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The Underdogs of the Floral World

For something a bit different, I thought I’d take a minute to write a post on underrated flowers because let’s face it, everyone already appreciates the spectacular blooms!

As a florist, working with different blooms is part of the program. We cannot only work with the blooms we love, because at the end of the day, we aren’t the customer and we need to create what our customers want and love. Aside from that, in order to have a successful business you need to ensure your staff are using the material at the correct retail price and costing arrangements properly, rather than giving away your profits by slipping an extra stem in here and there. Equally as important is ensuring your stock is being carefully rotated. We always try to stick to the first in, first out mindset so you are being mindful of your usage and not leaving stock to the side only to throw it out. You can also be sure that you are not selling stock that is too old when you stick to this method.

Underrated flowers have there place certainly. When you begin your studies as a florist, you are taught about the importance of picking a strong focal flower, but in order to create a cohesive arrangement you also need line flowers and transitional flowers.

Source: Mr Fothergills

Transitional flowers lack the ‘punch’ of a focal flower. That is not to say they are not attractive, because they certainly are. Where a focal flower has (usually) a single, eye catching bloom, a transitional flower generally has clusters of individual flowers on the stem. Transitional flowers are used to fill in spaces between the focal and line flowers.

Transitional flowers are like the chorus line in a show. Without them, the show just would not be complete, but in many ways they are not the ones you are there to see. Their job is to support the stars of the show, to make them look their absolute best. Some examples of transitional flowers include asters, chrysanthemums, babies breath, spray roses, stock, Queen Anne’s lace, Geraldton was, lisianthus, Tea Tree, hellebores.

Focal flowers, the show stoppers, are the ones you pay to see. But let’s be honest, a vaseful of peonies or Columbia’s roses would just cost a crazy amount. Aside from that, without transitional flowers or foliage in an arrangement these expensive, special flowers will not sit beautifully in a vase. They will not be spaced out, each with enough room to garner the attention they deserve. Instead they will be sitting in each other’s space, leaning on one another unsupported.

Focal flowers are spectacular flowers like peonies, disbud chrysanthemums, Columbia’s roses, lilies, gerberas, crab claws.

Line flowers creat movement throughout an arrangement. They guide your eye so that you can appreciate the whole design. Examples of line flowers are liatris, amaranthus, heliconias, orchids. Often you use them to direct the movement within the arrangement, and therefore use their natural shape to guide you in that.

Many flowers that were thought of as pretty drab and uninteresting a few years ago, are being reinvented. Babies breath, which people used to turn their noses up at the suggestion of, is now used as the feature flower of some displays. Entire arrangements are made with it in fact.

So whilst in a traditional arrangement the role of these flowers was to support the star of the show, some are now pulling quite an audience of their own. Check out the following images of so-called transitional flowers holding their own.

Fwf x

Feature Image

Gorgeous babies breath wedding. Source : Strictly Weddings
Babies breath wedding via Strictly Weddings

 

Bridal bouquets made entirely of babies breath, source: Hi Miss Puff
Amber Gress Photography, via Brides.com

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(Re)Flexing Your Craft Muscle

Many factors influence a person’s choice of career. As a florist, there might be a passion for decorating, and designing, or a hunger to be involved in large scale events, but at the heart of it all, there must be an undeniable love of flowers.

Mother Nature provides us with such a gorgeous array of flowering plants, which in turn become cut flowers. Funny thing is, we often find new ways to present those flowers rather than leave them in their natural state. There are so many ways to decorate with flowers, and the longer I am in the industry the more I see, and the more I experiment with.

We manipulate the seasons so that we may enjoy our favourite blooms almost year round.

We import blooms from all over the world as we have an insatiable desire that we are seemingly unable to fulfill with what we can produce ourselves.

We colour or dye the blooms, sometimes in such subtle, natural ways, that people are led to believe it is some of Mother Nature’s finest work. At other times, we dye flowers for something different, something in fashion, or perhaps just to fulfil a colour brief….I mean, blue is one of the most popular corporate colours and there are not many true blue flowers in the world, so what were we to do?

