Shelling peas

The Simple Things

I’m in the midst of school holidays, and if I’m really honest I looked forward to hiding myself away for a little while to write this very blog post just a touch toooo much. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy being with my kids….I certainly do. In fact this year my eldest started school and I miss her being around terribly. I do think however, that in an effort to give our children more, we give them less, and leave ourselves with nothing 🤔 So my quiet time tucked away working can be my salvation.

I started jotting down things they asked to do, or things I thought could be fun as the school term was coming to an end. Of course there is some expectation that we might see one movie, but they are pretty darn happy running through the sprinkler, or playing board games, or passing the time playing together and having conversations with each other (and me) about nothing and everything.

It’s true we all parent differently and we’ve all been parented differently, so sometimes the things we value and see as important, non negotiable or necessary are also very different.

Daisy chain
Gorgeous daisy chains via The Reluctant Migrant

If you think about the things you enjoyed most when you were growing up, what do you remember? I could bet that it wasn’t some elaborate play date – did they even exist as a ‘thing’ back then? Or full day excursions to a theme park or a play centre? I doubt it.

Our world was simpler, wasn’t it? Hours used to pass sitting and playing at the local park, which was nothing more than a swing set and a slide (probably metal 😂)…surrounded with plenty of wide open green space and trees. Endless possibilities.
We’d climb the trees of course, and swing and slide…and then we’d sit, picking out “lucky” four leafed clovers.
Only the other day I realised this was something I was yet to do with my children. We had discovered a new park full of clover and bees….LOTS of them. It was a welcome sight, and a brought with it a feeling of nostalgia.

We sat collecting the small white flowers and I demonstrated the way you could link them together. Slowly the girls copied and created crowns for their heads.

Lucky four leafed clover
Lucky one! Source; Wikipedia

So I guess this got me thinking about the simplest pleasures we can share with our children, that are inspired by nature’s plants and flowers.

Here’s my list of just some of the wonderful opportunities Mother Nature has gifted us with, that we may use to bond with, talk to and teach our children;

1. Daisy chains 🌼
2. “Lucky” Four leafed clover hunts ☘️☘️☘️🍀
3. Plucking petals from a flower head one by one…he loves me….he loves me not… until you are finally presented with the answer you desire. 🥀
4. Carefully picking Dandelions, and then blowing the seeds into the breeze, carrying with it all your hopes and dreams. 🌬
5. Collecting different coloured leaves 🍁
6. Collecting leaves from different trees- use them for ‘rubbings’, or paint on one side and make prints, or press them into clay to see the leaf’ structure. 👩🏻‍🎨
7. Shell peas fresh from the garden 👨‍🍳
8. Use white chrysanthemums stems placed in different food colourings to demonstrate the capillary network within the flower structure. 👨🏼‍🔬
9. Collect interesting flowers and sprigs to press. 🌾
10. Make a grass head 👨🏼‍🌾

a girl blowing on a dandelion done with a vintage retro instagram filter
a girl blowing on a dandelion. Source: Flower Meaning
Sage leaves pressed into clay for added texture
Sage leaves pressed into clay for added texture
Dying chrysanthemums with food colouring
Science experiment time with flowers and food colouring. Source: Laughing kids Learn

The beauty of all these activities is that children feel more connected to the world in which they live in, while you provide great opportunities for conversations and questions. Plus, things in nature just seem to take longer, so it helps develop patience. Spring is a beautiful time of the year to get out and enjoy the environment, with plenty of fresh flowers in bloom and great varieties of fresh cut flowers available in store to play with too! Teach them how to ‘arrange’ flowers by using a selection of our market fresh cut flower specials and a small glass bottle. It is easy to fill and will give them that feeling of achievement. Get them to help you water the garden; whether it is with a hose, watering can or old milk bottle, young ones love to be busy.

Fwf x

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Would you consider artificial wedding flowers?

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?

Fresh hydrangea arrangement
Fresh hydrangea arrangement. Source: Veranda
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.

Artificial peonies in a vase
Artificial peonies in a vase. Source Wilmington NC Beer Week
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?

Fresh frangipani blooms
Fresh Frangipanis. Source; Homes to Love
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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Colour Your Life – Baby Blue

Soft pastel tones are popular because they appear more delicate and gentle. Sometimes, a more muted colour palette seems like the more ‘appropriate’ choice; whether it be soft pink or baby blue for the arrival of a precious new child,  or whites and lemons for a funereal arrangement.

