Today I’m very sad because it’s the last Florence’s Florals post for now as Becky heads off on maternity leave. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Becky for being such a creative and reliable team-member – Florals aren’t everybody’s cup of tea but I have loved the posts and know there are many of you out there who have enjoyed them too. Becky will be back on a semi-regular basis to share her journey through the first few months of motherhood and I am fascinated to hear how it goes – nothing like a bit of inside information to get prepared! Now give her and Florence’s Florals a warm farewell in the comments box please!
Hello all, as this is my last floral post for the foreseeable future of nappy changes and muslin squares, I wanted to cover something that you’d requested. Judging by lots of your recent comments on the blog, you’re all ready to embrace Autumn and Winter – probably due to the lack of Summer we’ve had.
I’m hoping that today’s post will inspire you to fill your homes with something a bit different this Autumn, Halloween, and Christmas. Forgive the fact that there is no DIY as I’d originally promised but it’s a bit tricky getting Holly berries in August. I’m hoping that the images will be inspiration enough for you to get out the scissors and have a go.
Autumnal/ Halloween Arrangements…
I love using pumpkins as containers at Halloween. It doesn’t just have to be a pumpkin though, you can use any sized squash or gourd to fit in with your colour theme and the size of arrangement you want to create.
Rather than carving out a spooky face, slice off the top and hollow out the flesh. Line the inside of the pumpkin or gourd with cellophane or a freezer bag which you will then place a block of soaked floral foam into so that it sits about an inch or so above the top of the pumpkin or gourd.
Choose a selection of autumnal leaves, twigs and berries in the shades you fancy and create your framework by starting with a foliage base to cover the foam and the top of the pumpkin. Fill in with your flowers, using the largest heads first. Go as wild and natural as you fancy.
Ideas for Christmas…
You all requested an alternative to the dreaded Poinsettia. So here are my favourites:
Bulbs – Big bowls of red or white Amaryllis, white Hyacinths, or Paperwhite Narcissi are long lasting and very seasonal. You should be planting them now to have them flowering in time for Christmas. The timing can be a bit tricky though so if you are short on time, have a look in your florist or garden centre in early December where you’ll be able to buy bulbs that are already sprouting. Have a look back at my January tutorial here for planting guidance.
Orchid Plants – Orchids are at their seasonal best in December. White Phalaenopsis orchids look great dressed with silver glitter twigs and will take you from Christmas through to New Year. After Twelfth night, remove any glitter twigs and enjoy the pure white orchid in January. Orchids love light and air around their roots so thrive in glass vases. I use large vases, filled almost to the top with natural pine cones. Remove the orchids from their plastic containers to plant at the top of the vase with the bark chippings they’re grown in. Don’t be afraid to pack them tightly into the container you’re using as they love to be pot bound. Dress the top with more cones or some carpet moss. If you only have a small vase and don’t have room for pine cones, make sure you use orchid bark to fill in the spaces instead – it’s available from all garden centres. Water very sparingly; a spritz of water at the base of the plant will be enough every other week.
Cut Amaryllis and Ilex Berry – If you are a traditionalist and won’t be happy without something red in the fireplace, go for a big vase of red amaryllis and/ or Ilex berries. Amaryllis are very long lasting flowers with 3 – 4 big flower heads per stem. The flowers open at different intervals so when a flower dies, just cut it off to keep the rest of the flowers on the stem looking fresh. If bought in tight bud, the flowers can take 5-7 days to bloom in full so remember to buy them early so they’re at their peak for Christmas Day. The upright berried stems of Ilex verticillata are a perfect accompaniment and will last for weeks so buy them in early to enjoy before Christmas rather than having them hanging around in January.
Take inspiration from the white blooms and grey foliage in this Bridesmaids Chrysanthemum bouquet
Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Blooms – The huge crisp white snowball like flowers of the Chrysanthemum are stunning en mass in a vase. At Blossom, they’re one of our best sellers throughout December. Even better if you can find a florist selling the English grown blooms as they’re usually stronger and will last you even longer. If you aren’t averse to combining red and white, they look great mixed with a few stems of red Ilex verticillata.
One final tip – if you have a real tree, keep the bits of pine that you end up having to trim from the base in a pot of water outside until the week before Christmas. You can then use them to dot along a mantelpiece or if they’re long enough, use them to create a support for your cut flowers at the neck of your vase.
Now I think maybe that’s enough talk of Christmas in September! I hope you’ll all look back at this post in a couple of months for some inspiration. As always, I’ll be on hand in the comments section to answer any questions.
Finally, thanks for being such a fantastic audience for Florence’s Florals, and I look forward to wearing my new Florence hat very soon.