Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Back to nature

           As the world wakes up to the environmental impact of so many aspects of our daily lives, seasonality in floristry is enjoying a revival. The recent royal wedding flew the flag for British seasonality, using flowers, plants and trees native to Britain and available at this time of year. We have advanced greatly in the palate of flowers available to us as inter-continental supply chains have developed and become more streamlined, the result being most starkly apparent in the most commonly requested flower, the rose. A British rose is a sight less commonly seen, however in their less-formal beauty and often exquisite fragrance, an element lacking in many modern roses, I am finding more brides asking for British!
           Whilst we all have a good moan about the British weather and lust after tropical sunshine we are missing out on appreciating the variety that such natural variance can bring. Spring is the time of year when British flowers and gardens spring back to life. Seeing the first daffodils, Narcissus and Snow drops appearing, marks the end of winter and the growth of a fresh start. As we move through the months the emergence of delphiniums to peonies, is a delight which has been somewhat forgotten. The changing stock at the flower markets means there is always something different, and a growing number of suppliers are encouraging the diversity in seasonality as a positive step to bringing some of that excitement in variety back to the industry.
             It is not necessary  to travel to the flower markets to appreciate seasonality in our flowers (although well worth a visit!). The potential to create simple, uplifting arrangements from your own garden or allotment for the home shouldn't be underestimated. In spring flowers such as, daffodils and snowdrops are readily available and free, something we can all appreciate in recent times! so why not have a go at arranging flowers from the garden to bring that spring-time sunshine indoors.

“Spring is the season of inexpensive but glorious flowers that bring colour and life into the home. Spring flowers such as Daffodils, Tulips, Renunculus, and Muscari love water and need little care and are ideal for simply placing in a vase. There is a whole spectrum of spring flowers available, many of which may grow in your garden. I encourage you to be bold with colour and texture and inventive with your containers and mechanics- there are no limits to what you can do with a bunch of beautiful blooms, some fresh water, and a little imagination.” (Judith Blacklock, Seasonal Flower Recipies, 2009)  

            Wedding floristry has echoed this reawakening of seasonality, as we have seen a recent move away from the very stylised, formal geometric forms popular over the last decade or so and a move into a more relaxed natural look. Where as geometric forms and colour blocking will remain popular, an increasing number of brides (as demonstrated by the choices made for the royal wedding) are looking to bring more individuality and relaxed interest to the feel of their big day. 
           This trend to buy British with a bit of imagination can tie nicely in with enduring popularity of the vintage look. An eclectic mix of different vintage containers, such as cut glass vases and 40's branded tea caddies can create real interest as well as for those that like a rummage an excellent shopping opportunity! The eclectic mix of containers filled with brightly coloured garden flowers, grouped together can create a cacophony of visual interest. The key to this look is to not be frightened to experiment and have fun with it. Whilst tropicals will always have their place in floristry and there is no denying the visual impact they can create there is definitely room to get creative, imaginatively using materials from closer to home. 
Some of my favourite creations have been from the garden and it is a joy to see an unused container given a new lease of life:

Below a pink Moroccan tea glass was used to contain garden- grown Hellebores, snow drops and Irises.

A variety of garden grown Tulips and Narcissi and apple blossom create a lovely spring hand-tied bouquet. 

An old family rose bowl is given a new lease of life with spring daffodils, Hellebores and Snow Drops.

 Here a vintage, cream china jug was used to hold a variety of garden flowers to create a relaxed country feel, would be perfect as decoration for a country wedding.

If possible get out in your garden or allotment and experiment with what you have and what can be grown, you may be surprised. Here I have given some examples of what can be done using British Spring time flowers. We can all enjoy the changes as we move forward into Summer, all herald the arrival of the peony!