Just a little something! Petite Flower Design


Back in the spring I was tasked with completing a little petite design, which means that for competition purposes (under NAFAS rules) it should not exceed 25 cms (9.8 inches) in width, depth and height. (This measurement does not apply to the diagonal dimensions.)

Petite Flower Design “Intertwined”

petite blog
“Intertwined” a petite exhibit by Melanie Harris in February 2015. Containing Salix, Witch Hazel- Hamamelis, Small White Tulips, Galanthus (snow drops), Green Skimmia Berries, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ (Corkscrew Hazel)


Miniature or petite designs should adhere to exactly the same elements and principles of design as larger arrangements and all parts of the design need to be in scale and harmony.  A miniature/petite design should look like a scaled down version of a larger design.  Every part of the design needs to be thought about carefully  – from the container, the flowers and foliage through to the scissors used and how to place the stems into the foam or medium.

Why not try a Petite Arrangement in your own home?

Working with small foliage and flowers can be an ideal way of practicing your flower arranging skills at home.  Many flowering shrubs or bushes have blooms that are small and garden or patio grown blooms can often be smaller than commercially grown and purchased flowers.

What are good cutting-garden flowers?
Flowering shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, and even succulents make excellent candidates for mixed bouquets. Here’s a partial list of some of the plants to consider for your garden.

Ageratum (floss flower); Cleome (spider flower); Cosmos; Dianthus; Gomphrena (globe amaranth); Gypsophila (baby’s breath); Marigold; Nicotiana (flowering tobacco); Nigella damascena (love in a mist); Pansy; Phlox; Snapdragon; Sunflower; Sweet pea;  Verbena bonariensis; Zinnia.

Achillea (yarrow); Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle); Aster; Carnation; Chrysanthemum;
Delphinium; Dianthus (pinks); Echinacea (purple coneflower); Heuchera (coral bells); Lavender; Leucanthemum (shasta daisy); Lupine; Paeonia (peony); Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan); Solidago (goldenrod); Veronica.

Get Creative with Flower Arrangement Containers

If you are anything like me, you’ve abandoned the idea of a proper vase before and thrown a flower arrangement in the closest water-tight container later realizing that it didn’t look half-bad. In that spirit, why not try one of the following ideas — who knows? you may seldom use a ‘proper vase’ again – or at the very least, never be stuck without one!

  • Use small glassware vessels like vials, beakers or measuring cups.
  • Make a little multi-container arrangement by choosing a selection of small containers of the same colour for example a group of white porcelain containers (e.g. a vase, a teacup, an egg cup, a bowl).
  • What about that glass soda bottle, old perfume bottle or  miniature liquor bottle that could be rinsed and recycled as a vase?
  • Use tableware like coloured drinking glasses or even an inexpensive plastic tumbler.
  • Votive candle holders make for excellent mini vases.
  • Jam jars and even tin cans with the labels peeled off are great.  You can use them as is or decorate them with ribbons around or lace wraps or even paint them.
  • Raid the kitchen or china cabinet for attractive baking dishes, jelly moulds or ramekins, milk jugs, tea pots or china cups and saucers.
  • Organic and Natural containers – shells, pieces of tree bark or stump, fruit or vegetables halved and hollowed out e.g., gourds or pumpkins, lemons or other citrus skins.

what do I need to remember when working in petite or miniature?

  1. Just like life-sized arrangements, you’ll need some greenery to go into the vase or container first, then the flowers, then the filler. You will be limited by the size of the opening of your vessel. A small opening may only fit 7 stems: 1 for greens, 3 for filler, 3 for flowers or focal points. If your container has a wider mouth, it will take more plant material.
  2. With a larger opening you can use floral foam (oasis), a flower frog or pin holder inside, or tape a grid across your container to help in arranging.
  3. For  smaller vases,  you may find it easier to arrange the bouquet or bunch in your fingers, then snip all the stems at the desired length (measure against the vase, then cut), then put the whole bouquet in the little vase.
  4. Think about where the vase will be displayed as this will dictate how to arrange it. Is it going to be viewed from the top, or the side, or all around? Beside the bathroom sink or on an entrance table by the front door, the bouquet will be viewed from the top. Up on a shelf, or next to your clock radio on your nightstand, the wee bouquet will be viewed from the side. As a table centrepiece the arrangement will be viewed from 360 degrees. Design the shape of your arrangement and fill it out accordingly.

why work with little arrangements?

Once you start looking at plants and small objects to use for your little flower arrangements, I am certain that a world of possibilities will open up to you.

  • Petite and miniature arrangements are just as challenging as large ones because you still need to get the scale and proportions right – so they are great for practicing when you only have access to a small amount of arranging material.
  • Small arrangements can make great table decorations that you can keep or give to your guests to take home with them.
  • They are great fun to make with children (especially those who like to bring you freshly picked ‘presents’ from the flower garden!).
  • They are great stress relievers – why not bring one to your office desk or workplace?
  • Use one as a cheering gift on a hospital visit or to see a friend who is recuperating after illness or injury.
  • Just because it’s pretty and fun!
Image found on http://melzinha1234.tumblr.com/post/30763530187

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