Eileen, with dog Megan, in her quarter-acre home flower-farm garden

“Using herbs brings freshness and vitality to arrangements, and the scents trigger memories for people.” — Eileen Tongson

Step-by-Step Floral Tutorial

Click the arrows on the image above (or swipe if on a mobile device) to see Eileen Tongson's step-by-step instructions and design tips for this arrangement.

Materials List (left to right)

  • ‘Celway Terracotta’ celosia
  • ‘Break Out’ dahlia
  • ‘Karma Thalia’ dahlia
  • Bupleurum
  • ‘Green Mist’ ammi
  • ‘Rubenza’ cosmos
  • Spearmint
  • ‘Queen Red Lime’ zinnia
  • Daucus carota ‘Dara’
  • Delphinium
  • Apple mint
  • Variegated pittosporum
Step 1 | I chose a handled white vase for a taller arrangement. First, mold a piece of chicken wire to form a ball that will fit in the top of the vase, place it in the vase, and then add water and flower food. Form a base for the design with variegated pittosporum, which is a locally grown shrub.
Step 2 | Tuck in spearmint and apple mint for freshness and vitality. For focal flowers, I chose ‘Break Out’ dahlias and placed three of them low in the arrangement.
Step 3 | To create a line, I used white delphinium, but only one for now. You don’t want them to overpower—you can always add more later. Then for filler, place sprigs of ‘Green Mist’ ammi and Daucus carota ‘Dara.’ They bring movement to the design and fill in spaces.
Step 4 | I popped in a ‘Karma Thalia’ dahlia for a little drama and to fill a space. For me, floral designing is a fluid process—it’s not formulaic!
Step 5 | For the supporting flowers, I used ‘Queen Red Lime’ zinnias, which are so easy to grow, and ‘Celway Terracotta’ celosia to unite the palette and add another dimension.
Step 6 | Time for the drippy bits, as I call the looser pieces that give movement to the design. I used bupleurum and ‘Rubenza’ cosmos for a touch of romance.

More Arrangements by Eileen Tongson

Materials List

  • ‘Break Out,’ ‘Obo Katie,’ ‘Golden Scepter,’ and ‘Karma Thalia’ dahlias
  • ‘Oklahoma Salmon’ zinnia
  • ‘Bouquet’ dill foliage
  • ‘Bright Lights’ cosmos
  •  Spearmint
  •  Holy basil
  •  Bupleurum
  • ‘Celway Purple’ celosia
  •  ‘Alaska Mix’ nasturtium

Materials List

  • ‘Green Trick’ dianthus
  • Echeveria succulents
  • Green lisianthus
  • ‘Green Mist’ ammi
  • Feather fern
  • ‘Alaska Mix’ nasturtium
  • ‘Dalmatian White’ foxglove
  • Variegated aspidistra
  • Ming fern
  • ‘Victoria’s Lace’ leatherleaf fern
  • Variegated pittosporum
  • Weeping podocarpus
  • Asparagus plumosus

Materials List

  • ‘Benary Giant Lime’ zinnia
  • ‘Queen Lime with Blush’ zinnia
  • ‘Karma White’ dahlia
  • ‘Green Mist’ ammi
  • Variegated pittosporum
  • Yarrow
  • Delphinium
  • ‘Green Trick’ dianthus
  • Feather fern
  • Victoria’s lace
  • Asparagus plumosus
  • Weeping podocarpus

Sources

Floral design, Eileen Tongson of FarmGal Flowers, farmgalflowers.com; location, East End Market, eastendmkt.com; arrangement containers, Terrain, shopterrain.com, and Adjectives Market, adjstyle.com (turquoise vase); foliage, Ferntrust, ferntrust.com; succulents, Holt Nurseries, holtnurseries.com


By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Shelly Strazis

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