We create artificial stems or structures so that we are able to manipulate the bloom within a design.

Floristry has become about far more than simply arranging fresh cut flowers.

One of the current trends is for a rose to have the first and second most outer layers of its petals peeled back to create the most amazing staged version of a rose ‘blooming’. The technique is called “reflexing”. It is a technique that requires a gentle touch and a whole lot of patience as you need to delicately peel the rose petal back and flip it in the opposite direction to the way it naturally grows. When you reflex a rose, you expose the rose head, and are able to create a bloom that is 2-3 times the size of an average rose.

Reflexed Rose arrangement
Flowers by Hermetica via Pinterest
Reflexed rose arrangement
Reflexed Rose arrangement via Brittany Asch Pinterest

Rose reflexing is being used everywhere by everyone, becoming quite the showstopper for events and large scale installations, and it totally makes sense right? If you have the ability to make a Rose look visually much bigger than it actually is, of course it is going to be front and centre in your arrangement.

Reflexing is not a technique that is only confined to roses either. As a young florist I was initially taught how to reflex tulips, which in my opinion is simpler, although it is quite easy to bruise the tulip petal. These days a quick google search of #reflexed will deliver you pictures of almost every type of flower imaginable, turned back on itself. Like all things, not everyone is a fan…and some even hashtag their pics #tortured.

Reflexed tulip. Source: Floral Design Institute

I’d love to know if you are a fan of reflexed blooms or not?

Fwf x

Featured Image: Via Florelle

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Expectation Inflation

Do you find that in today’s world that is saturated with perfect Instagram images, you are more easily disappointed by reality? I’m not talking about your life, and your self worth on this occasion (though we all know that can take a bit of a beating also). I’m talking about purchases that you may have made online, infatuated with a sensational snap, only to find that the reality doesn’t match up.

I’m calling this new negative phenomenon ‘expectation inflation’ and I believe it is REAL! I also believe it is something that our industry and many others need to address, in order to move positively into the future.

Social media has turned everyday images into glamorous photo shoots, where angles, props and scenery are as important as your product. But this has also led us up the garden path to believing that we can achieve perfection, and becoming disappointed when something is anything but.

Perfection really doesn’t exist, does it? Things are perfect in their imperfection, well, certainly in the flower world. There is nothing a florist likes better than a ‘mutant’. Often this adds only more interest to the bloom, and the arrangement as a whole….but understandably is not able to be replicated.

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The difficulty is, the more we post, the more we put out there, the more we show off what is possible and showcase our skills and talent, the more the expectation grows. The expectation of perfection also grows when we only display what we deem perfect….

Yes, it only takes a second to take a snap of an arrangement….but it doesn’t take that long to take the perfect picture does it? Nope. And how many pictures were taken in order to just post one?📸🎞⏲

As a business these days, social media is incredibly important. The quality of images increases your profile and in turn your business’s reach.

I love drooling over beautiful pictures as much as the next person, but I really feel that society’s expectations are rising exponentially fast. As florists we are working with an ever changing product, cut fresh, and the maturing and blooming. Each bloom or branch is unique, making small changes to each arrangement that you create. The colours will differ ever so slightly, the way the branch curves is individual. There is no cookie cutter when you are working with nature, and a creative heart.👩🏻‍🎨🌺🌿

Florist with Flowers always aim to deliver fresh, beautiful arrangements that fulfil our clients requirements, and yes, sometimes that means that substitutions are required. But being a small, local business, means we really value our community and the loyalty they show us, so we go above and beyond to deliver the freshest cut flowers and arrangements. Big business sometimes lose sight of this, and that is what I found with the evidence below. Thought you might enjoy some of these dismal florist fails, where the expection and reality just weren’t on the same level ❌💣🤦‍♀️

I too, would be very disappointed upon receipt of any of these arrangements.

