So after three years of constantly swooning over every bouquet, buttonhole and centrepieces I’ve laid eyes on through my work in the wedding industry (and possibly annoying several florists in the process with my, um, constant questions), I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and get some proper floristry training. It’s become more than an addiction for me now, and seeing flowers just isn’t enough anymore – I want to be the one brining them to life!
However, my course doesn’t start until January 2015. And even though I know the time will fly by, it still seems like WAY too long to wait. So when I heard that a branch of St. Michael’s Hospice close to me was holding a vintage fair last weekend, and that as part of the fair there would be vintage flower arranging workshops, I was there. With big flowery bells on.
It goes without saying that St. Michael’s Hospice is just an incredible organisation. I’ve long supported their work and they are by far one of the best and most influential fundraisers in the area. Their Fabulously Vintage Fair was more than a testament to that. But anyway, back to the flowers…
I arrived just after 11am and joined the first workshop of the day (there were 2 in total, both focusing on arranging flowers inside vintage crockery). After a brief introduction, the workshop kicked off with a demonstration from one of the two florists on hand…
At this point, I panicked slightly; a LOT more work goes into these arrangements than I’d first anticipated. It’s all about colour, composition and contrast – your blooms need to all be different, yet still be able to work together at the same time. Which sounds ridiculously easy, in theory.
Next up, it was our turn. We chose our teacups carefully and were guided through the best way to work with oasis. And then we were pretty much off. Here’s how mine turned out…
And back at home, here’s how it looked in the kitchen. Considering this was my first ever attempt at something like this, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. And although I do work with faux flowers a lot at work, working with fresh flowers is a completely different ball game. The great thing about this is that once you’ve got the knack of styling the flowers in the teacup, the same principals can be applied to styling them in pretty much anything else – jam jars, teapots, vintage vases, etc. My house will never be the same again.
Want to create something similar? Here’s what I learnt:
1. Foliage is your best friend. And the key to holding this particular look together. We were advised that to make something like this, you need roughly 3 different types of foliage.
2. Condition your flowers. And your foliage. Anything you cut or buy should be soaked for 24 hours before you arrange it.
3. Same goes for the wet oasis. Ideally, soak it for 24 hours before using, but if time’s particularly tight then just a couple of hours in a sink full of water should suffice.
4. Invest in a decent pair of sharp scissors. Everything you use should be cut at an angle before it’s inserted into the oasis as this increases the surface area of the stem, allowing more water to be absorbed.
5. With this type of arrangement, you need to start with the foliage and build it around the edges. Make sure when you insert it that it’s at an angle and pointing in towards the centre, not dead upright.
6. Cut your stems short. Even if you think it’s a crime against flowers, it needs to be done.
7. Once the foliage is in, choose your main flower. I chose a white rose for mine, to complement the white on the teacup. Insert the main flower next and then build around that with your smaller, supporting flowers. Choose around 3 flowers, all in contrasting colours, or colours which match the crockery you’re working with.
8. If you have to, remove some petals from larger blooms. It’ll shorten their lifespan slightly, but will keep size more manageable.
9. Remember not to make something of this size too round – vintage teacups are so small that you need to keep the height in proportion.
10. Once all your flowers are in, check to make sure all the oasis is covered. Add in extra foliage where there are any gaps. Give your arrangement one last drink of water and keep topping up every other day to ensure it lasts (something like this should last roughly a week, give or take the conditions you expose it to).
Thank you so much to St. Michael’s Hospice for organising such a thoughtful and interesting workshop, I loved every minute of it!