Since redesigning our living room, I’ve discovered just how much of a difference a beautiful bouquet of flowers can make to a room. Flowers add so much life, colour and style to any space, but I rarely do anymore than take my flowers out of the wrapper and place them in a vase with water. When it comes to flower arranging and aftercare – I admit, I’m pretty clueless.
With my new found love for beautiful blooms, I jumped at the chance to attend a bloggers flower arranging workshop, hosted by the M&S Flower Expert team who had recently worked on the Chelsea Flower Show display, hoping to pick up some tips and tricks from the real professionals.
The event was situated in North London, quite a trek for a seaside girl like me, so I was truly out of my comfort zone. Thank goodness for Uber as I had no idea where I was going but as I arrived at a nondescript street in a part of London I’d never even heard of, the beautiful scent of flowers and light chatter of bloggers and cameras snapping away told me I was in the right place. It turned out, The Greenhouse was a real hidden gem – the most perfect, light, airy space for flower arranging. It worked just perfectly.
After chatting to the other bloggers, a few nibbles and a glass of Prosecco we were ready to start arranging. First up, a talk by Marks & Spencer’s Product Manager and Flower Expert, Simon Richards to learn some insider flower arranging tips of the trade and to hear about our first project!
Our first project was inspired by the M&S display at the Chelsea Flower show. This year the team aimed to create a display to celebrate a ‘Carnival of Colour’. Bringing flowers from around the world together in a burst of colour to really capture the ‘Spirit of Summer’ feel.
Using colourful picnic plates, glasses and placemats along with an array of various coloured blooms, we learned from Simon how to create the perfect picnic table set up, just like the central part of the Chelsea display. I’ve never worked with flowers in this way and at first found it went a little against the grain to take a beautiful bunch of flowers and cut them right down, all to different sizes, some even being pulled apart – but once you get started decorating each place setting it becomes really affective and something I’d never have thought of doing.
Styling this look at home:
As I don’t have a permanent picnic area set up in my home (although, how amazing would that be?!) I have found this look easier to incorporate by spreading each element out along my mantel piece. Using different size and height glasses with a bright coloured bloom in each gives a really stylish and unique look. I’ve also been placing one or two stems of hydrangea (my favourite) in a colourful bowl. This looks fantastic and they’ve lasted about 3 weeks a time. I think for my next dinner party, a complete place setting would make the perfect centrepiece so I’ll be trying it out again soon.
The next project was to style the classic bouquet of Roses.
Simon gave us a detailed talk about the M&S rose collection. He is truly passionate about his craft and knows his stuff. He explained where M&S source their gorgeous roses from, which was an eye opener to me – I didn’t realise our roses have travelled so far to be with us. M&S stocks most of their roses from three main countries, Kenya and Columbia, with the very best roses coming from the Netherlands.
Next up, we had a go ourselves at putting together our own bouquet, using the spiral technique, taught expertly by Simon. We then hand tied our beautiful bouquets with natural twine and chose a vase from a selection of different sizes. This was SO much harder than it looks, Simon made it look so easy. As we got going I noticed there were a few confused faces around the room! I had thought I’d got my spiral technique together quite well, but when I placed my roses in the vase, instead of forming a lovely spiral they just spread out randomly, like I’d never arranged them in the first place. FAIL. I think I need a bit more practice in this department, but a few of the girls on my table who had done it before said it can take a few goes to master.
Styling this look at home:
Something I hadn’t thought of when displaying a bouquet of roses is how different they can look when placed in different shape vases. I’ve been experimenting with different shape vases – finding that if the vase slopes inwards towards the top this gives the best control to the bouquet when creating this look.
TIPS ON FLOWER ARRANGING FROM THE M&S EXPERTS:
- Trim off all the leaves and thorns to above the water line
- Trim off at least half an inch (or to size of your vase) from each stem. Cut at an angle to allow them to take up as much water as possible.
- Clean all vases and containers thoroughly before you place your flowers in.
- Use the plant food supplied
- Experiment and be creative! You don’t have to stick to the arrangement from the shop, create your own!
A big THANK YOU to M&S for having us for the wonderful workshop. I learned so much! You can can see the other bloggers creations, plus lots of lovely #beautifulbloom inspiration over on the M&S Pinterest board now.
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