Portrait of floral designer Monica Delgado, with bobbed dark hair, wearing a yellow floral sundress and a long beaded necklace, stands with her ikebana arrangement

Monica Delgado of Simple Florals

Design Inspiration

I wanted to create a simple arrangement that was minimal in style but at the same time modern and fresh. My inspiration came from the traditional Japanese ikebana style. I did two things that were unexpected. First, I manually opened the tulip petals, completely changing the traditional look of closed tulips. I think most people will get a kick out of that once they realize that these are actually tulips. Second, I used tulips that were dyed brown, which creates these very interesting veins throughout.

For floral styling tips for the arrangement above, see Monica Delgado’s tutorial at the end of this post.

An ikebana arrangement and a pair of simple brass candlesticks with white tapers sit on a modern, white, circular occasional table with brass legs. A panel of floral fabric hangs in the background

“I like to have elements that are unexpected and even whimsical. My favorite thing is when floral art inspires a moment of delight.” — Monica Delgado

In a sunlight-filled, elegant white room, a suspended floral arrangement hangs above a simple wooden chair

Materials: cymbidium orchid, carnation, burgundy cotinus, ‘Cappuccino’ rose, plumosa fern

Two floral arrangements (one in a small white modern vase and the other in a larger, dark modern vase) sit to the right side on top of a mirror-topped wooden dresser. The mirror’s reflection shows a blurred image of Monica Delgado walking by holding her young child

Materials: preserved sun palms, Queen Anne’s lace, foraged palm leaf, ‘Blushing Bride’ protea, Grevillea chamomile. Vases: Kuu Pottery (kuupottery.com)

Floral Tutorial with Monica Delgado

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Flowers for Ikebana arrangement
Materials: blush cymbidium orchid, ‘Cappuccino’ rose, carnation, ‘Elegance’ ranunculus, ‘Clooney’ ranunculus, peace lily, unripe blueberry stem, yarrow, tulip (dyed brown), zinnia, white allium
Step 1: Monica Delgado tapes the chicken in place
1 | Place floral pins in each of the two vessels, secured to the bottom with a nickel-size piece of floral putty; add the chicken wire cut to fit inside. Put two pieces of floral tape over each cage to secure the wire, and add water.
Step 2 - placing orchids
2 | Start with the cymbidium orchids. Shorten the stems, and place low and to the side in each of the containers. Place two in one container and one in the other.
Step 3 - Monica Delgado places a rose and the ikebana form begins to take shape
3 | Trim the rose stems, remove leaves, and place the flowers a little higher than the orchids.
Step 4 - adding a carnation
4 | Add the carnations, which are in the same palette as the roses but bring additional texture to the arrangement. Place one in each container.
Step 5 - progress photo with ranunculus added. The wire and tape is still exposed.
5 | Trim and add the ranunculus to the arrangements—I used two types. Keep the stems longer than the other flowers, and allow them to float above for movement.
Step 6 - Monica Delgado adds height by inserting a single peace lily
6 | Next add the peace lilies to each arrangement. Cut them at varying heights and a little longer than the ranunculus.
Step 7 - close up of Monica Delgado's hands as she places a stem a green blueberries at the bottom, helping to cover the mechanics (chicken wire and tape)

7 | For additional texture and a pop of green, trim unripe blueberry stems (you could substitute hypericum for a similar look), and tuck them at the bottom of the containers.

Step 8 - close up of Monica Delgado's hands as she wraps yarrow stems in green floral tape

8 | Trim the yarrow. Because it is more fragile, first wrap floral tape around the stems to secure them before putting the pieces low in the arrangement.

Step 9 - manually opening tulips (Monica Delgado)
9 | Add deeper color to both arrangements with dyed tulips. First pull back the tulip petals to give them an open-faced look, and then include them along with zinnias in a similar shade to unite the palette.
Final Step - Monica Delgado smiles, looking off camera, as she finishes her ikebana floral arrangement

10 | For the final touch, add a couple of sprays of white allium. Keep some stems long and some short. You can display the two arrangements separately or put them together for a fuller look if desired.


Produced by Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Monica Buck | Floral design by Monica Delgado of Simple Florals, simpleflorals.com