I guess for the same reason, muted tones are popular for weddings. Visually, a soft colour palette will look more gentle against a white or cream gown. Where adding dark or more rich colour tones will add drama to your event, soft pastel tones add a gentle touch, and a romantic and intimate feeling to your wedding or event.

Baby blue is always a popular choice for wedding flowers, and this is  (at least partly) because many of the natural blue flowers available come in softer tones.

Globally blue is one of the most popular colours. It represents confidence, calm authority, intelligence, peace, productivity and trust.

Blue is an almost universally liked colour, and has many ties to our natural environment making it more appealing. Men favour blue also.

Blue is believed to have positive effects on both the body and the mind. It is believed that it improves mental clarity, produces a calming effect, inspires creativity, lowers the heart rate and even slows human metabolism.Pale blue is especially related to health and healing, peace, tranquility, and understanding.

Baby blue was successfully combined with a soft rose pink by Pantone in 2017, as ‘dual’ colours of the year. The two pastel tones worked wonderfully well together and inspired soft, and delicate palettes reminiscent of vintage tea sets.

Baby blue with Powder pink
Colour palette inspiration

Blue also works beautifully with other colours that have a blue base such as mauves, and greens. A ‘cool’ colour scheme like this will further the feeling of calm and tranquility.

Cool colour tones
Cool colour tones, all with a blue base. Source: Design Seeds

If you like to add contrast to your arrangement, when using pastel colour tones, the contrast is more subtle. Blues opposing or ‘complementary’ colour is orange. So, for baby blue, peachy apricot tones work as it’s complement.

Baby blue, blue, peach and apricot blend
Contrast: Blue, peach and apricot. Source; Southern Living

The choice of baby blue flowers is not extensive by any means, but what they lack in variety, they certainly make up for in beauty. Check out these glorious specimens…

Grape Hyacinth. Source;
Grape Hyacinth. Source; surface view
Blue Sea Holly
Blue Sea Holly. Source; Holland Bulb Flowers
Powder blue delphinium
Powder blue delphinium.

Powdery blue iris

Blue forget me nots
Forget me nots are such a sweet, sweet addition to a bouquet
Blue hydrangea
Blue hydrangea is such a stunning flower, used alone or in combination with other flowers too. Source The DIY Lighthouse

Blue needn’t be artificial or garish. Using natural blue tones will give you a beautifully soft and delicate aesthetic. If choosing another colour is difficult for you, and you really want the blue to be the feature, consider using a very natural colour palette, teaming the blue with browns or beiges. This works well with the groom’s suit colour choices as well 😉

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Fwf x

 

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Colour Your Life – Wonderfully White

White is a colour with special significance, and I truly believe that it will forever be popular. At present, ‘Hamptons’ styling has firmly positioned white flowers and accessories in the spotlight, but even when that dies down, sophisticated white will remain in some other capacity.

Hamptons inspo
Hamptons Styling. Source: The girls of Lincoln Park

White is incredibly versatile in styling, it brings light and sophistication, simplicity and elegance. It suits most decors and makes a safe choice when sending flowers as a gifts when you are unsure of someone’s taste.

It is a colour I would also recommend sending when using an unknown florist in an unfamiliar area, particularly if you are unsure of the work style. Basically you can’t get white and green wrong , can you? There is no danger of mixing the wrong shades together, so it keeps things simpler.

Gorgeous white bouquet

White is a colour associated with cleanliness, such as in hospitals and with doctors. It is also associated with heavenly creatures such as angels.

Most significantly, white is utilised in wedding celebrations. This is because pure white is symbolic of innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the colour symbolic of perfection. A white wedding dress, or white wedding flowers used to be commonplace, it was even expected, but these days, the colours used within weddings does vary.

There are many flowers available in white,  BUT there are also some special flowers that are ONLY available in white such as Lily of the Valley.

Other beauties available in white include; Queen Anne’s Lace, agapanthus, magnolia blooms, Tuberose, Snowdrops, Astilbe, Buddleja, Frangipani, Pieris, Tulips, Lilies, Calla lilies, Stock, Snapdragons, Roses, Lisianthus, Freesias, Hydrangea, Peonies, Dahlias, Chrysanthemums, Carnations, Delphiniums, Gladioli,  Protea, Fruit blossoms, Gardenia, Baby’s breath, Anthurium, Daisies, Orchids (Dendrobium, Phaleonopsis, Cymbidium, etc)

Often, when you choose your wedding gown, it is tempting to try to match your flowers to that shade…..but the reality is there are probably hundreds of shades between ‘Bridal white’ and ‘Cream’. Nature, well…it just isn’t like that. But more than that, by attempting to match something that is reproduced via formula with something that is influenced by weather, soil conditions and mineral content, rain etc… you are asking for trouble.

