A Vivid Display

Summer is the perfect time to find inspiration in the world around you. This year turn that inspiration into a practice of mindfulness through the art of flower arranging.

Photographs by Marvin Moore, Styling by Miyako Ballesteros. Materials used: Hydrangea, Solidaster, Kangaroo paw, Pincushion, Billy button, Kiwi vine

The peak of summer, when the sun beams down and flowers abound, is the perfect time to find inspiration in the world around you. This year, why not turn that inspiration into a practice of mindfulness through a vivid display art of flower arranging? It’s fun, pretty, and full of opportunities to tune in to your surroundings. Here are a few basic guidelines, along with some gorgeous floral creations by 20-year veteran ikebana artist Miyako Ballesteros, to get you started

Less Is More

You don’t need dramatic arrangements or fancy, costly materials to bring life and color into your home. Embellish a windowsill with a few small blooms from your backyard, placed in delicate jars like the ones pictured below. If you’re using clear containers, add a few drops of food coloring to the water for a subtle flourish.

When using more than one container, consider how they work together to fill the space.

Tool Time

Flower arrangements can be so much more than placing stems in vases. These tools used by professional florists can open up new possibilities.

tools for making flower arrangements
Clockwise from the top: clippers, floral tape, floral wire, flower frog

As you arrange, place each flower as if it’s facing the sun: up and out.

three glass bottles with flowers in them, minimalist
Materials used: Lily grass, Billy button

Line, Color, and Space


Before you start a mindful flower arrangement, there are a few things to consider:

Where do you want your creation to live? Once you’ve chosen a space, examine it from all angles to get a sense of shape, lighting, color, and general atmosphere.

Ask yourself what flowers and container will harmonize with the space you’ve chosen. What colors and shapes? For example, do you want something tall and skinny, or full and round?

To start, choose a flower with a strong line, ideally the tallest flower you plan to use, and place it. Then work down from highest point to the lowest.

Before you place each flower, hold it in your hands; notice the curve of its stem. Twirl it around to see how it looks from different angles. Notice the variation in color, the direction the flower is pointing. Consider how it harmonizes with the space and arrangement. Then, slowly and with intention, place the flower.

bouquet in a basket. a vivid display
Materials used: Snapdragon, Gerbera daisy, Kiwi vine

A Fresh Look

Try going for a walk to look for natural materials to arrange with. Don’t restrict yourself to just flowers—look for interesting branches or even pieces of bark, as in the arrangement pictured above. Get experimental to capture a vivid display of flowers.

“Pairing the natural flora of your area with cut organic flowers is one way to arrange in a conscious manner,” writes Anthony Ward in his 2017 book, Being with Flowers. Using found materials is not only an opportunity to get creative with arrangements, it also offers a new way to interact with your environment. “As you start to observe the world around you in the present moment, you may find more to work with than you expected.”

Contrast, Balance, and Movement

Don’t be afraid to be bold. This arrangement, for example, is all about texture and focal point. It features only one flower, yet the flower makes a serious statement and a vivid display of colors. Jutting dramatically to one side, all the materials work to create a line that draws the eye toward that pop of pink. And the dry, gritty textures contrast the silky softness of the fresh gerbera daisy.

As you’re arranging, feel how your body responds to each placement. Trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to move things around or take pieces out.

log with flower and palm buds. a vivid display
Materials used: Gerbera daisy, found tree bark, palm buds


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About the author

Claire Zimmerman

Claire Ciel Zimmerman is the deputy editor of Mindful.