Florence’s Florals: The V-Day Edition

This afternoon, it’s one of my favourite monthly posts, Becky Hay from Blossom is back with some most beautiful florals for V-day or in fact any other special day that takes yourfancy. Book mark it, forward it on to your loved one, or to anyone else who needs some gift giving/brownie point achieving advice. 🙂

In my world, February is a month dominated by St. Valentine, sadly not because my husband whisks me away to spend the month in Paris. It’s one week of the year in the shop when the pressure to get it right is immense. No other day comes close to instilling so much panic in men. What to purchase to convey the correct sentiment?

The red rose doesn’t reach my list of favourite flowers, and I know I’m not alone. The most popular Valentine bouquet at Blossom doesn’t include red roses, something I’m rather proud of my customers for! I’m not saying that the premium red roses aren’t very beautiful or romantic. They most definitely are, but they don’t suit everyone.

Whilst I’m sure that Rebecca will be taking care of some non-floral gifts for Valentine’s day, I thought I’d put a floral wish list together providing some alternatives to the red rose. Hopefully it will include a gift that you will find a little more individual. You could always forward a link to your significant others….there’s nothing like a little nudge in the right direction.

And if Valentine’s Day isn’t for you, please bear with me this month. You could always replace the ‘V’ word with ‘Birthday’ for the rest of the post. Regular service will resume in March.

For something truly British and seasonal:
This Limited Edition Green Velvet Luxury Valentine’s bouquet from the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall just shouts spring with some unusual ingredients.

One of my all-time favourite flowers….50 stems of Cornish Anemones grown and picked by Clowance nurseries – With their jewel tones and furry black centres, no flower is exactly the same.

For the keen cook:
A Kitchen Herb Bouquet from the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall will last for ages in a jug on the kitchen window sill or could be hung upside down to dry in a warm spot.

For the keen gardener:
A beautifully fragrant rose plant from David Austin. You do need a sunny spot in your garden for success with these. How about ‘Wollerton Old Hall’, ‘Eglantyne’, or ‘Gertrude Jekyll’?

A book on growing cut flowers, and a selection of seed packets of flowers with romantic names such as ‘love-in-the-mist’, ‘forget-me-not’, and ‘sweet pea’.

For the outdoor type:
A Snowdrop day out – these beautiful flowers carpet woodlands in February and offer the perfect backdrop for a romantic walk. Countryfile magazine has chosen their top 5 snowdrop gardens or find a garden near you using this guide.

For the very extravagant:
Not just one bouquet of scented garden roses, but a bouquet subscription from The Real Flower Company – There are some serious brownie points attached to this gift.

For the wo/man who almost forgot:
I beg you to not stop off at the petrol station on the way home but instead use The Good Florist Guide to find your nearest quality florist and call them directly. It’s more than likely they’ll be able to come to the rescue at the very last minute….we always do!

And finally, if my Valentine is reading, you know how much I love a snowdrop, or how about one of these…. ; )

Xx

Florence’s Florals: Spring Bulbs

This Tuesday, it’s Florence’s florals, our monthly column by Becky Hay of Blossom with a post that is guaranteed to brighten up this cold January day…

A little late in the month, but Happy New Year to you all. Today I’d like to help you all brighten up a dark January day with the promise of what’s just around the corner… Spring.

Spring bulb flowers such as Hyacinth and Narcissi look good, smell divine, flower for twice as long as a cut flower if they’re left on the bulb, and are extremely wallet friendly. They’re also fat free, perfect for January!

If you have only two pennies, spend the first on bread and the other on hyacinths for your soul.

–Arab Proverb

In October, Rebecca wrote a post on planting bulbs outdoors. If like me however, you’re not one for planning ahead, here’s how to bring bulbs into your home right now.

Pot grown bulbs:
Pots of growing bulbs in compost are currently available to buy from all good florists, garden centres and large supermarkets. The most commonly available are Hyacinths, in pots of 3 bulbs, usually in blue, pink, lilac or white. Other favourites are Narcissi (mini daffodils), Muscari (grape hyacinths), Crocus, Snowdrops, and mini Iris.

You can leave the bulbs you’ve bought in the plastic pot and just pop that directly into a container at home for display. Teapots, mixing bowls, vases, mugs, and jugs are all good shapes.

Alternatively, you can take the bulbs out of the plastic pots and break them up to fit them into smaller receptacles. The bulbs are really tough so don’t worry about tearing the roots apart to squeeze them in.

I like to cover the top of the bulbs with moss. This is available from good florists or for free from the woodlands (if you’re prepared to take a scraper and a carrier bag out on a walk with you)

Turn the container regularly so that the light gets to all sides of the bulbs. This also stops them growing at funny angles. The warmer your house, the faster they will grow. A drizzle of water now and then will be sufficient. Don’t leave them sitting in a boggy pool of compost.

