Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
Diamond Jubilee Waterfall
To commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the 20th Anniversary of Friends of Government House Gardens Society a Horticultural event was hosted in the gardens and Great Hall of Government House in Victoria, Canada entitled British Columbia Blooms.
I staged a design in class 1 Waterfall.
As a mechanic I securely spiked a petrified piece of driftwood to a river pebble to look as if it is precariously perched on the edge of a waterfall.
To create the illusion of a free flowing and floating water stream the entire design falls from a single, thin but exceptionally strong coiled piano wire threaded through the wood. The piano wire disappears completely next to the bright royal purple sisal fibres, orchids and vines when placed against the grey backdrop. This single wire and driftwood had to carry 1.7 kg of glass, water and plant material!
The top part of the design is tumultuous and swirls of rosary vine and passion vines with tendrils curl around the driftwood and up and over Phalaenopsis orchids before peacefully spilling down the front of the design.
Each vine stem and orchid floats in the stream and down the waterfall in its own tiny glass seahorse. I used 68 water filled seahorses in the design. I also added clear beads to some of the flax fibres to reflect light and pick up on the clear glass of the seahorses.
I used miniature Phalaenopsis orchids in the water stream top part of the design to add perspective. The smaller orchids appear to recede further into the background advancing the waterfall part of the design dressed with larger orchids to the front.
Tones of blue and purple also add to the aerial perspective of the design (the further things are away from your eyes, seen in natural light, the more blue-purple they appear to be) and it is the colour associated with royalty and nobility in human colour psychology. To observe the Diamond Jubilee theme I wanted to make sure the entire design appears to be wrapped in a misty haze of royal purple.
I glued hundreds of singular threads of royal purple sisal fibres and grey green ripped flax fibres to curl up, over and around the top of the design and then delicately float down the front to follow the orchids and exactly match the vines.
The rosary vines were exposed to direct sunlight weeks prior to the show to make sure they have a vivid royal purple tone. I also grew the purple flowering passion fruit vines without a climber support to encourage extra-long blue purple tipped tendrils to add to the movement of the tumbling design.
Three slightly different tints and tones of purple Phalaenopsis orchids hang down the waterfall part of the arrangement to give the design the illusion of depth. Cooler light tinted blue purple orchids hang from the back strands and appear even more distant than the warmer toned red purple orchids hanging down the front. True royal purple orchids, the same colour as the closed drop shaped passion fruit buds, the rosary vine and sisal fibres hang from the center strands.
Thank you to the Friends of Government House Gardens Society for the opportunity to design in the historical Government House building in British Columbia’s beautiful capital Victoria.
I received a ribbon award for my design
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