Florist fail
Via Daily Mail UK
Florist failures
Via Bostons Floral (not their work)
Failure to deliver flowers as ordered
Via Cosmopolitan
Hilarious florist fail
Via Cheezburger

Fwf x

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image of an artificial wedding flower arrangement

Is That Faux Real???

It’s Spring, so for the floral world that means that there is an abundance of gorgeous fresh flowers. Spring also marks the start of wedding season; and whilst you can get married at any time of year, the busiest time for nuptials generally spans from September through til March.

Especially popular wedding blooms such as garden roses, David Austin roses, Peonies, Lily of the Valley, Lilac and Hydrangea can be temperamental blooms, and as they are often grown outdoors, and influenced by the weather,  sometimes a contingency plan is best to discuss long before the wedding day to make sure everyone is on the same page.

That contingency plan will differ between clients, what flowers that have chosen, and what their expectations are. For some, a simple tweak is all that will be required. For example, let’s say you had a pale blush pink and white wedding bouquet ordered, made up from a combination of white Peonies and pale pink David Austin roses, with mid pink lisianthus and white lilac. As the wedding day approaches, the growers communicate that they are unable to supply white Peonies or pink David Austins Due to various issues. Provided that the bouquet can still be made in the colour blend discussed, and in the right combination to give you the ideal colour weighting, swapping a white peony for a pale pink one, and a pink rose for a white rose, may be a relatively easy fix.

Sometimes however, quite a different approach may be required…So today, my question is: If you had your heart set on a particular combination of blooms for your wedding bouquet, would you consider using some artificial or ‘silk’ blooms to achieve the look?

Image of Fresh hydrangea arrangement
Fresh hydrangea arrangement. Source: Veranda
Image of Artificial hydrangea arrangement
Artificial hydrangea arrangement. Source: Lavender Hills Interiors

Some years ago….in maybe 2008, shock jock Kyle Sandilands married aspiring pop star Tamara Jaber in an extravagant affair. From memory, her bouquets contained clusters of artificial Hydrangea, intricately woven between the other featured fresh blooms. Hydrangea is one of those flowers that is extremely popular, but can be extremely delicate in our Australian weather. In a hot and dry environment, it is quite possible to dry hydrangea, and for it retain most of its colour. The problem is often our weather is humid, and therefore the hydrangea can not dry, but rather wilts leaving the blooms shrivelled, soft and unrecognisable. Hydrangea requires a lot of water and therefore can be a tricky bloom to work with particularly in summer.

Image of Artificial peonies in a vase
Artificial peonies in a vase. Source Wilmington NC Beer Week
Image of Fresh peonies in a vase
Fresh peonies in a vase. Source:

Another bloom which is extremely popular for weddings is the gorgeous peony. Peonies usually have a local season of about 6 -8 weeks. Peony lovers will know that the bloom starts out as a round ball, pretty much unrecognisable as a peony. Slowly the petals unravel revealing a fluffy, ruffle of frilly petals. As you can appreciate, florists buy fresh flowers in advance for weddings so that they are at the ideal stage of development for the wedding. But, if they are not ready to be cut when you need them, there is little sense cutting a bunch of blooms, which when cut prematurely, will never open. Would you consider the silk equivalent?

Image of Fresh frangipani blooms
Fresh Frangipanis. Source; Homes to Love
Image of an Artificial frangipani
Artificial frangipani. Source: Amazon

Or what about Frangipanis? I suppose you think it would be easy enough just to pick them from some random tree and whip up a bouquet with a luscious summery scent. Frangipanis have to be picked very early in the morning before the sun has really warmed them up or you risk them all browning and wilting. Frangipani blooms are short and closely clustered together. To use them, each flower must be carefully removed and individually wired to create an artificial stem. When flowers are used in this way, they are removed from their water source, and therefore this must be done as close as possible to the time when the bouquets will be used. For this reason, some florists will decline taking on work that requires fresh Frangipanis, or will suggest using artificial or latex versions of the bloom. The clear downside in this case is that artificial blooms will not have the sedeuctive fragrance that Frangipanis are so famous for.

