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Texture Triumphs

by Tom Bowling, AIFD

Autumn is the time of year when texture becomes a major consideration in floral design. While texture is always present in any floral styling, fall has a definite association with textural components. Grasses and foliages change character, giving a stronger presence in arrangements. Richer colors, more substantial forms, and strong linear contributions enhance floral stylings with texture. With so many available choices, we can group the materials into categories of grasses, foliages, accents, fillers, and forms.

Broom Corn

Grasses add color, line, form and texture to an autumn styling. Broom corn with its strong linear stalk has plume like tops that add visual texture and a rich earthy brown tone that is popular at this time of year. Ruby Silk love grass has a silky, feathery texture with a subtle contribution of ruby coloration. Wheat, Giant rye, and millets are generally associated with a harvest, which is a perfect addition to invoke the gathering season. Also available during the fall season are mixed bundles of assorted grasses. These make great topiaries when inserted upright into floral foam. Most grasses create more of an impact when grouped together versus being spread throughout the composition. Since many of the ornamental grasses maintain their integrity after drying, it is easy to use them in bundles that are placed on top of the floral foam and held in place by wooden picks or S-pins. Adding a bit of ribbon and gluing on some faux floral trims such as pumpkins, gourds, or other seasonal trims is another great way to dress up grasses.


Foliages in the autumn season are a major contributor to the overall impact of the composition. Often foliages are used as a mechanics cover without much additional consideration to the impact of the design. Many of this season’s foliage have a subtle gray tone, which acts as a melding or blending color for colors that may be more difficult to unite. Acacia, eucalyptus and gray bark melaleuca are excellent examples of gray foliage. Rosemary also has a blue-gray color and adds an excellent fragrance too.

Myrtle, boxwood, and steel grass contribute a rich green color to a composition. Aussie pine, with its feathery texture, has flame like orange tips that coordinate wonderfully with the analogous colors used in fall designs. What a great time to explore this broad selection of foliage choices!


Accents are the spice or unexpected find that gives interest in a design. Ornamental pepper, pumpkin tree and safflower all contribute interest forms as well as autumn colors to an autumn styling. Leucadendrons such as safari sunset, jubilee crown, and salignum cones give a cone like interest to designs and color enhancement too. They vary from deep rich red-browns to vibrant yellow-green. Pincushions and pink ice protea are often used as focal interest and are very long lasting. Ornamental kale is also a great choice for a more unusual focal interest. Craspedia with its sphere or orb form provides much interest because of its unusual shape and golden coloration. These too are best used in groups or with multiple placements.

Linear accents have abundant choices too. Curly willow, hanging amaranthus, cat tails, and silver tree give visual strength to a floral styling. Honey bracelet, kunzea, and melaleuca have a linear quality with a more subtle contribution of line and color.


Fall fillers include bupleurum and many tints of waxflower. Bupleurum has vibrant green foliage with a bloom of golden yellow at the tip when mature. It makes a great alternative to the traditional fillers that many of our clients are used to seeing. Queen Anne’s lace and Orlaya have a subtle creamy white coloration that works well especially in event work such as weddings. It helps blend both colors and textures. Waxflower has multiple delicate florets that can be used in the natural colors of lavender, pink, purple and white, but also have been expanded to include tints of orange, golden yellow, terracotta, raspberry, purple tint and sapphire blue. They make great additions for color and texture and perform well in both water and foam based stylings.

Ocean View Flowers has an abundant selection of interest materials to add the spice to your autumn selections. Ask your wholesaler for the best product for your customers; ask for Ocean View Flowers!