Christchurch Modern Florists nzflowerbiz

Bye, bye baby's breath Big, bunches of flowers are passé.
Instead, deceptively simple modern floral arrangements for
the loft lifestyle.

Excess is out. Lush lacks freshness. And riotous, well, riotous is really too wretched for words.

Less is more is the mantra of the moment for floral arrangements.

Minimalism has gone mainstream.

It's been growing steadily from roots in traditional ikebana, the Japanese floral art with meticulously structured designs in which every leaf, branch and petal is symbolic and based on the principle of three mountains.

Modern ikebana is less rigid and closer to what Westerners regard as modern, explains Tricia Legg, editor of, based in New Zealand.

While ikebana introduced the idea that simple arrangements can also be complex, modern designs are less about symbolism and more about aesthetics.

"To me, modern is something that has a lot of texture, that looks simple but is not," says Tricia Legg, who eschews stringent minimalism and doesn't believe that less is necessarily more.

"Personally, I think it's too easy. Sometimes it can work — there's always a place for everything — but there's not really any thought or emotion behind it."

"People know it's going to be different, modern and linear. "There's a lot of element of surprise. It's all about nature and respecting nature."

For example, you may show off the back of a flower more than the front, also making sure the stems become part of the design. "That's how you get texture and movement and complicity between stem and flower," she explains. He describes his work as "graphic and geometric."

"I call them sculptures," she says about modern designs that only appear to be simple.

David Mordecai, a Toronto floral and garden designer, suggests the minimal and modern trends in full bloom now reflect new lifestyles, including the "loft explosion."

He says, "It's the loft trend that's really behind it. Décor tends to be more minimal and more modern."

The current yen for Zen, for simplicity in all things, from living accommodations to flower arrangements, is fallout from the relentless stress and clutter and stuff in people's lives.

At the same time, the younger generation moving into their first condos wants something different. They're not content with the mixed bouquet from the supermarket — unless it's something to take to the nursing home when visiting great-aunt Edna.

Does this mean the death of baby's breath?

"Even people who don't do minimalist have been moving away from that style. It's old."

Also consigned to the nursing home: carnations and chrysanthemums.

Replacing them in trendier locations are more exotic blooms like kangaroo paws and proteas.

Anthuriums are popular with minimalists and modernists, says Legg. "They look very plastic and tropical and last five weeks in a vase." She suggests combining a couple of them with bear grass.

Not everything in a minimalist or modern arrangement is uncommon or exotic, however. Twigs, seed pods and branches, including those covered with lichen, play a role.

But don't throw the baby's breath out with the bathwater, cautions Legg. Even roses have a role in contemporary designs.

"You cannot beat baby's breath around roses for a bouquet," she says. "Roses are probably the most used flower wherever I've been in the world."

And those chrysanthemums just may be coming back, according to magazine editor Legg, even though she adds, "In my opinion, it's an old ladies' flower.

"But all those fluffy bits and colour ... and now we're grouping them," she says.

Grouping and massing one kind of flower, especially roses or calla lilies, is one of the most popular simple arrangements right now, says Legg — although this style is sometimes denigrated as being "too Martha Stewart."

But cutting edge florists agree that abundance can make a statement. And right now they like to use lots of callas.

"I like a lot of one thing," he explains. "If you do 50 stems of the same foliage, to me that's modern. It creates texture."

Grouping masses of one flower is especially trendy if the container is clear glass and square, rectangular, oval or cylindrical, often with banana leaves wrapped inside the glass.

"Gregor Lersch, a German florist who goes everywhere, started this rage for glass vases," explains Legg, "and manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon."

And if flowers aren't your thing, she says, you can even fill them with oranges, limes, water, rocks, shells or drape beads over them.

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