Sunday, 22 April 2018

Spring at last

Spring has come late this year. In March the only things up in our garden were hellebores and a few early daffodils. But I was able to buy these bright spring flowers from my supplier in Cornwall - multi-headed narcissi, double daffodils, tulips and snowdrops. We used these to make naturalistic arrangements in three parts (like a triptych) in my March workshop:
I`ve also been buying gorgeous tulips from Smith and Musson (based in Lincolnshire). I love these deep plum-coloured ones. I mixed them up with clematis, waxflower and spray roses in this white urn. I really like plum up against white like this:
Here is a simple and effective idea for showing off tulips. They are in jam jars placed in a pretty crate:
Another idea is to use a flower brick. I bought this one when we were in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. It is based on an old method (it has a removable lid with holes in it) and the blue and white design is a traditional Delftware pattern with a modern twist. Easy to use and very effective.
I arranged the flowers for Annie and Ed's wedding in April. They got married in Bakewell - here are their flowers ready to go. Just a bouquet, posy, a couple of buttonholes and a few jars to carry from place to place as the day unfolded:
After the wedding they went for a ramble in the Peak District - they both have their walking boots on at this point in proceedings. Such a happy day, and so reflective of their interests and values.
At last our garden has some flowers growing in it. There are lots of white blooming flowers - fabulous daffodils, pear blossom, tulips and narcissi :
We also have lots of blue flowers at this time of year. Some old friends which appear every year - rosemary, bluebells (just starting) and muscari (grape hyacinths). Also some new perennials only recently planted - brunnera and anemones:
Then we have some brilliant purple/mauve flowers. Aubretia so vivid it is hard to look at, intriguing snakes head fritillary and, of course, tulips.
I will finish off with the simplest of little arrangements for a dinner table in spring.

Sunday, 18 February 2018


It's easy to get into the flower doldrums in February. It's still winter and nothing is flowering in our garden yet apart from a few unhappy hellebores. But this winter, my heart has been lifted by embroidered flowers. It all started at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. They were exhibiting the works (embroidered) of May Morris, William's daughter. She was chief designer of embroidery at Morris and Company. At first she followed her father's style, but over time she developed her own complex and beautiful designs. Often these included flowers and birds:
She lifted embroidery from a domestic craft to a serious art form. Here are a few more examples of her work.
But the domestic craft can also be wondrous. This work was embroidered my Mike's grandfather who was a miner. He produced this embroidery when he could no longer exert himself physically very much.
 Mike's mother also created some beautiful pieces - full of flowers and birds and not so very different from the Morris style.
Back to the real thing! We have now acquired a new propagator with both heat and light and we have started off some germination.
Then, at last, some spring flowers for Valentine's Day last week. I bought tulips, snowdrops, exquisite green iris and narcissi (wonderful scent).
The flowers were delivered on Tuesday morning and all the bouquets, posies and bunches I put together had been collected by the evening - it was busy and I had no time to take any pictures of the finished things. But I did make a few simple arrangements for our home:
I also developed some ideas for a new workshop using a naturalistic style. This involves placing the flowers vertically into the container as if they were growing. I think this looks really delightful and I will be running the new workshop on Saturday 10 March.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year

This Autumn I started Emma Davies' wonderful photography course so that I could improve the pictures I take of flowers. The course is on-line and you can either do it for free, or add in some cost, like the workbook included in the image above. I am trying to be more thoughtful about some of the photos I take. I was trying to capture some of the elements of Christmas wreath-making in this picture. I ran two wreath-making workshops in December this year. Here are some of the participants from the first one:
I caught a few people at work in the second workshop. Notice the glass of wine already at hand!
And here they are with their finished wreaths.
I made two wreaths for myself. I hung one inside and one on an outer door - just look what a difference the light makes.
I didn`t run a table centre workshop this year, so I missed getting a delivery of Christmas flowers. This meant I was driven to buy last-minute flowers from the supermarket. Most of them were very disappointing - nasty bunches full of glitter and dye, and lots of nearly dead flowers. I liked Sainsbury's offering best and I bought a couple of mixed bunches - they were in jewel-like colours and included roses, chrysanthemums, gerberas and the odd bit of foliage. I added foliage from the garden - choisya, ivy, holly, sarcaccoca(with brilliant black berries) and rosemary. I used pewter vases for everything and was pretty pleased with the results: we approach Twelfth Night and the end of the Christmas festivities I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and thank you for all your interest and support during 2017. I am looking forward to sharing new ideas with you for things to do with flowers in 2018.
With very best wishes, Liz