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  Education logo signifying that this article has been approved by the FASNZ Education Committee.


By Janthia Holt
(Education committee 2012)

The Oxford English Dictionary gives a definition of 'Synergy' as

  1. The combined effect of drugs, muscles, etc, that exceeds the sum of their individual effects.
  2. Increased effectiveness or achievement produced by combined action or cooperation.

In the Academy Leader Issue 76, Sept 2010, Lois Montgomery describes the significance of synergy in floral art. She quotes the National Garden Clubs Inc (USA) in their Handbook for Flower Shows:

"A Creative Design of three or more units.... Synergism is the act of two or more units necessary to achieve an effect of which each is individually incapable".

So sometimes two, sometimes three or more 'units'.....not necessarily containers, but the mechanics holding the plant material must have a common or harmonious colour/texture and or form.

Our plant material in their 'units' must work together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the units working independently. The Greek origins of the word mean 'working together'..... syn and ergos. So the value of the overall design comes from the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

In synergistic designs the plant material in the various units may be continuous (i.e. connected) or contiguous (closely placed, but not linked).

At the WAFA Show in Boston 2011, 'Synergy' was a Class title and the staging provided was three grey cubes (see p.36 of the Post Show Brochure).

The synergistic designs shown here are mainly foliage (appropriate for winter designing in the southern hemisphere), and were produced by FASNZ members at workshops in Taranaki in July 2012.

Other designs showing synergy can be found in international floral art publications.

[Click the photos below for a larger view]

  Synergy with 3 units featuring tall gerberas in one. Synergy with 2 modern slab containers     Synergy with 2 units and green lilies.  
Lesley Sutherland
New Plymouth Floral Art Club
(3 units featuring tall gerberas in one)
Jenny Meechin
Hawera Floral Art Group
(2 modern slab containers)
Christine Gordon
New Plymouth Floral Art Club
(2 units and green lilies)
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