Saturday, 3 January 2015

Christmas reflections

It has been a fantastic flowery Christmas this year. I can`t quite believe how many flowers and how much foliage has been used to make so many gorgeous arrangements. I ran two workshops in very different settings to make a Christmas table centre. This involved decorating a cube-shaped vase with dried materials and then filling it with fresh flowers and foliage. The first workshop was in the usual place for the usual number of people (just 4). These are the materials we used to decorate the vase.

First of all we made a foliage structure inside the vase with eucalyptus, pittosporum, ivy, spruce and holly. Then we added the red flowers and berries into the structure – alstroemeria, anemones, hypericum berries, lucadendron and luscious grand prix roses. As a last touch we added a bit of bling – gold wire with shiny beads attached.

Then we made 6 flowery table settings to match – some participants said they planned to hang them from their Christmas trees – what an excellent idea!

Here is the arrangement boxed up and ready to go, together with a few extras – some narcissi and mistletoe….and, of course, a glass of celebratory wine.

The second workshop took broadly the same approach, but it was for 18 ladies and it was held at the golf club. It was quite a logistical challenge to acquire the large quantities of foliage and flowers we needed - I sourced them from the flower market, supermarkets and some foraging from gardens. The evening was great fun and the arrangements looked fabulous, especially once they were packaged up in the Christmassy red bags I had found.

My other Christmas workshop was to make a traditional wreath. We started by making a straw base on a wire frame and then we added foliage to it. Here is the room ready to go.

The foliage (holly, ivy and spruce) was made into small bunches before it was bound into the frame.

Then we decorated the wreath with dried seed pods, pine cones, oranges, chillies, hydrangea heads and a tartan bow. The wreaths were quite challenging to make, but all the effort was well rewarded as they looked wonderful when they were finished. Here are two participants holding their wreaths up high – you can just see their eyes peering through the hole in the middle if you look carefully.

Hanging wreaths can be a bit of a challenge. I chose to use the two wreath method – two identical wreaths are attached using ribbon and hung on each side of the door. The weight of the wreaths holds them in place and, hey presto, no need for any nails, screws or hanging devices!

A small wreath with a candle in the middle looks great as a table centre. Here is a really simple idea I have taken from my last supermarket workshop.  All you need to do is set 5 shot glasses on a circular mirror, place roses in the glasses and then add in a few Christmas materials – for example cones, chestnuts and dried chillies. At night with the candle lit, light is reflected by the mirror and the arrangement looks pretty impressive…..and so very easy.

Most of us are really busy in the run up to Christmas and if you don`t manage to come to a flower workshop you probably just buy some flowers from the supermarket and pop them into a vase. We made an arrangement in just this way at the supermarket flowers workshop. I chose festive colours and used a Tesco’s mixed bouquet together with a few extra roses and alstroemeria. Again, easy to make and easy on the eye.

I decided to use a non-traditional colour scheme for my Christmas vases this year. I chose vintage jugs which are decorated with a predominantly blue pattern and I used all the primary colours in the arrangements – red and blue anemones, red berries and yellow narcissi. In another jug I used white narcissi instead. I was pleased with them all.

As I settled in for the Christmas holiday I felt very warm inside as I thought about all the work I have done with flowers during 2014. As we come to the end of this festive period, I would like to thank you all for supporting Meadowsweet and wish you a very happy and peaceful New Year.