band Rogue Wave. This 2007 album from the northern California band is richly layered and touches on themes of love and loss. This could describe my entire music collection :) Asleep at Heaven’s Gate has moments that feel like sheer, bouncy pop joy, but there is almost always a twinge of sadness to the music. The lead singer, Zach Rogue, described the album as acknowledging life’s intense mix of elation and despair. Throughout, you will find interesting harmonies and a lot of ambient noise that shores up even the simpler melodies. If you missed this album or anything else by Rogue Wave, I highly recommend that you immediately remedy the situation.

Blooms from left to right: hyacinth, lady slipper orchid, anemone, tulip, narcissus and ranunculus

In keeping with January’s fresh, winter-white theme, I selected white blooms that would pop from the black and gold album cover. I also included accents of “gold” from the lady slipper orchid and “black” from the tulip. For foliage, I chose chunky greens with gold touches. I am a big fan of mixing shapes and textures when it comes to greening an arrangement. Many a fine floral design has been created using only foliage. If you are ever in a pickle and cannot find or afford lovely blooms, apply the same principles we discuss in terms of structure, color and placement to greens for your arrangement!

Follow along after the jump as I demonstrate working with an awkward vessel and using water tubes to cheat nature. — Sarah

The full post continues after the jump . . .

Greens from left to right: brunia, grevillea and magnolia leaves

I have this dramatic black vase that I used once for a photo shoot, and I never know what to do with it. Filling this black beauty requires a nice budget for tall branches and blooms. I came up with a solution that might be helpful for those of you working with an oddly shaped vase at home. I took a $4 mossed tin that I had lying around and inserted it into the mouth of the black vase.

Before starting my tape grid, I made sure the mossed tin would fit securely in the vase. It is important to test whether the insert will be seen from the outside or will be completely masked by the vase lip. You should leave yourself at least one to two inches between the insert and the vase.

Although I was now working with a much shorter container within the larger vase, some of the blooms still needed a height boost. I prepared the smaller and shorter flowers for design action by cutting the stems at a sharp angle and feeding them into water tubes. Then they can be placed in the arrangement, just nestled among the other greens and blooms. They do not have to touch the water. TIP: If you use water tubes in an arrangement, be sure to recut the stems and replace the water in the tubes every other day. The bloom will drink a lot in there!

Between the tape grid and the fullness of the foliage, greening this arrangement was a snap!

And there you have it. Clean white blooms (that appear crazy tall in the vase!) dotted among thick greens and black/gold moments. This arrangement feels a bit unstructured. Once I distributed the foliage in an abundant mix, I was less intentional about the placement of the blooms. I felt free to experiment with clustering certain blooms and letting others stand out.

I am a big believer in what I like to call “the magic of television.” If I don’t have exactly the materials I need, I try to devise a way to creatively use what I have. As I was plunking ranunculus with six-inch stems into the giant black vase, I knew that nobody would know my secret . . . except, of course, ALL OF YOU.

Especially when you design a show-piece arrangement for one big deliverable like a dinner party or an open house, don’t shy away from manipulating the elements into working for you “in the moment.” Of course, using water tubes won’t contribute to a long-lasting arrangement, but they will allow you to briefly enjoy a lovely design. And if you have a favorite large vase at home that has never been easy to fill, consider a trip to a floral supply or craft store to see whether an insert might work for you!

Join me back here in two weeks for another round of music-inspired florals and tidbits for becoming a savvier designer.

  1. Joanna says:

    This is really fantastic. Waiting for more flower inspirations; with the spring around the corner it’s time to bring nature indoors.

  2. amy says:

    This series becomes more brilliant with every post. Those warm colors have rogue waves rolling around in my head this morning. LOVE.

  3. Kristina says:

    This is great! I actually love this album so it’s nice to know I’m not the only person who loves it.

  4. Janna says:

    Beautiful arrangement, gorgeous colors! I do think its worth mentioning that Lady Slippers are endangered/vulnerable in many areas of North America so before picking them, check out their status in your area.

  5. Lauren says:

    The tape grid trick is one of my very favorites!

  6. Beccy says:

    What an impressive arrangement. I love flowers. They make me feel calm inside, good for the soul I feel!


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