Tri-City Rose Society
The Basics Oriental Manner Modern 
Arranging Tradtional Mass Miniatures Dried Roses Rose Crafts Home

Rose Arranging 101(or Rose Arranging for Dummies)
by JoAnn Brehm, ARS Accredited Arrangement Judge and TCRS Member

You CAN learn how to make a beautiful arrangement in just a few steps and your society rose arrangers are here to help. A different arrangement will be feathered each month by our arrangers who will guide you through the basic steps and tell you their secrets to a successful design. By June, you will know how to create at least six different types of arrangements and we sincerely hope that you will try at least one for the show. So clip these articles out and keep them handy to practice as your garden starts to bloom this spring.

First, an introduction of arrangement types and basics that you can use no matter what type of arrangement you make.

Traditional Arrangements (Line, Line-Mass, and Mass) - Grand dames of arrangements that have been around for hundreds of years. Think of Queen Victoria, European mansions, and Early America.

Modern Arrangements (Modern and Abstract) - Newer, sleeker styles of arrangements that have developed during the last 40 to 50 years. Think of Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso, glass and steel skyscrapers, and the space age.

Oriental Manner (Low Container and Tall Container) - Mysterious, simple yet elegant, ritualistic arrangements introduced during the past century. Think of a Japanese garden, a flowing stream, and bringing nature inside.

Miniature Arrangements - Petite versions of the above arrangements. Think of reducing the big arrangements down to a size less than 10 inches using a copier. Everything is in the same proportion, yet much smaller.

All you need is a sense of design, patience, and a little knowledge to create your own design. You already have a sense of design since you've seen arrangements at shows, know what is pleasing to you, and in most instances know why certain arrangements win even though you may not be able to express it in words. Also, you have patience (you baby your roses all year to watch them bloom for o nly a few days). Lastly, we are going to give you the knowledge: simple step-by-step instructions to create your own arrangements.

Drawing of a Line Design arrangementThree important elements in every design are ones you learned way back in preschool: color, line, and size. Remember your assortment of color crayons that you used to draw various shapes and sizes of lines; straight lines, circles, triangles, curvy lines, and just plain scribbles dancing all over the page? That's it! You now know enough to get going on your own design. First prepare your materials, then use the following steps to put your design together.

Materials for a Line Design or a Line-Mass Design

  • tall, simple container (vase) - earth-tone color or black
  • oasis soaked until wet - cut to size of vase
  • 2 fresh iris leaves, called line material, both 1.5 to 2 times the width plus the height of vase plus amount to be in vase.
  • 3 roses (for Line, 1 tall stem bud, 1 medium stem more open bloom, 1 shorter stem fully open bloom) or 7 (for Line-Mass, various stages) - fresh, groomed, all same rose or similar, rose color compatible with vase color
  • 3 hosta leaves (for Line) or 5 (for Line-Mass) - fresh, groomed
  • rose foliage, or similar foliage, called filler material (for Line-Mass)
  • pruners to cut plant material, water to fill vase

Steps for Creating a Line Design

1. Place wet oasis into vase, turn front towards you.

2. Cut 3 inches off bottom of one line material (iris leaf), place both together in back center of the oasis, pull top of shorter leaf about 1 inch away from the other (to either side).

3. Cut tall stem bud to 1/2 to 2/3 length of line material plus amount t o be in vase, place into oasis in front of iris.

4. Cut more open bloom to length to fit in front of and lower than bud, place into oasis in front of bud.

5. Cut open bloom to length to fit in front of and lower than second bloom, place into oasis in front of second bloom ~ 1 to 2 inches above lip of vase. Line material and blooms should be one in front of the other as they face you.

6. Place hosta leaves in oasis, around lip of vase to create focal point around open bloom and hide oasis (in back too).

Steps for Creating a Line-Mass Design In addition to the above steps

1. When adding the 3 main roses, add additional roses to the sides of the three main roses and lower than the highest bud, generally smaller ones near the top bud and larger ones near the open bloom focal point. If oasis is above the lip of the vase some roses can angle down below focal point. A diamond effect is pleasing.

2. Add additional filler material to loosely fill in the area around the roses, add additional hosta leaves if desired.

Here is a example from the TCRS 2000 Rose Show in Class 2 "Poetry in Motion": Line Design showing motion.

Photo from the
TCRS 2000 Rose Show in Class 2 Poetry in Motion separation bar
This page last updated: May 24, 2002.
Copyright© 2001-2002 Tri-City Rose Society. All Rights Reserved.