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Notepad scribbles from our stylists, pointers picked up on photoshoots, home-grown ideas from our resident flower expert - Hannah Redman, secrets shared amongst friends, and wisdom passed down from mothers and grannies. Make blooms more beautiful with our mini masterclass in flower arranging.
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"Don't be afraid of playing with flowers. Without play, there wouldn't be daisy chains."̶ anon
The flower: to mix or not to mix?Quite honestly, you can do both, whatever the flower(s) in question. The best advice we can give is to decide what sort of look you're going for. When we think of sophisticated elegance we think a tight arrangement of white tulips or a simple display of white lilies. In this scenario, all one type and all one colour really works. But if you want something more relaxed and textured, then two or three flower families together is a lovely option. Make sure you mix fuller blooms with ditzy ones so they're not competing. See our 'Get the look' section below for some ideas.
Image right: Barnsley Lilac bouquet
Tall vs smallAgain, both. There is a place for uniformity where all tall or all small is exactly what you need (like our earlier example with the manicured white tulips) but generally speaking, if you create an interplay between varying heights the result will be much more interesting, particularly if you're using different types of flower. And remember, always cut stems at an angle.
Image right: Willow twig, Lilac stem in mauve, Newington hurricane vase, Charlton vase, Alderney conical hurricane vase
Positions pleaseThe main rule we follow when placing flowers is 'strong stems first'. That's branches and thick greenery. By resting them on the outer edge of your vase you create a support network for the more delicate ones so they can simply be dropped in and they'll fall where feels most natural. It also gives each flower more of a sense of space.
Image right: White hyacinth & Willow twigs
Don't overthink itWe love loose bouquets that look a little spontaneous and appear hand-picked. And the key to this hedgerow look is to go with the flow. Bear all of the above (and the below) in mind and then let the flowers decide the rest. Higgledy-piggledy can be full of charm.
Image left source: Unknown
A bit of bothBlending real flowers with life-like ones is a trick we picked up from a flower festival. The thing that puts people off though is what to do with the faux stems because they generally aren't waterproof. You've got two options. Either cut the height of your faux flowers short so that when they're placed in the vase they don't touch the water. Or, buy a few of the water pods that shop-bought bouquets have at the bottom to keep the vase free from water but the real stems hydrated.
Image left: Snowshill Hydrangea bouquet - Image right: Blue Hyacinth
Break the mouldFlowers should spark our inner creative. Get hands-on and think outside of the vase. Our apple blossom stems are nice and bendy so can be intertwined and wrapped to make a bowered entrance to a doorway. Recently we caught our stylist, Kasia, plucking a few of the flower heads from our magnolia stems and wrapping the wire around the occasional twig to make her arrangement a little more playful. Giles' (one of our founders) wife, Hannah has one of our Corinium bowls on her kitchen island and fills it with a mound of damp soil with potted plants inside. We also love giving life-like flowers as a gift. Make your stem selection and create your own bouquet, wrapped in brown craft paper and tied together with a pretty twine bow.
Image left: Apple Blossom - Image right: Blue Lilac stems, green Skimmia, green & white Snowball stems, Willow twigs
Get the look
Four of our signature bouquets and how to do them yourself. We use our hand-painted, life-like flowers, but you can recreate the look with fresh florals too.
For sheer elegance:
Snowshill Hydrangea Bouquet
a voluptuous glass vase filled with a cluster of white hydrangeas.
For a touch of bohemia:
Barnsley Lilac Bouquet
free-flowing lilacs entangled in magnolia branches and billowing snowballs, left tall so they can really branch out.
For a burst of colour:
Hyacinth Dark Blue
not technically a bouquet, but our blue hyacinths are our favourite way of doing colour through petals. Cut the stems short and pop them into one of our tumbled earthenware pots. They look fabulous in a huddle on a kitchen island.
For a home-grown look:
Hidcote Magnolia Bouquet
pairing magnolia blossom with pillowy snowballs sat against a backdrop of branches, these blooms are kept leggy and sat loosely in a taller vase so they're slightly more contained. They look as though they've been freshly picked from your very own garden.
Taking care: a tip or two.
Now your flowers are sitting pretty, follow these simple steps to keep them looking lovely for longer.
On arrival: when guests arrive to your home you always offer them a welcome drink. Do the same with your flowers and get them into fresh water the moment you can to quench their thirst.
On day two: time for a refresh. Change the water every two days and add a drop or two of bleach. Sounds insane but it kills the bacteria and keeps them super fresh.
During their stay: never position them near a fruit bowl (it makes them wilt much quicker), and try to keep flowers away from harsh sunlight or central heating so they stay perky.