Thai flower garlands, photo courtesy edna astronomia-estrada
Thai floral decoration is an art that has been in practice since the early times of history. It makes use not only of flowers but also leaves and branches and some additional materials such as incense sticks or candles. The most common of all the country's floral creations are garlands known as malai. They are made by stringing together various flower combinations that depend on seasonal blooms and the creator's imagination. The mixture, however, will always include one or more fragrant flowers, usually jasmine buds and roses. Garlands range from simple to highly complex and are placed as offerings on shrines, presented to honoured guests and used on many other special occasions.
Thai flower garland, photo courtesy edna astronomia-estrada
One of the most basic forms of Thai flower arrangemnt is poom. This is made up of flowers arranged into a lotus shape on a stem glass bowl by embedding them in a core of moist earth or sawdust. The pattern is achieved by the use of flowers of different colour. Bowl arrangements are often used in wedding ceremonies, when they are placed beneath the hands of the bride and groom, to receive holy water poured by the guests.
Creating poom flower arrangement, photo from here
Various poom flower arrangements, photo source
Poom flower arrangement, photo source
Bai sri floral arrangement, photo courtesy Robert Wilson
Bai sri flower and banana trees arrangement, photo courtesy Paul Boscher
Another type of Thai floral decoration is in the form of a net cover over a saffron robe folded into a rectangular shape. Flowers used are crown flowers, bachelor's buttons and jasmines. There are also curtain and chandelier types of flower arrangement. These are never used as offerings or in any rituals. They are pure decorative and are usually hung at the window or from the ceiling.