Varieties of David Austin roses for example, that are ordered as white, might throw just a hint of soft pink at some times, influenced by low temperatures at the beginning of the season. That same variety may appear pure white when the temperatures warm up.

By the same token, some of the whites flowers available can appear to look yellow against a pure white dress fabric. That is simply because white in nature is not a pure white when compared to something that is bleached or created artificially.

I think we can all agree there are some stunning cut flowers to choose from in white, the hard bit is deciding where to start…

Dahlia
Dahlia. Source: Eat Drink Garden
Magnolia bloom
Magnolia. Source: Style Files
White Protea
White Protea. Source: Protea Flora
Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace. Source: Shabby Cottage Studio
Tuberose
Tuberose. Source: Country Living
Lilac
Lovely Lilac. Source: My Folia
Gardenia
Gardenia. Source: Monrovia

Fwf x

 

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Royal purple

Colour in Your Life – Royal Purple

Some colours command attention, and purple is a colour that certainly does that. Originally, purple was an incredibly costly colour to produce which contributed to it’s exclusivity. The reason for this was that the mucous from 9000 Mediterranean sea snails was required to make just a small quantity of natural Tyrian Purple dye.

Queen Elizabeth I, implemented and enforced Sumptuary Laws; laws which regulated the colours, fabrics and clothes that society was either able or unable to wear based on their class. During her reign, the colour we now know as ‘Royal Purple’ was reserved for the royal family. Queen Elizabeth I forbad anyone outside close members of the royal family to wear it.

Then, some 150 years ago, purple began weaving it’s way into society’s lower classes when an 18 year old chemist accidently created a synthetic purple dye whilst attempting to make Quinine, an anti-malaria drug. Whoops! Whilst he was not successful in making Quinine, he became incredibly well known and successful after his fortunate discovery. When he noticed that what he had concocted in his home lab could be used to dye fabrics, he quickly patented the dye and produced it under the name aniline purple.

Purple is a colour that looks great with various shades of itself. Monocramatic colour schemes work well as they play with differing shades of one colour.

Monocramatic

An analogous colour scheme uses a collection of colours that sit side by side on the colour wheel. These tend to work well together and look harmonious.

Analogous

For whatever reason, purple seems to be a colour people like to use with highly contrasting colours like orange, or bright yellow. While they certainly make an impact, these bright colour schemes do not suit everyone.

Contrasting colours

Contrasting colours

One of my favourite colour schemes using purple is when it is combined with shades of green. It works particularly well when you also use mauve along with the royal purple.

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The colour purple combines the energetic strength of red and the stability of blue. It symbolises nobility, dignity, royalty, prestige, luxury and ambition. It conveys both wealth and extravagance. It is also associated with creativity, mystery and magic. It is a colour that resonates with creative souls and humanitarians, it promotes mental balance and harmony of the mind, encourages sensitivity and compassion. But beware, too much purple is believed to exacerbate depression in those vulnerable to it. It is a colour that should be used in the home sparingly.

If you feel like Purple is the colour for you, you certainly have some  beautiful options. Just remember that the season will affect what is available to you for your event.

Royal Navy (purple) sweet pea
Sweet Pea. Source: Eden Brothers
Lilac
Lovely Lilac blooms 😍 Source: pinimg
Bearded iris
Bearded Iris. Source: Comanche Acres Iris
Purple Liatris
Purple Liatris. Source: Gardenerdy
Purple tulips
Deep purple tulips. Source: Jbirdny
Purple Lilac blooms
Purple Vanda Orchids
Purple Lisianthus
Purple Lisianthus. Source: Danisa Flowers
Various purple hyacinths
Various purple toned hyacinths. Source: Garden Design
Pretty purple carnations
Gorgeous purple carnations. Source: Pro Flowers
Butterfly buddleja
Butterfly Buddleja. Source: Not Cutts
Purple and mauve roses
Purple and mauve roses. Source: Gold Florist
Summery hydrangea
Summery hydrangea. Sourced via Pinterest
Deep purple delphinium
Delphinium. Source: Walters Garden

Another gorgeous colour to kick off your inspiration. Enjoy!

Fwf x

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Burgundy colour wedding or flower theme

Colour In Your Life – Burgundy

For whatever reason, individuals seem to be drawn to certain colours. Maybe it is entrenched from a young age; perhaps you were told that a particular colour really suited your complexion, you liked the way that felt, and before you know it, you favour that colour in almost every aspect of your life.

