Foliage provides texture, extra color, shape and proportion to an arrangement. Learn how to pick the right kind of foliage to give your design the necessary height, width, depth and interest it needs to look balanced and substantial.Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging
Some foliage works better in large arrangements to fill out and shape the design, while sculptural grasses create interest and height. Other foliage, usually of year-round varieties, works better in small designs to give added detail and color. Ultimately, the foliage that you choose for an arrangement will depend on its seasonal or year-round availability.
With the exception of ruscus, year-round foliage tends to be short and so is best used for medium-sized and compact arrangements. Choose foliage such as pittosporum, bear grass, snake grass, leather leaf and black ti and green ti leaves. Salal, shown at the far left, is a dense filler best used for small designs and bouquets. The unusual silver-green leaves, pleasant scent and handsome arching stems of eucalyptus, beside it, enhance the shape of a design and add an extra flourish. The attractive feathery leaves on long curved stems of the next example, ruscus, add a delicate texture to a design.
The tall, straight stems of smokebush, forsythia, white leaf and rhododendron are ideal for large displays, and any side shoots can be used at the edges of a design, or in a compact arrangement. The red-stemmed foliage of red robin, shown second from the right, adds a rich color accent to a fall display. Tall and dramatic, privet (far right) provides an effective backdrop for long-stemmed flowers. Hebe, berried ivy, senecio and hypericum are best-suited for compact arrangements. With its unusual lime-green color and lacy appearance, alchemilla, shown at center-right, is ideal for breaking up a dense mass of flowers. It is pretty enough to be used like a flower in some designs. Condition seasonal foliage well, or it will quickly droop.
Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2011