I have always arranged flowers in a natural way, so when I first went to night classes to study flower arranging, I found it very restrictive. The idea of counting out how many stems I would use seemed very rigid. However, after completing the course I realised that the rules made a certain amount of sense as they bring good structure to an arrangement. I also found that by using a good amount of foliage, you can get better value from the flowers. As a tutor of mine once said: “It’s difficult to mess it up when you have beautiful flowers and fresh foliage as the ingredients.”

For anyone interested in having a go at a Christmas arrangement, the first thing to consider is where you will position it when it is completed. Think about where it will be viewed from: will it be up against a wall or viewed from all round? Another consideration is to keep it low if it is to be used as a table centre, and try to figure out just how much space will be left for the arrangement once the table is dressed for Christmas dinner.