Or perhaps you like the way a colour makes you feel. Green, for example, I find very soothing and calming…and who doesn’t need that kind of influence in today’s world?! Being surrounded with natural greenery or accessorising with green through my home, helps create a feeling of Zen.

The benefit of favouring a colour, is as you become more comfortable with it, you build confidence in playing around with it, trying different combinations, and experimenting with different ‘looks’.

A colour can dictate a theme within a home, or create a scheme for a wedding, or party. It is not necessary to match your flowers to the other elements, instead, you use the flowers to tie the other elements together. Perhaps you like a particular colour flower….well, you can use that as your inspiration and build your colour scheme around it.

This week, we take a look at BURGUNDY. Burgundy gets its name from the colour of Burgundy Wine, and often the terms Burgundy, the French term “Bordeaux” and Wine are interchangeable to describe the colour tone.

Burgundy is a shade lighter than maroon, and became the most popular hue for lipstick back in the 1990’s. It is a rich deep red to brown colour with a purple tint. It is a rich and sophisticated colour associated with a love of the luxurious. It is thoughtful and controlled, serious, rested, yet warm and comfortable.

Burgundy looks great with:

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Deep violet, burgundy, gold, antique blush and soft grey tones; the perfect balance of rich and soft colour tones. This mix has a touch of vibrancy with the addition of the gold.

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Rich burgundy teamed with sage green, navy blue and blush pink is a grounded combination that features earthy tones together with the soft femininity of blush pink. Depending on how much of the blush tones you decide to use, this mix could be fairly deep, dark….even moody, making it quite a dramatic choice.

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The combination of mauve, soft pink and soft grey would be very soft and pastel. In fact, if not played against something rich, it could end up looking rather insipid. But, put together with the deep sophistication of burgundy, the mix is rich and romantic.

Check out the gorgeous burgundy flowers that you can choose from if you decide to use it as your inspirational feature colour.

Amaranthus is also known as love lies bleeding
Amaranthus, aka Love lies bleeding. The colour and texture make this such an interesting choice. Source; Swallowtail Garden Seeds
Burgundy peonies are stunning
Peonies are always a popular choice, but the stunning burgundy is something extra special. Source; Ali Express

 

Burgunday dahlias
Dahlias are always an explosion of colour, and the burgundy version is no exception. Source; Ali Express
Deep burgunday gladioli will make a statement in a vase
Burgundy gladioli. Source; Stargazer Perennials Catalogue
Ranunculus are available in many colours including burgunday/wine
Burgundy/wine ranunculus
Snapdragons are available in a wide variety of colours including this rich red burgundy tone
Burgunday Snapdragons.
Bordeaux Anenome
Stunning burgundy anenomes. Source; Zulily
Burgundy calla lilies are often referred to as black in colour
Burgundy Calla lilies are sometimes referred to as Black in colour.

Like everything in nature, colours will vary, and what may be considered burgundy in one flower variety could vary wildly to another burgundy flower. Colour schemes are not as straight forward as picking from Pantone colour charts, it is impossible to match things in nature like that. Instead choose a scheme and understand that matching colours is not imperative to make a scheme work, but rather working with tonal variations.

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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Sweet Baby’s Breath

When I started my career in floristry many moons ago, I watched my mentors cringe at the mention of many flowers that I had grown up admiring throughout the 80’s and 90’s. I was new to the industry and of course I was wide eyed and so easily impressed by the artistry that seemed so effortless to them. I was also easily influenced and quickly learnt how to turn my nose up too.

They knew what colours worked together, so while I fumbled through the flower stand daily ‘experimenting’ with different combinations, or following the rules I had learnt via TAFE, they were busy creating colour schemes which were far more sophisticated, and upon first looks, appeared to break all the rules I had been adhering to.

There were blooms that were favoured- premium type blooms that need not beg for attention….as soon as they were unpacked there was a fight on to see who could gobble them up the quickest. The divine garden roses, or peonies were among them, along with anything especially seasonal like daphne, lilac, or lily of the valley, or if something was a particularly unique colour, or especially beautiful quality.

Other flowers were unpacked with an air of distaste and dissatisfaction….flowers that were seen as outdated, or daggy, out of fashion and lacking the finesse that was required in the work we were aiming to create. For someone new to the industry I sometimes couldn’t follow why something was snarled at one week, and adored the next. As time went on and I gained experience in the industry I began to understand how rapidly fashions changed and also how if a beautiful version of something came in, the way it was viewed changed too. What do I mean? Run of the mill Baby’s Breath is a prime example. The standard bunches can look rather ratty BUT a premium variety Gyposophila like ‘Million Stars’ has many more tiny flowers closer together then regular babies breath. The result is that with so many more tiny white blooms along the stems, it looks brighter and seems fuller in appearance.

