‘It has been a great journey for me in this very exciting field which I call it ‘friendship through flowers’ and I have made many friends around the world, says Madhvi Ramesh Khimji
The Sultanate has been firmly placed on the floral world map thanks to the efforts of an enterprising lady who considers ‘flowers and plants’ as her loved ones. Madhvi Ramesh Khimji is singularly responsible for placing the Sultanate on the pedestal of World Association of Floral Artists (WAFA) and World Flower Council (WFC) and being the only GCC country to have this honour.
She has been successful in bringing the membership of WAFA and WFC to the Sultanate as a certified judge demonstrating floral arrangements.
“I love to teach floral art to my friends and to encourage and popularise the art in Oman. I am also training young Omanis, however, this has been stopped due to the pandemic,” says Madhvi.
Alstroemeria or Peruvian lily, Cymbidium or boat orchids, or Freesia and Lilium are flowering plants made best use of in floral design.
Most of the flowers are imported from Kenya, Holland or Ecuador are expensive and last four to five days depending on the weather conditions. Some flowers are grown, or locally available with florists. Madhvi uses flowers that last longer as the weather in Oman is not conducive for all types. These are mainly the garden flowers called Ixora and some foliage.
She has invited several international floral designers like Phubast Chesdmethee from Thailand, Hitomi Gillian from Canada, Mary Franciose from France and Carla Barbaglia from Italy to visit Oman and share their experiences.
“It has been a great journey for me in this very exciting field which I call it ‘friendship through flowers’ and I have made many friends around the world,” she says.
Madhvi recollects how she got into this amazing art in 2002. However, as her children were growing up she was busy and could not pursue her hobby.
Later she was able to travel to a host of European countries with Radhika Khimji, her daughter who is an artist.
The visits became a turning point in her life. Her visits to a host of museums exposed her to flower arranging courses in London and went on to obtain certificates from the UK and Australia. She also was able to take part in the floral shows of WAFA and WFC and bagged several awards and certificates.
Madhvi attended several WAFA shows across the world, namely in Japan, Pakistan, Boston, Barbados, Ireland and India. In addition, she also participated at the Chelsea Flower Show, WFC shows in Kenya, China and Brisbane.
Residing in Oman since 1973, Madhvi has created a small but enthusiastic floral community in Muscat and regularly shares her learning with them.
In addition, she also invited international floral artists to Oman on many occasions and shared their knowledge and creativity with an avid group of friends who have a passion for flowers in Muscat.
Madhvi has showcased her floristry skills for wedding ceremonies of some of her friend’s children and at family functions. She is planning to launch a few floral events in Muscat on a wider scale sooner once the pandemic ceases.
1) After deciding on a flower arrangement design, the flowers should be conditioned. Measure the flowers against your vase of choice and cut to size. Be sure to cut the stems at a diagonal. This will let the flowers soak up more water and help them stay alive longer.
Choose a vessel which will suit the arrangement and prepare the flower vase creating a base with greenery.
2) Use focal flowers as these are used along with greenery to create overall shape. Establish dimensions of your piece, and carry colour to the edges of the arrangement. The focal flowers are the ones that need to be highlighted.
3) Remove any extra leaves to create clean stems. Add any secondary flowers namely spray roses, mini carnations or chrysanthemums as they tend to be smaller and will round out the flower arrangement. Choose seasonal varieties for the freshest pick and mix and match flowers and foliage.
4) To establish a sturdy base, try creating a grid of tape at the mouth of the vase. Slide the stems into the openings of the grid and rest them on the tape.