Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year are the two floral heavyweights of the year, and in 2018 they’re coming within two days of each other. If you’re opting to put together bouquets yourself rather than buying off the rack – which is so much more personal – then we suggest you follow these handy tips.
Floral artist Gary Kwok, who partnered with Giorgio Armani in 2002 to launch Armani/Fiori in Hong Kong, shows us how to put together stunning arrangements for both occasions.
1. Think outside the box
People tend to go for traditional hues like red and orange for Lunar New Year. Kwok suggests using colours that reflect your loved one’s personality and can complement their home decor. To suit both Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year, Kwok chose a predominantly pink and purple palette, with arrangements that are romantic and modern, as well as vibrant for the two occasions.
2. Be romantic without roses
Roses aren’t everything. Kwok likes genista for its soft, delicate smell, which she thinks is suitable for Valentine’s Day. Also, opt for ranunculus if you’re aiming for romance with a touch of flattery – not only are the multi-layered, tightly petalled blooms beautiful to the eye, but in floral linguistics, a bouquet of these flowers means “I am dazzled by your charms”.
3. Be symbolic
Impress your loved one by reading up on flower symbology. Japanese sweetpeas represent sweet memories and festivities, while snowballs, which look exactly how they sound, stand for harvest and victory. Narcissus is also a popular flower for Lunar New Year. “It symbolises auspice and conveniently flowers around Lunar New Year,” Kwok says. “The Chinese believe that if the flowers blossom on the first day of the new year, it means good luck.”
4. Branch out
Kwok likes to use flowering branches for Lunar New Year because of the height and volume they create, not to mention the abundance of the blooms symbolise wealth in Chinese culture. Similarly, she also uses gloriosa in her arrangements, not just because of the upbeat, vibrant colour, but also because the shape of the flower adds dynamic movement to the overall picture.
5. There’s no ‘wrong way’
“My style of floral design is incredibly versatile, allowing you to experiment with different looks and combinations,” Kwok says. Smaller bouquets can stand alone to make a statement on their own, or can be grouped together to create a dramatic centrepiece. This method also comes in handy when some flowers wilt sooner than others.
“Using flowers to decorate your home is fun and easy, anyone can do it,” she says. Kwok has launched her first coffee table book, Flowers & Design, in which readers can discover her iconic style.