For me, an artificial substitute just will not do if I have to forgo what I love most about a bloom, like it’s fragrance. BUT, I do think that sometimes small quantities of artificial flowers carefully used in combination with some fresh blooms can be a great back up plan when needed….how about you?

Fwf x

 

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Image of Queen Bey wearing her flower headdress

All Hail The Queen of Flowers

Being a mum of two young girls, hairstyling is something I have had to get good at, quick 💇🏼 But, I’ve come to the realisation this week, that I am still reinventing the same tired old hairstyles that I grew up with, and really I have to lift my game. It used to be enough to add a couple of cute clips, or a ribbon. Hell, a hair circlet was reserved for a christening, or confirmation, or wedding….some sort of special occasion. These days, flower crowns are becoming almost commonplace, and it appears that a head literally FULL of flowers is what is hot right now.

What has inspired the new look? Queen Bey, of course.

Image of Queen Bey in her full floral headdress

Beyoncé’s September Vogue cover pictured her wearing a full floral headpiece that was as high as it was wide. Created by inspired London based floral designer, Rebel Rebel, the over the top head piece looked as though she had literally gathered the entire field of flowers on top of her head. Another headpiece created for the shoot was filled with an enormous amount of luscious green leaves, textured elements and lush tropical blooms.

Image of the Vogue cover featuring Bey's full floral headdress
Photo by Tyler Mitchell, Vogue, Sept 2018
Image of Beyoncé floral headpiece from Vogue Magazine
Photo by Tyler Mitchell, Vogue, Sept 2018

The UK version of the magazine featured Rhianna on the cover also adorned with a full floral piece. So, given that the September issue is the most important issue of the year for the fashion magazine, it appears that flowers are going to be HUGE for the year ahead.

Image of Rihanna wearing her full floral piece from Vogue UK

As is often the case with Beyoncé, this trend has kicked into overdrive. Taylor R (@iamtay_tay) says she was inspired by Beyoncé’s floral head fashion, and so set about creating her own user friendly version that she has shared with the world via You Tube. Her unique ‘up style’ reduces the weight and heat of a full floral piece making the trend more accessible for ordinary people to incorporate everyday 😂

Image of a woman that turned her hair into a flower vase - VIRAL

The floral industry has seen designs like the living card come and go, so why not a living vase? While as a creative I appreciate someone thinking outside the box, I have to be honest and say I am just not convinced that this flower vase hair is going to take off.

Still, we are totally willing and able to create. gorgeous arrangement for you should you wish to experiment with this new look for your next party, exhibition…or just a day at the office 😉 Because, after all you should never let someone else’s opinion become your reality….you only get one life to live, have fun with it!

Fwf x

 

 

 

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Floral Beards, Wigs and Wonder

Agricultural shows like Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, as well as regional shows, like Brisbane’s EKKA have always included some sort of floral design competition. In addition to prize winning specimens of stunning camellias, roses, and of course the local gigantic pumpkin, a variety of arrangements are submitted, displayed and judged on a a list of criteria.

This years EKKA took the concept of ‘manscaping’ to a whole new level. Instead of removing excess hair, the challenge at yesterday’s EKKA instead was to decorate the beard and head area of a (brave and) a willing participant using a combination of flowers and trees native to Queensland. In addition to exploring creativity, the event was able to shine the light brightly on the gorgeous native flora from the region, which can often be overlooked for imported varieties.

Floral beards
Source : Channel 7 News
Floral beards
Channel 7 News
Floral beards
Source: Channel 7 News
Floral beards
Source: Channel 7 News
Floral beards
Source: Channel 7 News

The trend has featured at EKKA over the last couple of years and provides an interesting medium to work with. Florists are accustomed to working on intricate floral crowns, floral fascinators, head bands, corsages, neckpieces, buttonholes, even pieces to attach to your clutch bag.