Troubleshooting:
Once Hyacinths are in full flower, they can become top heavy and start drooping. Rather than using ugly cane supports to tie the stems up, collect some broken twiggy branches which look much more natural and will support the stems just as well, (see above). They also add interest when the bulbs aren’t in flower. Alternatively, cut the flowering stems off and pop them in a little vase of water to enjoy their last few days.

Some people can find the scent of hyacinths overpowering, the blue ones have the strongest smell while the white are a little less heady.

Aftercare:
All bulbs can be planted out in the garden once you’ve finished enjoying them inside. Narcissi are the hardiest and are likely top flower again year on year. Hyacinths never flower as well second time round so don’t feel too guilty about putting them in the compost bin.

Tips for enjoying cut spring flowers:
Nothing beats a simple jug of daffodils. Rather than mixing them with anything else, just pop a few twigs amongst them to break up the solid mass of yellow.

If you buy cut hyacinths, avoid cutting the stems as you would with other flowers. This is because hyacinths usually have the cleaned bulb still attached and this will help the flowers last longer in the water.

Change the vase water regularly. Spring bulb flowers leak sap into the water which encourages bacteria to grow rapidly, reducing the vase life of the flowers.
Tulips continue to grow even after they’ve been cut. This is why after a day or two in a vase, they start to droop. When this happens, wrap the tulips up tightly in a piece of newspaper and re-cut the stems at an angle. Pop them into a vase of clean cold water and let them drink for a couple of hours whilst wrapped up. They should stand upright again when they’re unwrapped.

I hope this inspires you all to get a little Spring in your lives this weekend. It’s amazing what a tiny splash of nature can do.

Becky x

Florence’s Florals: A DIY Christmas Berry Wreath

Good afternoon readers!

This afternoon we have part 2 of Florence’s Festive Florals with Becky from Blossom. It’s the second of her 2 wreath tutorials, this one is still rustic but more traditional and includes living elements, hence us deciding to post it closer to Christmas – it will last through the holidays if made this weekend. Enjoy!

Hello again, and welcome to version 2 of the festive wreath tutorial. If you haven’t already seen the rustic winter owl wreath, pop over and have a look, as the principles for making them both are identical. I’ve used fresh materials in this version which will look good for a couple of weeks if you keep it somewhere cool. Please don’t be put off by the amount of text below, once you’ve mastered how to wire each piece, it really is very easy. And once again, please remember that there is no right or wrong addition to a wreath. You can add as little or as much as you want, of whatever takes your fancy.

What I used:

  • Large ready made willow wreath
  • Fresh ivy trails
  • 2 x stems Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ – this is also available in bright red from all good florists
  • 8 x natural pine cones
  • 3 x whole dried oranges
  • 6 – 9 x dried orange slices
  • 9 x cinnamon sticks
  • Natural raffia
  • Medium – thick gauge florist stub wires

What to do:
1. Wrap pieces of trailing ivy around and through the wreath. Secure it by tucking into the gaps in the wreath frame.

2. Wire each item that you want to attach to your wreath. You may find it easier to wire everything first and attach the pieces to the wreath afterwards.

  • To wire the Ilex: Cut each piece of Ilex down to approximately 2 cm below the lowest branch of berries. Fold a piece of wire in half to form a hair pin shape and hold it against the base of the piece of Ilex. Wrap one half of the wire around the base of the stem and the other end of the wire to secure.
  • To wire the pine cones & whole oranges: Take a single piece of stub wire and dig the middle part of the wire in between the scales at the base of the cone (the fatter end), pull each end of the wire down, and twist them together as close to the bottom of the cone as possible. Pull each end of the wire back together and straighten. In floristry terms this is called a ‘double leg mount’ – the two stems of the wire are known as ‘legs’.

Use the same principle to wire the whole dried oranges, piercing the base of the fruit with the wire.

  • To wire the orange slices: Group 2 or 3 dried orange slices together, overlapping them so that you can see the segments of each slice. Pierce through both of the slices at the base, pull each end of the wire down and twist the wires together to secure the slices.
  • To wire the cinnamon: Make 3 bundles of cinnamon sticks by wrapping a wire around the middle of 3 sticks and twisting the wires together. Don’t worry if the wire feels quite loose, you can secure the cinnamon by using a piece of raffia to wrap over and around the wire. It not only secures the bundle, it also hides the wire in your display. Tie the raffia in a bow or knot on the top of the bundle (the opposite side to the twisted wire).

3. You can now attach each individual piece to your wreath by pushing the wires through the gaps in the wreath and twisting them together at the back of the wreath to secure. Tuck the excess ends of wire back into the back of the wreath so they don’t scratch your front door.

