Florists or flower arranging is the art of creating bouquets and compositions from flowers, foliages, herbs, ornamental grasses and other botanical materials into floral designs; often the terms "floral design" and "floristry" are considered synonymous. A person who designs flower arrangements is known as a florist.
A notable example is ikebana. The latter term actually became an informal synonym for this type of art, nevertheless many nations have their own distinctive traditions of flower arrangement. Ikebana represents the Oriental style of floral design, which features simplicity and purity of lines and colors. In contrast, European style features mass and color richness and variety.
Floristry is most often understood as referring to the cultivation of flowers as well as their arrangement, rather than to the business of selling them. However, the floral industry is the basic drive behind floristry. Florists are people who work with flowers, generally at the retail level. Florist shops, along with telephone sales and online stores, are the main flower-only outlets, but supermarkets and garden supply stores have gotten into the business, selling flowers as one of their large range of products.
The World Wide Web has had a significant impact on traditional florists within the North American market; experiencing a more than 20% decline in traditional independently owned flower shops since 1998. Brick and mortar retail arrangement purchases for gift giving are slowly being overtaken by online flower delivery ordering and floral wire services.
Generally, a florist shop will contain a large array of flowers, often spilling out into the street, or will have a large plate glass window to display the flowers. To keep them fresh, the flowers will likely be kept in water, generally in plastic bulbs, sleeves, or other containers.