How to Create Arrangements Using a Complementary Color Scheme

A complementary color scheme uses two colors that are across from each other on the color wheel…in this case, blue and yellow or yellow-orange.  One could say “opposites attract”…

Once again, the local farmer’s market has provided me with beautiful flowers…a blue Buddleia, commonly called Butterfly Bush.  My mind immediate starts to sort through my repertoire of appropriate flower containers.  I can hardly wait to get home!

But my first step will be to hydrate the flowers by cutting the ends of the stems underwater with a pair of floral clippers. Warm water works best for the hydration process because it moves up the stems to the blossoms quicker.  Leaving them in the water for at least an hour yields the best hydration results.

While the blossoms are hydrating I will be reviewing container choices since I have enough Butterfly Bush stems to create two arrangements.  One container that comes to mind is a dark blue “Calico” pitcher with a tiny white flower pattern.  It is from the Crownford China Co. in Staffordshire, England.  The other container is a Japanese teapot given to me by a dear friend.  It is also blue and white.

By now you are aware that the Butterfly Bush blossoms are blue, however you may be wondering where the “complementary” part comes in.  Well, it just so happens that the water stressed trees have begun to drop leaves already.  Although we are not yet near autumn, the water stress is causing premature leaf drop.  The leaves that have dropped are a beautiful yellow, or orange-yellow–a perfect complementary color scheme!

So let’s take a close look at the Japanese teapot arrangement.  The empty teapot is 5″ tall and 8″ wide from the edge of the handle to the tip of the spout.  The arrangement is made from approximately 15 stems of the blue Butterfly Bush and about 5 stems of fall leaves.  There is a small piece of Oasis needed for the inside of the teapot that will hold the blossom stems and leaf stems in place.

I began the arrangement with the Butterfly Bush stems, inserting the longest stem first to establish the proper proportional height of the arrangement.  Next, I added a blossom stem on each side to determine the right width.  Then, I anchored the teapot lid to the front edge of the teapot with a heavy wire stem covered in brown floral tape and a little bit of “tacky wax” to secure the lid to the edge of the teapot opening.  The final step, of course is to fill in the center of the arrangement with blossoms and fall leaves.  The focal point of the arrangement is created by the teapot lid, an orange leaf and a concentration of Butterfly Bush stems.  The finished height of the teapot arrangement is 10″ and the finished width is 9″.

Now on to the Calico pitcher!  The empty pitcher is 4.5″ tall and 6.5″ wide from the pouring spout to the edge of the handle.  There are approximately 25 stems of Butterfly Bush blossoms and 3 full stems of autumn leaves.  The pitcher doesn’t require Oasis because its’ shape allows the volume of stems to support each other.  Again, the placement of grouped stems and leaves creates a natural focal point.  The finished arrangement height is 9″ and the finished width is 18″.

I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to this time of year. Take time to gather leaves and try your hand at creating an arrangement in complementary colors.

by Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

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