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story.lead_photo.caption Rose Bradley demonstrated Wednesday how to create an Inverted T floral arrangement during the Fulton Garden Club meeting. This year's FGC flower show is April 28. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

A cheerful flower arrangement is a welcome reminder of spring and, perhaps, a good way to impress a loved one — today is Valentine's Day, after all.

If the bouquets for sale fail to impress, why not try your hand at making your own? Fulton Garden Club member Rose Bradley taught a class on flower arranging Wednesday afternoon at the Callaway Electric Cooperative.

Start by collecting supplies.

"I got all my stuff at Walmart or Hobby Lobby — you don't have to buy a lot," Bradley said.

A nice vase is a must-have, but a few other items will make your arranging job easier.

Scissors: A small pair to snip leaves, and a sturdier one to cut tough stems.

Wet foam: It'll help your flowers stay fresh and in-place. Cut it to fit your vase and soak it in water.

Floral tape, wire and spare flower stems: These help salvage a broken or bent stem.

Spritz bottles of water and Crowning Glory: Ensure your flowers stay looking fresh longer.

Next, it's time to buy flowers and greenery. Bradley brought a mix of grevillea (a zigzagging greenery), myrtle branches, green poms, pink blazing star, white lilies and pink daisies. Make sure to purchase fresh-looking, undamaged blooms in enough quantity to fill out a nice bouquet.

"You can put little garnishes in there, but don't go crazy," Bradley said, gesturing to a small decorative bird she'd brought to add to her arrangement.

When choosing flowers, pick out colors that are pleasing together. A variety of sizes and textures will make for a more visually interesting bouquet.

Prepare flowers for arrangement by cleaning off stray dirt and pollen and clipping away damaged leaves and petals, then giving them plenty of water.

It's almost time to arrange, but first, do a little planning. Flower arrangements come in all shapes and sizes, from the classic American mass (a ball of densely-packed flowers) to the Inverted T, which has a spike of flowers sticking up in the middle and sprays off to each side at the bottom. Searching "types of flower arrangements" on the internet will bring dozens of inspiring examples. Bradley demonstrated an Inverted T.

Whatever design you choose, place your blooms with confidence.

"When you're placing stuff in web foam, if you move it around too much, it's going to start falling apart," Bradley said. "Try to have extra foam on hand — or just don't be a perfectionist."

She suggested placing your focal-point elements first — the biggest blooms or most dramatic sprays of foliage — then adding filler around them.

Club President Diane Neterer said keeping the principles of design in mind will make for better bouquets. These include balance, dominance, contrast, rhythm, proportion and scale.

"With proportion, the plants should take up about two-thirds of the design and the container, one-third," she said.

Putting the bigger blooms toward the bottom of the design will help anchor it visually, club member Linda Houston added.

Flower show

The Fulton Garden Club's annual flower show will be 1-5 p.m. April 28 at the Callaway Electric Cooperative and will be a joint show with Ashland Garden Club. The theme is "2020 Visions of Spring." For the first time ever, the show will include several photography categories.

As in years past, the public is welcome to view the show and enjoy the entrants' artistry. However, unlike in previous years, entries to the 2020 show are open only to members of the Fulton or Ashland garden club. Fulton locals who are enthusiastic about gardening and wish to enter the contest are welcome to join the garden club; the next meeting is at 1:30 p.m. March 12 at the Callaway Electric Cooperative.

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