Foam Free Friday

Autumnal archway

Welcome back to Foam Free Friday! Today’s post is about how to create a foam free autumn archway but of course this method applies to all seasons. This arch was made recently at the beautiful venue of Chafford Park which is nestled in the Kent countryside. Here I am looking pretty pleased with myself having completed the ceremony display!

To create this design I used two freestanding vertical structures which were from a metal arch base, the structure would usually be a full archway with a curved top but that was removed for the purpose of this design as we were crating a looser more natural/growing looking design.

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Below is how the base plates and vertical arch structure looks to begin with. They are nice and sturdy and will stay upright – this is important to think about as these designs can be very front heavy. You want the weight distributed evenly with no chance of toppling over during the ceremony! I have covered the structures in chickenwire which I will then start to weave foliage through.

I started covering the base of the chickenwire with hardy foliage which I knew would last out of water, this was mainly pistache which is a good value foliage and is great for coverage before you add your more decorative textured greenery. I decided to cover the base before going to the venue as this dramatically reduces the time it takes to create the arch – it’s always covering the mechanics that takes the time. Plus you don’t want big gaps in your design with chickenwire poking through! I used to use the green chickenwire as it is much easier to disguise and then I realised that it’s covered in plastic, which is annoying! So plain chicken wire it is then. I also added in some birch twigs and berried ivy for some added texture.

Once the base is covered I then start to make the shape with the larger branches and autumn leaves which give a lovely natural arch. Foliage I used was mostly from the amazing Irish Green Guys (such good foliage!) which included eucalyptus parvifolia, photinia, eucalyptus moorei and birch branches. Plus some additional preserved beech which means the colour stays a beautiful burnt orange but without the leaves dropping. All this is out of water, no moss is needed inside the chickenwire here. A lot of the flowers available this time of year (this was late October) are quite hardy so can handle a day out of water. I did order with this in mind and didn’t have any soft delicate stems such as astrantia or ammi which would wilt. If I were to add in soft stems I’d put in water tubes or I’d tie on grave spikes/pots/bottles/vases – anything that can hold water really!

Next, add flowers. I used roses, gorgeous caramel coloured carnations, lisianthus, amaranthus, a few large deep burgundy chrysanthemum blooms, dried teasels, altsromeiria, cymbidium orchids, autumnal bronze chrysanthemums, antirrhinum and also crab apples.

As I said above, this was all out of water and was perfectly happy all day long. It still looked pretty good when I came back to collect on the Monday morning, so it had survived all Saturday and Sunday. This was in a cool barn and would however be different on a scorching summer day. If you know the weather is going to be really hot then you’ll have to water tube or add in extra containers which hold water as mentioned above. That being said there are still quite a few flowers and foliages that will stand the test of time even on a hot day. Carnations, chrysanthemums, lisianthus and orchids to name a few.

I hope you’ve found this helpful, tune back in for more next Friday. Check out my last post here if you missed it .