Channeling John James


Channeling John James

Our Floral Design committee organized a fabulous demonstration with San Francisco Floral Designer John James. Laughs, great design ideas, bubbles and a little San Francisco gossip sprinkled in ;)   After raffling off his gorgeous arrangements, John suggested that the last raffle item should be the bucket of gorgeous flowers that had not been used by James in his demonstration.  The catch?  The winner was required to create her own arrangement (hopefully using his suggestions for mechanics and design) and share a picture of the final result with John.  Fear struck the room, and eyes quickly averted from John's gaze... and the lucky winner was me (yikes)!  I decided to share not only the final result, but also the tips and tricks we learned along the way (they are in bold highlights) so that we could all benefit.

This picture shows the bucket of beautiful flower material that I had to work with - I reassured myself that nothing could go wrong with all of this beauty!!


  • As John suggested, I laid out all of the flowers to see what and how much I had to work with.  I was grateful that they had all been conditioned beforehand:


  • I used chicken wire in the container to assist the mechanics - I did not have Oasis to use under the wire, but really didn't need it.  I added two sturdy asymmetrical camellia branches from my garden, one on either side, to establish the criss-cross structure that would provide the base for weaving in the remaining components.  As I added more, I tried to think about arranging the plant material as they would grow.  Once I had added enough plant material, I used water tubes to supplement the design with some of the more fragile (or shorter) flowers.



These are the only two pieces I did not use:  ==>














the final result:

Hope you like it - it was so fun to create after being inspired by
John's talent and enthusiasm!

More things we learned:

  • Daffodils and narcissus are poisonous to other flowers - separate in your arrangement with water tubes.
  • Ranunculus with discrete/dark centers last longer than those without.
  • Fritillaria of all different shapes and colors were big crowd pleasers.
  • Hammer hydrangea stems and put in really HOT water to condition, slit stems when putting in container.
  • Water tubes can be taped to sticks to add height.
  • Consider potted flowers to supplement your design using tubes (e.g. African violets).
  • Wrap ribbon bow ends on gifts around water tubes to add a fresh floral touch.
  • Wrap chicken wire sloppily around a column or elsewhere and cover flowers in water tubes.

Feel free to comment, or share what you learned too!

Comment 0 Likes