In situ, tropical flowers hold extraordinary textural, pattern and sensory appeal. With their deep rich colourings and range of greens, however, we sometimes feel a little unsure of to how to style them (the right way!) for a wedding reception. In love with her wildly organic take on traditional floral styling, we caught up with Fox Fodder Farm's, Taylor Patterson, to ask the secrets to a beautifully fresh, tropical arrangement.
There was a period in my early days as a florist where I kind of shunned using tropicals in my arrangements. And not because I didn’t like them (I’m obsessed with palms) but because I had identified myself as a florist whose aesthetic is seasonally driven. And for some reason I felt that a lot of tropicals, because they didn’t shift as much with the 4 seasons of my temperate climate, weren’t “seasonal”. But that was the wrong way to think because it limited me from using all the amazing torch ginger flowers, palms, and miniature pineapples that were available.
As a recent convert, I approach arranging with tropicals, the same way as I do with seasonal flowers.
Simple and Structural: I’m always drawn to arrangements that have interesting shapes and use the negative space rather than arrangements that have a million flowers within them. What I love about incorporating tropical elements is that often you find things that, on their own, have the most interesting shapes. I love bismarkia fronds for example. They’re like stars. A single one placed at an angle in a vase is really all you need at times.
Tone It Down: The color range available with tropical flowers is huge. Acid Greens. Hot Pinks. Fiery Oranges. I sometimes shy away from color ( one look inside my closet and you’ll see thats true) but when using tropicals I try to suppress those anti-color urges. I’ll choose a bright red heliconia and pair it with a more neutral base or even branch so that the one color really pops.
Mix It Up: Pairing tropical elements with non tropicals is also a great way to incorporate the various materials. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of this concept. I would see pale pink fluffy cherry in a leaf lined vase paired with stiff philodendron leaves in a hotel lobby somewhere and wonder what it was I was looking at. However if done right I think the combination of the two can lead to some cool and interesting results. I love pairing the structural anthuriums with more delicate flowers such as cosmos. Again as someone who treads lightly when it comes to color, I pay attention to palette.
Go All Green:The textures and shapes of tropical leaves and ferns are awesome. Choose a bunch of different varieties and pair them together to create a deep rich all green arrangement. The monochrome palette won’t be able to take away from the textures and shapes of the foliage.