How To Create A Compote Floral Arrangement from Lane Dittoe
July 2, 2013
How ToFlower DIYDIY
We've showcased some really incredible bouquets in SMP Living's past, but I think it's safe to say that this one takes the cake. It's bright and beautiful and truly, utterly romantic. And I'm kind of excited because the talented folks behind The Oak and the Owl have agreed to share all of their deep dark secrets on how they put this beauty together. And with them? Lane Dittoe, capturing it all in its stunning glory. See the whole thing right here.
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MaterialsFooted Compote Bowl
Flower Frog
Floralife Sure-Stik
Waterproof Oasis Floral Tape
Pruning Shears
Floral Snips
Lazy Susan (optional)
Mirror (optional)

Branchy Greenery (Spirea)
Leafy Greenery (Dusty Miller & Lambs Ear)
Focal/Face Flowers (Fully Opened Peonies & Dinner Plate Dahlias)
Smaller Face Flowers (English Garden Roses & Tighter Peony Buds)
Gestural Flowers (Tulips)

step-1Taking your Floralife Sure-Stik putty, cut off about 12" and knead it so it gets as sticky as possible. Press the putty to the bottom of your flower frog, making sure it goes all the way around on the outer most perimeter. Then holding the frog with a towel, place the flower frog at the inside bottom of the bowl and press down with significant pressure. While pressing down, turn clockwise until the the frog won't turn any further. You should now have a good seal where your frog won't shift while designing. Next, take your waterproof tape and create a grid on top of the vase, leaving approximately 1.5-2" openings. Then fill the vase with water. Now you are ready to start putting your flowers in!

step-2Starting with your branchy greenery (for this example, I used Spirea), created the basic shape of your arrangement. Start by cutting your branch to the approx length you want it to be. Always err on the side of too long vs. too short. You can cut more off if necessary. Then clean off the excess leaves and flowers so no greenery is below your water line. Press the stem into the flower frog so that it is secure. (You will try and do this with all of your flowers.) I like to get the foundation for the basic overall height and width with the beginning greenery, so consider how high and how wide you want your arrangement to be, given the size of the space it's going in.

step-3 Next, take your leafy greenery (I used dusty miller for this) and block in some basic shapes so the rest of the flowers will fit in and around the rest of the arrangement. You can also use these leafy greens to create a stronger foundation so your flowers won't shift and your arrangement loses it's shape.

step-4 Next take one of your larger focal flowers (I used fully open peonies for this) and place them where you think is best. I like to have a couple at the base, but then I also place them up higher so you get more fullness and movement all around the arrangement. Make sure to leave yourself a couple of stems to finish the arrangement with.

step-5 Now you can take your smaller face flowers (I used the English garden roses for this part), and place them around the arrangement. Don't place them spottily around, take a few and place them close together, keeping in mind to not have them on the same visual plane. You want to create subtle in's and out's for more visual interest. What I mean by this is, you take one rose and cut it shorter and place it at the lip of the vase so it's just barely sitting over the edge. Then take another rose and cut it longer. Place it on top of and in front of the first rose you originally placed. You should try and do this with all your flowers so you don't get a roundy moundy / pave type of arrangement. This also creates moments of visual rest where your eye will stop and take in the clustering of the same type of flower. It makes it so your arrangement isn't too busy and messy.

step-6 Next take your gestural flowers (I used French tulips for this, but this can be any kind of tall and wispy flower, or flowers that have draping stems.) Place them on the bottom sides, and upper sides so that the either cascade over the edges of the vase, or they create gestural lines coming out of the top of the arrangement.

step-7 Now you can take your second type of large face flower (for this I used Cafe au Lait dinner plate dahlias), and fill in the larger holes that are left. At the base of the arrangement, on top of the lip of the vase is a good place, as is higher up to make your eye move all around.

step-8Last, you can start filling in holes with the left over flowers you have. I used a type of Lamb's Ear leaf to fill in some of the holes, same with left over garden roses and peonies that hadn't opened yet. Their small ball shape worked perfectly and had the right kind of color to connect the pale pinks and darker reds.

step-9Now your arrangement should be complete and beautiful to place on your dinner table!

Florals & Instructions from: The Oak and the Owl | Photography: Lane Dittoe Fine Art Wedding Photography