Longwood Gardens welcomes Floral Design Instructor Jane Godshalk as a guest blogger for Behind-the-Plants! Jane is an award-winning floral designer who teaches a variety of courses through Longwood’s Continuing Education program. Find out more about her classes on Longwood’s website.
As a late bloomer, working with flowers has enhanced my life—first as a hobby, then as an art, and later as a career. Throughout my early life I was a dilettante skipping from one thing to the next, the piano and harpsichord, guitar, an MBA, the tennis team, golf and then finally (whew!) my “passion” for floral design stopped my spinning and gave me a focus. It began with a great appreciation of nature: trees for their strength, branch structure and foliage; perennials for their magic of sometimes actually re-blooming; and of course flowers for their ephemeral moments of breathtaking beauty. I have studied extensively with top designers in Europe and the US, exhibited in flower shows, and you can see the rest on my website www.janegodshalk.com. My passion and study led me to join the faculty at Longwood Gardens as a Floral Design instructor.
Longwood’s Continuing Education classes offer a wide variety of floral design opportunities. The Basic 1 class is a perfect introduction for anyone interested in learning about flower arranging, be it for the home or career. We also have a Certificate Program, and a series of ever-changing elective courses that cover both traditional and cutting-edge, modern floral designs. Once a month you will also find a Floral Fun class with seasonal materials and themes. In every class you will take home a beautiful flower arrangement for your home.
Longwood’s floral design classes offer a wonderful opportunity to explore your senses—not only your sense of smell, which is the theme for the “Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance” exhibition, but also our sense of touch. How does this sense of touch enhance our relationship with plants and flowers? Sometimes it is almost irresistible not to reach out and touch a shiny leaf, textured bark, or delicate flower. When looking at a thorny trunk or branch you can almost feel the sharp, pricking sensation. The visual sensation of texture can arouse a strong urge to touch, and even create a feeling without actual contact.
Working with flowers in floral design allows the sense of touch to come alive in the process of unifying different forms, colors, and textures into an arrangement. The satisfaction of seeing and feeling branches, leaves, and flowers, and combining them into different shapes and sizes of floral designs is immense.
Teaching floral design at Longwood Gardens is a great pleasure and I hope to meet some of you in classes soon.