Competitions often provide an opportunity to experiment in ways that we don’t get in our usual business dealings. Over the years I have seen challenges like this where you get to dress a mannequin in flowers, or create wonderful scenes entirely from flowers. It is an incredible to experience to ‘see’ your materials in an entirely new light. I’m reminded of this often when playing with my children. Like when you’re lying on the grass looking at the clouds and seeing shapes and scenes, similarly, my middle child will pick up a coloured leaf on a walk that may have an unusual shape and will see a way she can use it in a piece of art.

I do not anticipate that floral beards are the next big thing. However for the hipster crowd it may provide an interesting and certainly unique way for men to incorporate more florals in their outfits for a special occasion. Just as men began wearing engagement rings a few years ago, we may see some orders for a floral beard adornment for a wedding. Why do the girls get to have all the fun? 😉 Floral expression is something entirely personal and so that means that our designs are guided by what our customer wants.

In the meantime, it gets our creative juices flowing simply thinking about the possibilities. And sometimes, the act of just thinking differently can be the key….

Fwf x

 

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Inspired by Nature

Many of you are probably familiar with Cicely Mary Barker’s 1920’s collection of books; a unique series that combined the illustration of delicate creatures, holding flowers available throughout the different seasons of the year. Her ‘Flower Fairy’ books have since been republished many times, using modern techniques to lovingly reproduce Barker’s original artworks.

Barker lacked formal artistic training, however she was happiest with a sketch pad in her hand. Her passionate dedication led to her first publication at the tender age of 15, with a series of postcards. Cicely Mary Barker was largely educated at home due to ill health, and was a self taught artist with obvious natural ability. The Flower Fairies, first published in 1923, brought her international acclaim as an artist.

Each fairy was designed holding a bloom, illustrated with meticulous botanical accuracy, and dressed in a costume that quite often looked like the flower had been carefully dissected and placed, petal by petal in place of clothes. The series has continued to capture both children and adults alike, and has certainly earned its place amongst classic literature.

Her summer edition includes many of this season’s treats, such as the glorious summer garden rose, scabiosa, forget-me-nots and more. I love her winged creatures, with their dainty features, the delicate belled sleeves, and full, blossomed skirts.

While it is not quite the same, many designers recently have used flower petals to create fashion pieces, and I can’t help but wonder if Barker may have provided some inspiration. Grace Ciao, a Singaporean artist, along with Lim Zhi Wei have deconstructed flowers and placed the petals back piece by piece to create frilly skirts and full, flouncy dresses. We’ve included a selection of examples by each, and will let you make up your own mind. What is evident however is that nature provides us with boundless inspiration, if only we take the time to see it.

Fwf x

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* THE SONG OF *

THE FORGET-ME-NOT FAIRY

So small, so blue, in grassy places

My flowers raise

Their tiny faces.

By streams my bigger sisters grow,

And smile in gardens,

In a row.

I’ve never seen a garden plot;

But though I’m small,

Forget me not!

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* THE SONG OF *

THE SCABIOUS FAIRY

Like frilly cushions full of pins

for tiny dames and fairykins;

Or else like dancers decked with gems,

My flowers sway on slender stems.

They curtesy in the meadow grass,

And nod to butterflies who pass.

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* THE SONG OF *

THE ROSE FAIRY

Best and dearest flower that grows,

Perfect both to see and smell;

Words can never, never tell

Half the beauty of a Rose –

Buds that open to disclose

Fold on fold of purest white,

Lovely pink, or red that glows

Deep, sweet-scented. What delight

To be Fairy of the Rose!

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* THE SONG OF *

THE FUCHSIA FAIRY

Fuchsia is a dancer

Dancing on her toes,

Clad in red and purple,

By a cottage wall;

Sometimes in a greenhouse,

In a frilly white and rose,

Drssed in her best for the fairies’ evening ball!

