Four Floral Designs From Flower Shows

A floral design with wool, twigs, small leaves and yellow pom poms

Variegated geranium leaves, yellow pompons, wool swizzles and twigs make up one of my favourite designs I’ve seen at a flower show. Yes, it’s tiny and the florist hasn’t spent a fortune on flowers, but it wows me with its colours, poise and confidence.

The judges’ card noted some fault or other – from memory, it lacked flowers or content. I could quote a poem that is equally brief and perfect, but I’ll forbear. The brief might have been ‘Pack ‘Em In’, for all I know, in which case, this would have been highly commended:

Dish of flower buds and orchids for a wedding

Ivory, pink and hints of green lift a white floral centrepiece that would be perfect for a traditional summer wedding. Orchids, rosebuds, peony buds, chrysanthemums and lisianthus feature, with tiny sprigs of gypsophila and hebe, at a guess. I think the clusters of flowers and tiny green buds are Kalanchoe ‘Calandiva White’. Silver-grey mohair yarn trails delicately over. I enjoy the expertise shown here: the ability to create such an even height and the tapestry effect that prevents open ‘black holes’ that can appear when floral designs are photographed.  Continue reading

Kniphofia Lion King

Lion made from flowers, ferns and grasses

This beautifully crafted King of the Jungle (or more accurately, of the RHS Hampton Court Floristry Marquee) was part of Capel Manor College’s offering for 2016.

He was placed quite high on the stand so I had to tiptoe to capture him. I loved the ruffled textures of his mane and the tawny colour palette. He’s made from those small kniphofias that are so fashionable these days, with a backdrop of ferny foliage, and details picked out in moss, bark, grasses and seeds.   Continue reading

In a Vase on Monday

Rosa Harlow Carr flower posy

I picked this small posy of flowers from Mum’s garden. She grows plants on heavy clay soil she’s worked hard to amend over the years. Her garden, shaded for part of the day, supports a selection of fruit, roses and other cottage garden flowers.

I overstuffed a tiny milk jug with flowers of the right scale to fit: ‘Harlow Carr’ roses, a sprig or two of lavender, two forms of geranium, bellis, viola and some campanula. I’ll never make a florist, but  it looked (and smelled) sweet. I only needed to raid the back garden, leaving the fine foliage plants and shrubs at the front for another day.

As so often in a private garden, there’s a little story behind each plant. Some arrived as presents from family or friends: others were grown from seed or acquired on a trip to her favourite garden centre, BentsContinue reading

Photographing peonies: how it all went ‘orribly wrong

Peonies with a view: looking out from the patio at The Inn at Whitewell

I often write about roses, but peonies are my first and abiding floral love. I’ve already explained how this year I hopped around from foot to foot (metaphorically of course) waiting for the season to arrive. My idea was to have fun learning how to prepare them for photography, then taking pictures in a nice setting. We live and learn: today, I’m sharing my six biggest mistakes when I hoped to have been sharing pictures overflowing with peonies!  Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: ephemeral

Floral tie and buttonhole

This week’s photo challenge is ephemeral: a wonderful word for short-lived, fleeting. Things we might easily overlook, although our lives are made richer by noticing them.

Buttonholes are ephemeral – small posies of flowers and foliage, their stems out of water. We know they’ll stay fresh for only a day or so, but we wear them as a small token of celebration to mark special occasions.

Buttonholes of tiny, blue forget-me-nots, pink columbines and cow parsley were presented by some fellow exhibitors in the Great Pavilion to visitors one year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I never learned which company had the idea, but I saw several pinned to celebrities during Press Day and was attracted by the delicacy of the design. Continue reading

Goosebump roses: garden style beauties for floristry

Posy of apricot 'Juliet' cut garden roses

Imagine buying a bunch of roses. You’ve probably brought to mind a bouquet of classic hybrid tea roses – the ones with long, tapering buds and straight stems that are so widely available. I wonder if, like me, you’ve sometimes felt just a little disappointed when the buds fail to deliver their promise and fade away before they’ve really opened?

Behind the scenes, breeders have been developing a new type of cut rose, inspired by old garden roses. Often mistaken for peonies, these blowsy beauties are so far removed from what’s gone before that they’re almost like a new type of flower. Continue reading