Short History of Floral Arrangements and Design
Through changing times, fashions and fads have come and gone. But flower arrangements have continuously expressed our love for nature. They’ve played a huge part in our enjoyment of life’s beauty!
Each dazzling creation is a work of art! It brings about a bright, delightful ambience wherever it’s placed. But where did flower arrangements emerge? Whose idea was it to place flowers together and for what goal? What did flowers mean to people in the olden days?
How did fashions in floral design advance over time? What created these changes?
Today, we’ll answer all these questions. We’ll get a short but appealing look into the fantastic history of flower arrangements!
Interested in a formal course? Want to get accredited as an expert on everything related to flowers? We suggest looking into organizations that offer programs in floristry, such as:
- American Institute of Floral Designers
- Society of American Florists
- American Floral Endowment
The earliest records of floral design go back to 2500-2600 BCE in Ancient Egypt. Historical experts found that Egyptians were the first to artfully place flowers in a vase.
They were often used for banquets and religious rituals. Ancient Egyptians also used them to revere the dead in last rites and processions.
Lotus flowers are frequently hailed as the most significant flowers of that era. Egyptians believed they were sacred to the goddess Isis. In Egyptian art, men and women were often exhibited holding lotus flowers in their hands.
Identical attitudes towards the religious symbolisms of flowers were discovered in Ancient China. Confucians, Buddhists, and Taoists set cut flowers on altars.
Florists were held in high regard and given great respect. Ancient Chinese art also painted florals on vases, scrolls, and carvings.
Flowers and leaves were also often placed together based on what meanings they kept. Peonies symbolized wealth and good luck. This is why they are famously known and celebrated as the ‘king of flowers’.
Tiger lilies and orchids symbolized fertility. Pear and peach trees represented long and happy lives.
In Ancient Greece and Rome, flowers were primarily used for grand decor in a show of wealth. They weaved flowers and foliage into wreaths for joyful festivities.
Their love of flowers is notable. Blooms were often shown in art and written into myths.
Wreaths also marked the celebration of victories. In Ancient Greece, they bestowed wreaths to champions of the early Olympic games. This tradition remains to this day.
They also enjoyed flair and creativity with flowers. Historians say that the first mixed flower arrangement was from the Romans.
The Byzantines continued the floral designs of the Roman empire. They placed more importance on perfect balance and polished looks.
They adopted garland-making at the same time. But they put their own twist on it by adding fruit and foliage, making tree-like designs.
Gold and jewel tones were prevalent during this era. Popular flowers included carnations, cypress, daisies, and lilies.
After the Roman empire fell, there was an artistic downtrend in the Middle Ages. Sadly, this included floral design.
Monks were the only ones to keep the art of floristry, using florals in sacred places. Inspired by Oriental fashions, they often set their flowers in Chinese vases.
The Renaissance era saw a zealous resurgence of art and culture. This meant people found a new respect for beauty and life in all forms. Italians were the first to convey their new zest for artistry in floristry.
Full, lavish flower arrangements were featured in feasts. Others began to add them as decor for homes and churches.
Renaissance floral design was often concerned with pure beauty and symmetry. Bright and bold color triads were in vogue, designed with arc, curved, and triangle shapes. Flowers were also often coupled with different kinds of fruits and vegetables.
These were placed in a variety of containers, from bowls to baskets to vases. But they were all fashioned to hide the stems and only emphasize the blooms.
People of this era also attached special meanings to flowers, like love, purity, and goodness. Among the most sought-after flowers then were carnations, daisies, irises, lilies, marigolds, and violets.
Affluence, luxury, courtesy– these were the distinct traits of the Victorian Era.
Flower arrangements became a way to exhibit wealth and good breeding. This is why they became extremely lavish and elaborate. Luxurious homes had ornate vases teeming with gorgeous masses of flowers.
Ladies were trained on the art of floral design as a part of their upbringing. It was also at this time that floral design was officially taught and studied as a form of art.
Floral fashions in the Victorian era set itself apart from other periods. People then weren’t all that concerned with symmetry, cohesion, or color palettes.
They were more taken up with how many flowers were in a vase, rather than with how they appeared. Bouquets were often compact and cascading.
Rich, heavy colors like purples, blues, reds, and browns were in style for floral design. Flowers were usually arranged in a round shape. Foliage and herbs were put in for added scent and texture.
Roses, tulips, carnations, baby’s breath, and lilacs were among the most well-loved flowers.
Attention to floral design piqued in the USA in the 1930s. It was then determined to have its own rules by the Women’s Garden Club.
Traditional designs were concerned with designing clean, balanced arrangements. They gave texture and depth but only stuck to a certain design pattern.
Later on, free style became more popular. With no fixed patterns, there was more leeway to explore several color schemes, rhythms, sizes, and plant materials.
There were more natural styles that included rocks, branches, and greens. Japanese styles were also spotlighted, marked by simplicity and openness. Today, trends in floral designs continue to evolve! Now, there are endless options for floral design that welcome everyone’s standout tastes and style!