Grace Ciao design
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Grace Ciao design
Arum lilies used to create elegant skirts
Lim Zhi Wei design
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Lim Zhi Wei design
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Lim Zhi Wei design

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Taste of Summer – Pineapples

In winter, I like things cosy; warm lighting, textured fabrics, and throws, rich colour tones. Autumn calls for warm, rustic tones and layering, and Spring with it’s new growth sprouting, beckons for fresh, light colour tones, light layers and bright open spaces.

For me, Summer has a different feeling….or flavour if you like. Australian summers can be anything from hot and dry, to wet and sticky….but regardless, the longer days call us outside and give us a special kind of motivation.

Summer fruit bowls are full of colour and offer so much vareiety; lychees, melons, grapes, mangoes and pineapples….just to name a few.

Did you know that the pineapple is part of the bromeliaceae family? In fact, the pineapple is the only bromeliad that is a commercially important food. Most other bromeliads are popular as ornamental plants, whether grown in a garden or kept as a indoor house plant. The popular tropical fruit is the single most economically significant bromeliad. Pineapples can be enjoyed raw, cooked or juiced, and ornamental pineapples are just as versatile.

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Image; Bakker

If the latest news is anything to go by, this year has been a bumper year for pineapple production, so much so, that hundreds of tonnes of the fruit were left to rot in North Queensland. Like all fresh grown produce, timing your crop is especially important. This year however, due to higher temperatures and early rain, the glut in supply coincided with the Golden Circle cannery’s annual holiday closure period. Ouch…They warn that this will affect the availability of Australian canned pineapple in the months to come.

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Image: Bakker

For florists, Pineapples provide an interesting textured focal. Ornamental pineapples can create an exotic, and glamorous display paired with other tropical blooms or simple foliage. They can be the traditional green and gold varieties, and also come with a beautiful pink blush to them with rich burgundy foliage. This makes the creative possibilities almost endless!!! Fruit has been used within flower arrangements for an eternity, that is nothing new, but the way we use materials these days differs. If you are aiming to create tropical themed nuptials, the humble pineapple could certainly provide a dramatic answer, check out some of the inspiration below!

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Via Pinterest

I love the way the pineapples have been used in the tablescape above.  It is the kind of idea that can be easily adapted for use at home or parties, and the best thing about it is it can be enjoyed later too!

But, if fruit in your flower arrangements really isn’t your thing, you can always combine your pineapple with a touch of white rum, coconut milk, ice and a fancy paper umbrella for the true taste of summer! 🍹 🍍 🌴  It’d be a shame for any more of these glorious specimans to go to waste… 😂

Fwf x

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Bandit By Name, Brilliant By Nature

With the new year fast approaching, many are probably putting pen to paper jotting down the aspirations they have for the year ahead. I must admit I stopped writing New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago…

I believe in living life the way that you want to live it every day, and if you do that, you don’t really need to have New Year’s Resolutions”

– Tom Ford

I stumbled across a story of a guerilla floral designer in New York attempting to do just that; living and creating the life he wants each and every day….and spreading his joy in the process. Like many of us in the wedding and event industries- we spend countless hours bringing a vision to life, to create what appears to be the perfect day. Most of the time, sadly, many of the flowers are left or discarded. In some ways I guess they have already served their purpose, but this floral designer decided he could spread the joy much, much further.

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Image; Lewis Miller Design

Lewis Miller and his team, now takes armfuls of fresh cut flowers that are largely left over from events to decorate garbage cans around the city of New York. Yep, you read that right….garbage bins. Why? Miller, despite having a successful, thriving business, was feeling unfulfilled. The idea behind these street art installations was that Miller and his team could create something more authentic and organic in nature, to spread the feeling of joy, and make everlasting memories for everyday city dwellers.

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Image; Lewis Miller Designs

Lewis Miller, owner of Lewis Miller Designs says “Gifting flowers to New Yorkers is a simple idea that I have been thinking about for years.”

Miller, dubbed the ‘Flower Bandit’ by Vogue, began his “Flower Flashes” in October 2016, and initially intended it to be just a one off event to reinvigorate himself artistically and reconnect with his craft. It evolved into a beautiful shared experience for countless New Yorkers, creating a positive emotional response from the floral installations.