Baby’s breath lost favour for so many years, but has seen a rise in popularity in recent times. These days though, Baby’s Breath is being used as a feature flower rather than a filler flower being mixed with other flowers in arrangements. Now, premium varieties of the flower are used alone.

Baby’s Breath is soft, delicate, feminine, light weight, white….so it is no surprise that it makes an ideal wedding flower. As it is available with long stems which are branched in appearance, you are able to create wide spread arrangements that are light weight to hold. Large centrepiece arrangements can look impressive, yet still delicate and ‘floaty’, almost cloud-like in appearance.

Baby’s Breath has been a popular addition to weddings over the years, usually with other flowers, but check out the way you can use this simple bloom for weddings and event all alone.

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Image via Pinterest
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Image; Flowers by Twisted Willow via Wedding Chicks

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Image; Whimsical Wonderland Weddings
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Tall centrepieces by Maria from Simply Flowers
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Image; Bella Blooms Studio via Etsy
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Image; Elle Pupa via The Wedding Pin
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Image; Boho Weddings via Thinkstock
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Image; Pinterest
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Image; Brooke Courtney via My Wedding

When I began my training, I was told that anyone could make something look beautiful with amazing flowers, but it took someone truly talented to make something beautiful out of ‘ugly’ ingredients. Never underestimate what a good florist can do….

Fwf x

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It’s Never Too Late To CREATE!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun”Albert Einstein

Some people are street smart, others are book smart, and some other people are smart in a way that many are envious of…they are creative. Creative people have a unique way of looking at the world, and at looking at problems….coming up with solutions that others could not contemplate.

A 91 year old Czech woman has spent the last 30 odd years beautifying a small village, turning it into her own art gallery by hand painting flowers over the facade of the houses. It looks like Louka, a small town of only about 70 people in the Czech Republic, is set to become the next village famous simply for being charming and beautiful. Anežka (Agnes) Kašpárková, paints the window and door frames of the houses throughout spring and summer, slowly covering her hometown in her ultramarine designs. After working for years in agriculture, cultivating plants to support her family,  Agnes turned to painting about 30 years ago having being mentored by Manakova, a local women. When she passed away Agnes decided to continue her work. She uses bright blue paints which contrast the white walls of the Moravian homes. Creating intricate designs free hand, without drafting, her inspiration is from the traditional Southern Czech (Moravian) artworks. The chapel enjoys an annual touch up each May, when the artist spends 10 days decorating the freshly whitewashed chapel walls.

Why does she do it? “I am an Artist. I just enjoy it and I want to help.” Agnes says. “I’m just doing what I like,” she adds, humbly. “I try to help decorate the world a bit.”

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Image by Obec Louka via Bored Panda
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Image by Obec Louka via Bored Panda. Agnes seen here painstakingly painting the floral motifs
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Image by Obec Louka via Bored Panda. “I am an Artist. I just enjoy it and I want to help.”

It is not the first time something like this has been done….do you remember the little Polish village that is also adorned with flowers?

Zalipie, in Poland was just an isolated small town; bleak and somewhat forgotten. The smoke blackened huts of the village provided the local housewives with the appropriate inspiration. Initially, the women began painting the houses to disguise the black and sooty scars left by the smoke filtering out from the stoves. The women would hide the spots of soot within the intricate flower designs; a unique floral motif designed for each house, therein transforming the village into a kaleidoscope of colour and creativity. Gradually the designs began to make their way onto the outside of the houses, allowing the world to see the colour and intricacies. The quaint village has now become one of southern Poland’s best kept treasures, bringing visitors to the once quiet town.

As modern cooking methods improved, the need for these designs was lost however the town has kept them and continued to adorn any structure they can with the colourful designs; houses, bridges, chicken coop….there are no limits.

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Zalipie, Poland- a quaint village adorned with unique floral motifs designed and executed by the town’s housewives
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Image; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
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Intricate designs. Just look at the detail in each of the flowers and leaves. Image ; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Beautifying the world around you brings a sense of calm and contentment. But more than that, Agnes reminds us that it is never too late to do something that you love, and be guided by the creativity within.

Not everyone has the option of painting a whole village, but a vaseful of fresh cut flowers or a lush indoor plant can beautify your little world. Check out what we have online via the links, or come in store to say ‘Hi’.

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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