Blooming marvellous

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am

The smell of fresh flowers is as comforting as baked bread and cookies in creating a home.

Sandy Lau Pui-fan, from Anglo Chinese Florist, says when clients select blooms, they often use the colours in their home as a starting point. Lau has also seen interior designers create items such as top-side-down hanging pots to help people include natural elements in even the most unexpected or small spaces.

'Best of all, unlike fixtures, you can change flowers easily and the fragrance helps give uniqueness to a room,' Lau says. 'Often colours and shapes in nature are unique and hard to find in commercially produced items. You can introduce many colours with flowers to create a different mood.'

Solomon Leong, who runs Solomon Bloemen Bespoke Floral Designs, says black flowers such as lilies, tulips and roses and leaves are becoming popular, complementing the black trend in interior decoration. 'These flowers are not painted but have been bred to occur naturally,' Leong says. 'They are slightly more expensive because they are new but the effect is really worth it. Black flowers are like a living botanical sculpture for your home and are especially suitable for Hong Kong homes because they tend to be more architectural.'

Florist Gary Kwok also says darker tones such as purple and fuchsia are in fashion.

Ovo Garden florist Mandy To Man-ting recommends carnations for a cosy feel, or roses in the bedroom for an intimate look. 'We are now in spring so we recommend colourful flowers such as roses and orchids, or you may try long-lasting 'ingredients' such as lemons for your arrangement,' To says.

Leong says oriental-inspired arrangements continue to be sought-after and suit minimalist interiors. But Ikebana, the traditional art of Japanese flower arranging, is not as popular as it once was in Hong Kong, Lau says. 'Instead, a new form, similar to the Ichiyo style [which is related to Ikebana] has taken increasing importance,' Lau explains. 'With Ichiyo we use various flowers, leaves or branches to create eye-catching structures, instead of arranging them in traditional vases or containers. They have simple colour combinations, and are less compact, to let individual flowers stand out.'

For something different, Kwok suggests using wine glasses, varying heights of candle holder or even mugs to hold your arrangements. The use of food containers or edible items such as fruit in floral arrangements are also unusual talking-points. 'This links people's desire for food when they least expect it,' Lau says. The Anglo Chinese Florist has previously included a teapot, baking dish, three-tier cake tray, and even red, green and yellow capsicums lined with plastic to hold arrangements. 'Sometimes we try to make the flowers resemble food, such as a mini-flower arrangement wrapped in green to look like sushi,' Lau says.

When entertaining, Kwok says it is important to consider the room's surroundings so that colours co-ordinate. 'You need to look at details so everything gels together,' she says.

If you are hosting a dinner party, Kwok likes to use candles and keep arrangements on the table below a foot in height so that guests can still talk to one another.

For cocktails, Kwok suggests small arrangements without complicated decoration and even simpler colours in just one tone, or even a number of potted plants.