“Who doesn’t love to get flowers? They are such a luxury, and New York City is a very gritty, fast-paced town. If we can bring nature—something wild and sumptuous—to New Yorkers and make them smile, the way people smile when they witness a random act of kindness, then that is a great thing. That is my goal. It’s a really simple vision but powerful, I think, to try to create an emotional response through flowers.”

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Image; Lewis Miller Designs

In addition to the beautiful blooming bins filled with spectacular bouquets of flowers, Miller and his team have also  decorated statues, sculptures and other public works of art. By adding fresh flowers, these landmarks have been transformed into colourful and eye catching displays.

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Image; Lewis Miller Design

 

“My team and I work really fast and very early in the a.m. Our call time for these flashes is 5:45 a.m., and we try to finish them before sunrise. We always recycle flowers from events when possible.”

“I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. These flashes are so gratifying and rewarding on many levels.”

Florist with Flowers would like to wish you all a very happy New Year, go forth into 2018 with the courage and conviction to be the change in the world that you wish to see.

Fwf x

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Foraging for Home

To forage; is to search widely for, hunt or search for provisions.

It’s not a new idea by any means, but foraging is back in vogue.  Often the concept centres around collecting food supplies, but what I am referring to here is foraging for unique materials that can be utilised when arranging florals.

Wholesalers throughout the Sydney and Interstate markets provide us with a wonderful array of flowers and foliage, as do our local growers BUT sometimes there are reasons for us to look elsewhere. You may need several different texture elements in an arrangement and it simply doesn’t make financial sense to outlay the expense of buying a whole bunch of each. Plus you have to remember that growers provide what the market is asking for; DEMAND drives SUPPLY. Therefore, if something is simply not popular (as opposed to being ‘unpopular’),  fewer people (if any) will choose to grow it.

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Image; A little Terroir

The problem is that the stock variety on offer at the market declines based on what is profitable, and what is popular, and therefore it is hard to get your hands on quality produce that sits outside of the box! The result? You have to grow it yourself, or find someone, somewhere that does!

For the more bespoke arrangements, unique materials are required. It is the intricacies in that details that makes the design speak so loudly, so going that extra mile to find the perfect material certainly pays dividends. Like the gorgeous bouquet below from Botanica featuring so many different elements, sometimes just single stems, which creates so much interest and movement throughout the arrangement.

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Image; Bespoke bridal bouquet from Botanica

But the concept of foraging is something that you can incorporate at home too- by foraging just for foliage you can save yourself a lot. Tropical leaves are often sold per piece, which can quickly add up. Even bunches of green leaves like camellia, laurel, vibernum or magnolia can be quite costly to add to your vase of flowers, especialy if you have a tree in your backyard where you can get what you need for free.

 

Many plants will love having a good hard prune once a year, so chopping the tops off your Cordyline plants or Dracenas will do them the world of good. You will find that fresh foliage like this will last you several weeks if not months, so purchasing some fresh cut flowers weekly to make your display more colourful and eye-catching is still good value! It might even allow you a little extra $$$ to play with!

I am a massive fan of foraging for foliage. We regularly collect Philodendron and Monsteria leaves locally, and I’ve been enjoying whole heads of cordyline plants from our garden for weeks teamed with spiraling Corksia ginger foliage.

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Image; Foraged supplies from Hej Doll

It’s important to remember that not all plants are ideal for using as cut flowers or foliage. Some simply do not have a long vase life, or are not happy submerged in water. In addition to that, some plants are poisonous, so it is important that when you forage that you are not using the flowers on food items, and that you always wash your hands. Reactions can be mild rashes and itching, but can also be severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. If in doubt, cut only what you know is safe to use/touch and seek more information.

It’s a lovely winter activity for the family to go out and collect things together, and is a nice substitute for collecting shells along the beach in summer.

Fwf x

 

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