Selective Pruning- a smart way to make a small bouquet for the home

The more I have fallen in love with flower arranging, the more I have found myself admiring local gardens. Living in such proximity to the city center has its obvious perks but one of the perils is not being able to have a proper garden. As an avid goer of my local flower markets I have found that as much as I love the flowers themselves, when you put them together, without foliage, the effect just isn’t the same. Think of foliage as the supporting actor in a major film, the back up singer, the back up dancer, the…you get my point. Why am I trying to be humorous? Because most people think that foliage is boring when in fact foliage can make a flower arrangement shine. Flowers for the home should be warm, inviting and natural. Foliage softens the look and feel of the arrangement.


Gardens are a very personal thing, as those who have had the pleasure of having one will tell you. The hours you put into tending to and caring for your plants is directly proportional to the rewards. There is nothing more satisfying that watching your flowers and bushes grow which is why parting with even the smallest bits can prove difficult for some gardeners. This is where the home florist and selective pruning comes in. Foliage, like flowers, is pricey and what better way to keep cost down than to prune your own garden or in my case, a neighbour’s garden. My go to foliage has always been viburnum but gardenia and mock-orange work just as well.

Now to the do’s (I don’t believe in don’ts as long as you follow the rules).

  • Do ask before you cut, be respectful of the work that has gone into the garden you are about to raid. Most people are happy to share as long as you just ask.
  • Do be mindful of how much you take. Gardeners spend countless hours in their garden, so much love has gone into it so please, take only what you need.
  • Do share a little bit of your work. Why not gift your neighbour with one of your creations using foliage from their very own garden? If you are not confident in what you have created, a simple thank you note with some bickies will suffice.
  • Do your homework before you prune. Just because something is in someone’s garden does not mean that it is necessarily safe to bring into your home. Some varieties are poisonous to pets and people so it pays to do some research into what it is that you are about to cut.


In this arrangement I used chrysanthemums, dahlias and golden dewdrop as my foliage. A neighbour had pruned her dewdrops so she was happy for me take some home. As dewdrop is not a safe plant to keep around pets or children, I created the bouquet outside and kept it in an area where neither our dear RSPCA graduate nor our young man could get to it.

Until next time, happy flower arranging!




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