4. Tie a big bow using the raffia and pierce through the back of the bow with a wire. With the bow at the centre of the wire, pull the two ends of wire together and twist together. Use the wire legs to attach the bow to your wreath in the same way you’ve attached everything else.

5. If you need to create a hook to hang your wreath from, you can use a piece of raffia or a piece of wire.

I’ll be on hand later to answer any questions. Just leave a comment below 🙂

Thank you Becky!

Did you have a go at last week’s wreath, or will you be attempting this one – perhaps this is more up your ‘Christmas Street’?

Do leave a comment if you love it, or if you have any questions as Becky said – Becky will be back in the New Year with more Florence’s Florals!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Florence’s Florals: A DIY Christmas wreath from Blossom

This morning I’m super excited as I get to introduce another regular columnist… My good friend Becky Hay from Blossom, florist extraordinaire and lovely lady. I’ve also been dying to share this DIY Becky created for Florence Finds last Thursday… I had a lovely day in the shop with mince pies and Michael Buble in the background so I really hope this inspires some of you to get creative and make your own DIY Christmas wreath.

While we’re at it, I’d like to congratulate Becky, Aisling and the team at Blossom as they have just won an award for the Best North West florist in the Wedding Industry awards! Of course I know that already. 😉


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

Today’s wreath is absolutely gorgeous… A rustic take on Christmas decor, complete with wildlife and a hint of snow white glitz, I’m considering ditching my regular wreath for a DIY effort. I wanted to inspire those of you looking for something different as it’s a DIY and it’s also a keeper… With no living parts, you can pack this one away and bring it out year after year.

Take it away Becky!

Hi everyone, I’m very honoured to have been invited to contribute to Florence’s Florals. This is the first of two festive wreath tutorials, both are made using a shop bought willow wreath base which are quite easy to come by and have been created to inspire you rather than dictate to you. When it comes to door wreaths, literally anything goes, so go and collect whatever you can lay your hands on and get creative.

Pre made wreaths are available in all sorts of shapes and materials. The principle described below can be used to attach extra items to any wreath you fancy as long as you can push a wire through the main body of the wreath.

What we used:

  • Ready made white washed willow wreath (try saying that after a night out!)
  • Contorted willow
  • Birch twigs
  • White pine cones (Natural cones will do the job just as well or you can spray them white using a can of spray paint)


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

  • Larch cones still on the branch
  • Medium – thick gauge florist stub wire (available from all good Florists and Garden Centres)
  • White owl decoration
  • Organza ribbon

What to do:
1. Cut small pieces of willow and birch twigs and poke through the gaps in the wreath until they feel secure.
(If your wreath has large gaps, you may need to use more twigs or a wire to hold sections of twig in place.)
Keep adding more twigs until you get the fullness you want.


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

2. Wiring the large cones: Take a single piece of stub wire and dig the middle part of the wire in between the scales at the base of the cone (the fatter end), pull each end of the wire down, and twist them together as close to the bottom of the cone as possible. Pull each end of the wire back together and straighten. In floristry terms this is called a ‘double leg mount’ – the two stems of the wire are known as ‘legs’. Attach the cone to your wreath by placing each ‘leg’ of wire through a gap in your wreath and twisting them together at the back of the wreath to secure. Tuck the excess ends of wire back into the back of the wreath so they don’t scratch your front door.


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

This principle can be used to attach absolutely anything to your wreath – bunches of foliage, feathers, dried flowers, fresh flowers, berries, and anything else you can find in your garden or while out for a walk.

3. Next, take the sections of Larch branch and arrange amongst the large cones. I secured my two bits in place by using a single wire, folded into a hairpin shape, pinning the larch in place and twisting each ‘leg’ of the haipin wire together at the back of the wreath and pushing the ends back into the wreath as you did for the cones.


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

4. The owl decoration I used already had a clip on it but you can use any decoration as long as you can manage to secure a wire through the base of it to then secure it to your wreath.


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

5. Finally, I made a 6 loop bow using the organza ribbon. There’s a detailed tutorial on one of those here. I used a stub wire to gather the centre of my bow which I then used to push through the wreath and secure at the back of the wreath, as decribed for attaching the cones. Use a separate piece of ribbon looped through the back of the wreath to hang it from.


Image Credit: Rebecca Norris for Florence Finds

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I’ll try to get back to you asap.

Gorgeous no?

I love the winter wonderland feel complete with feathered friend, it just looks magical. I usually entwine a set of battery powered lights into my wreath and I think they would look great in this one too.

Next week, Becky will be doing a completely different wreath, closer to Christmas because it includes living elements and you’re all going to love it! Thank you Becky!

See you then,
Love
Rebecca
xo

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