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Class teaches floral design, offers connection to nature
RAYMOND, Miss. -- When Jim DelPrince became a horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, his goal was to get flowers in the hands of Mississippians.
That includes young people.
“Connecting young learners with nature is one of my goals with my floral design programs,” said DelPrince, who is based at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. “This is a way to get children to look to nature for inspiration and for design materials. We have a plethora of materials all around us. It’s not always necessary to buy materials for floral design projects.”
A grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts provided partial funding to help him train educators in the principles of floral design. Eight art and natural resources teachers took the Nature is Art/Art is Nature class.
Participants learned how to make a fresh arrangement, a flower crown, a Japanese ikebana floral arrangement, and a miniature landscape floral design with flowers from the landscape or local growers. They also learned how to work creatively with ribbon.
Teachers used the principles they learned to do several projects, including leaf butterflies, floral bookmarks, flower art, and grapevine and herb wreaths, with their students.
Based on this class and the participants’ experiences, DelPrince is developing a publication to help educators teach young people the fundamentals of floral design while using objects from nature. Teachers, 4-H leaders, junior garden club leaders and other educators may find the publication helpful.
DelPrince offers floral design programs for floral enthusiasts of all ages and professional and aspiring florists. For more information about these programs, visit the Floral Design page on the Extension website.