Summer has arrived…so let’s celebrate!

Now’s the time to make the most of the longer days and (hopefully) sunny weather with a barbecue or party for your family and friends. Whether it’s a birthday, sporting event or the end of exams, there’s bound to be a reason to celebrate – and a floral table design adds the finishing touch.

Reaseheath College floristry lecturer Helen Cooke has plenty of ideas which are simple, inexpensive and splendidly effective. Here she shares one of her suggestions, so let’s get creative!

For Helen’s design you will need:

  1. A clear glass or Perspex container, square or round, from your kitchen cupboards. Vintage glassware is also good if it suits your theme. If you don’t possess a suitable container, buy one inexpensively from a garden centre, home interior store or charity shop.
  2. One third of a block of oasis
  3. A mixed bunch of flowers with straight stems (Here Helen uses Dianthus, Spray Dianthus and  Chrysanthemums). Choose your colours to match your event (e.g. red, white and blue), stick to one colour or go multi coloured *
  4. Pot tape *
  5. Midolino sticks in a bright colour * or wooden kebab sticks
  6. Sisal (pink in this instance) *
  7. Wispy bear grass or similar *
  8. A small dish or saucer
  9. Kitchen scissors and sharp knife
  10. Some filling for the sides of your container. Here Helen has used small wooden blocks, but you could use slices of citrus fruits, retro sweets like liquorice allsorts or even lego to echo your theme.
  11. A few fronds of garden foliage (Helen uses leather leaf).

TOP TIP You can easily buy the materials marked * from your local florist

Step 1

Trim your oasis so that it sits just below the rim of your container and within your dish, then soak by placing in a bowl of water.

TOP TIP Don’t push the oasis under the water as it will trap air bubbles. Float on the surface and wait until it changes to dark green (1 min)

Step 2

Tape the oasis to your dish

Step 3

Cover the whole of your oasis with small pieces of foliage. Begin with the edges and work upwards, aiming for a domed effect. Don’t worry about gaps – you’ll soon fill those with flowers!

Step 4

Put some filler in the bottom of your container, sit the oasis onto this base and carefully fill in the sides with more filler so the oasis is hidden. Use scrunched up wisps of sisal if you run out.

Step 5

Add your smaller flowers individually, trimming them so they sit at the same height of your foliage. Then add one or three larger flowers as a focal centre. Remove any foliage first. (Helen uses both sizes of dianthus)

  • Add small flowers

  • Add central focus

Step 6

Fill in any gaps (Helen uses green spray chrysanthemum ‘Kermit’), and wisps of sisal.

TOP TIP For maximum impact, make sure the flowers do not touch each other

  • Fill in any gaps

  • Add sisal

Step 7

Add finishing touches with a few strands of ornamental grasses and customise with skewers of strawberries, cheeses or marsh mallows.

Step 8

Display and wait for the complements!

Interested in learning more about our award winning floristry department? Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, holds monthly taster workshops and leisure courses suitable for beginners to professionals, plus industry recognised courses for the career florist. Financial support is available for professional qualifications.

FREE Employer Upskilling:  Wednesday 28th June

Offsite workshops at nearby Rookery Hall Hotel

Visit the website or contact Sue Poole on 01270 613213 or email

This article also appears in the current Shire Magazine. See page 104.