On the blog today I’m sharing this dreamy summer flower workshop with gorgeous peonies. With today being the first of June (how can it be June already?!) it’s officially summer time! One of my favourite seasons, the warm sunny weather, longer days, trips to the seaside with fish and chips on the beach, cow parsley growing abundantly everywhere and BBQ’s to name just a few of my favourite summer time things. What do you love best about summer? Then there are the flowers, summer brings with it a plethora of beautiful varieties. Including some of my all time favourites; Peonies, Sweet Peas, Aquilegia, Lupins and those stunning Garden Roses. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Joanne (I know great name, right 😉 ) who is currently in the process of studying floristy and making a career change from PA to starting up her own flower business.
We created bridal bouquets, urn and centre piece designs which were both foam free. We had a wonderful day and alongside flowering we chatted about business, social media, flowers (of course) and Chelsea Flower show was another hot topic. First up on the agenda for the day were bridal bouquets. I demonstrated to Jo our front facing technique. Which can be rather tricky to begin with but once mastered I feel gives you a much more natural shape. Jo chose a number of different ingredients for her design including; tree peonies, peonies, sweet peas, antique carnations, achillea, aquilegia, orlaya along with some other British beauties. Isn’t Jo’s bouquet stunning she done such a fab job and was a natural when it came to the technique she picked it up straight away. We finished the bouquet off with gorgeous hanging silk ribbon from Silk and Pearl in a dove grey shade.
Throughout the day Jo kept insisting she wasn’t photogenic pfft! I beg to differ! She looks lovely and so natural in front of the camera, wouldn’t you agree? Once we had taken a sufficient amount of photos (honestly? We took lots! There was lots of photo faffing to get the best angle etc. but that’s all part of the fun!) we then moved onto urns. Created using a frog and chicken wire, a technique Jo hadn’t created before and one that I tend to prefer to using floral foam. This being for a few reasons the first is that it is of course more environmentally friendly. The other is that again I feel you create a more natural and organic design that is less rigid. There’s also quite a few flowers and foliage’s that don’t like floral foam so it can sometimes limit your flower choices and overall design too.
For the urn we implied the go big or go home ethos! I also wanted to show Jo that you can bend/break the rules in terms of scale and proportion. You don’t necessarily have to have the arrangement in proportion with the size of vessel, as long as it looks good it doesn’t matter in my book! For this design we used Emerus to give height. Along with an unusual variety of Allium that I have never come across before which had lovely wiggly stems. Peonies, Sweet Peas, Aquilegia and those purple Iris’s which added a different pop of colour to the design. Now Iris’s are not usually one of my go to flowers but after working with these beauties last week I think I may have been a bit hasty discarding them! They are stunning flowers, I’m definitely a convert. I intend to use them more going forward.
Jo’s stunning front facing urn design captured on Claire’s milk stall, the perfect accompaniment to a urn full of flowers, no? We had a lunch stop (very much needed I had worked up a real appetite by this point!) Followed by tea and delicious handmade carrot cake made yet again by my mother in law (thanks so much Julie). In the afternoon we moved onto low centre pieces along with tablescape styling. These again were foam free. This time as they were centre pieces to be placed on tables the flowers were placed all the way round as opposed to being front facing. Sometimes it’s the finishing touch ingredients added to a design that I feel makes all the difference. In this case it was the cow parsley that really added a lightness and depth to Jo’s compote design.
The last part of the day was spent creating a tablescape for the finished arrangements. Jo is planning on adding the images to her website so we felt it would be nice to have some lifestyle shots showing the arrangements in situ as it they were adorning a table for a dinner party of wedding. Silk runners draped across the table paired with brass candle sticks and candles, create an understated elegance feel.
I adore teaching! I get so much joy passing on my knowledge and seeing the students gorgeous designs that they create. Earlier in the week I received the loveliest email from Jo, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! “It was lovely to meet you, I really enjoyed the day and learnt some great new skills – thank you so much, it was a great day!” How wonderful is that? Didn’t Jo do an amazing job with her creations? I for one can’t wait to see her new website launch and will be watching her floral journal eagerly, I think she is going to be very successful! Thank you to Claire for the stunning images.
Hope you have a lovely weekend
Image Credits: Claire Graham