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Elements of Design: Preparing Bird of Paradise
It's the time of the year when tropical flower arrangements are hot, hot items in the flower shop. Birds of paradise, orchids, protea, anthuriums, dendrobium and other exotic tropical flowers are big ticket flowers used in a wide variety of tropical arrangements. One of my favorite tropical flowers is the bird of paradise. It's a stunning beauty that brings so much to any tropical arrangement. For this reason, I recently asked Regina Berryman (AIFD, AAF) to show me some of her design techniques for creating beautiful tropical flower arrangements using bird of paradise. Here is her technique for opening bird of paradise to reveal its finest qualities.
[caption id="attachment_4854" align="aligncenter" width="106" caption="Bird of Paradise Tropical Flowers Arrangement"][/caption]
Opening Bird of Paradise To Reveal High Quality
Regina has worked with tropical flowers for many years now. Being less experienced with tropical flowers, Regina decided to show me how to open bird of paradise in a way that reveals its best quality and eliminates any flaws from shipping or packaging. First, place the stem of the bird of paradise firmly between your legs. Place both thumbs on the crease (the opening) and gently pry the crease open. Next place your thumbs together under the "heart" and raise your thumbs at the same time. This allows you to raise the beautiful part of the flower out of its shell and strip it of the lower quality flowers.
Next, oddly enough, strip the lower quality flowers. These are the light orange to white colored flowers that are next to or against the more brightly colored orange/red flowers. Since the vibrantly colored flowers give bird of paradise its appeal, strip the less colorful ones by taking a firm hold, gently pulling straight back toward the stem, then pulling the flower straight out once you have loosened it enough to be removed all at once. If you do not pull toward the stem, you run the risk of ripping the flower toward the tightly clustered base instead of removing it.
[caption id="attachment_4855" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="To open bird of paradise, place both thumbs on the crease (opening)."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4856" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Place thumbs together under the flowers and pull up."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4857" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Unfold and separate each piece."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4858" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Loosen and strip by pulling toward stem then straight out."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4859" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Now you're ready to create a beautiful tropical flower arrangement!"][/caption]