Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sweet charity

I recently did wedding flowers for a lovely couple who sourced their containers for their ceremony and reception flowers from charity shops. I was so thrilled to do their wedding and the containers they chose were fantastic - they had so much character and really fitted in well with the style of the wedding.

Here's a sneak peak of the arrangements before they were delivered and set up at the venue, which was a barge on the Thames.

I'm collecting tea caddies for my own flowers, so I was certainly glad to arrange flowers in this vintage tin. I like the pops of colour from the roses, pale blue ageratum and white snowberries (which you may remember means 'fate' from the wedding I did for my friends a year ago), the trails of jasmine, and the mysterious-looking pink scabious.

This beautiful glass vase was filled with Sorbet Avalanche and pink spray roses and later topped up with freesias, which were the main flowers for the bridal party. The vase was for the ceremony table, so I thought I would do an arrangement that was less rustic-looking and more romantic and pretty-pretty, with fairy-like ammi/dill (I'm not sure which - it looked like bishop's flower and the stems were tiny) and panicum 'Frosted Explosion' (which looks like a kind of fountain grass). As well as plenty of jasmine, meaning 'attachment' in flower language, and a pretty foliage to use in wedding flowers.

This cute cake vase ended up being used on the sweetie table, and it fitted right in with the pastel sweets! I love the scattering of delicate white cosmos, panicum, and nigella - it looks like a vase of pick 'n' mix!

You can barely see it in this photo, but I like this ivory and gold vase - to me it looks both simple and opulent. As it's taller, I included some bright cosmos on their long, wiry stems, curvy snapdragons, and trails of foliage.

I have to admit, I am a little bit envious of this birdcage. Look how beautiful and dramatic it is...and that's before it's in situ (on an amazing cake table). It's an incredible find, and one that was just asking to be filled with flowers! As it's a bit of a fiddly job and it uses floral foam, I mainly used stronger-stemmed pink Michaelmas daisies, pink and white snowberries, spray roses, pittosporum and senecio.

If I can find beauties like these, I think I'll spend my spare days touring charity shops!

Now, about the flowers. The bridal flowers, which I've not shown here, are mostly Sorbet Avalanche roses, pink spray roses, and white freesias. The jasmine and pittosporum is from the garden. But the rest of the flowers and foliage - nigella, ammi/dill (not sure which!), scabious, snowberries, ageratum, verbena, clary, cosmos, achillea, flowering mint, Michaelmas daisy, veronica, snapdragons, panicum, senacio and eucalyptus - were from Blooming Green Flowers near Maidstone in Kent. It's a flower farm run by two friendly and very hard-working women, Bek and Jen, who I met a few months ago when I was looking for growers. They grow all sorts of wonderful flowers and foliage for cutting, which you can either ask them to arrange, or you can pick yourself. If you have any aspirations to do flower arranging and you love seasonal, British flowers, it's well worth experiencing the pick-your-own bucket. It felt like the first time I went to a charity booksale at my old place of work, where there were tables and tables of fantastic new books being sold for 50p each, and I was like a kid in a sweet shop. I know I cut flowers from my family's garden (and that is awesome), but being in a field full of different flowers is something else!

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