Last Friday, I was lucky enough to swap my usual end of the week surroundings for the peace and tranquility of The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. I'd been invited along to their very special Vintage Flowers course for the day, and the prospect of spending the day surrounded by beautiful blooms was one which was simply too tempting to resist. Regular readers will know that I'm a little bit of a flower fiend, and after getting to grips with the garden and paying a visit to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show earlier in the year, my fingers have been getting gradually greener. The opportunity to learn a lot more about floristry and the process of putting together pretty, professional posies was something which also hugely welcome after a stressful few weeks- here's a little look at how I got on:
After having a lovely introduction to the Academy from owner and principal Gillian Wheeler, Madeline gave us all a demonstration of how to put together the perfect hand-tie. To begin with, we learnt all about the importance of conditioning your flowers- making sure that they're perfectly prepared to take pride of place in your bouquet. This involves stripping away a lot of the leaves, taking the thorns away from your roses, and cutting your blooms to the perfect size, whilst ensuring that they're going to last for as long as possible- thanks to the clever 'drinking straw' diagonal cut which allows them to soak up as much water as they need. From there, we moved on to arranging our hand ties, using plenty of foliage such as salal and eucalyptus to provide the basic spiral shape and structure needed for a hand tie, before adding in the beautiful flowers which we had selected from the amazing array on offer at the Academy. Keeping the vintage theme of the day in mind, I opted for plenty of roses and a pretty, pale colour palette, adding freesia and heather to incorporate different textures and a few delicate touches to my finished bouquet.
As the afternoon progressed, we were given the chance to put together a quintessentially vintage arrangement, this time using the smaller offcuts from the morning session. Making sure that nothing goes to waste, putting together lovely little arrangements like this is not only a really thrifty option but working with such small, delicate blooms is something which I found really relaxing. Using some beautiful vintage china, we created smaller scale arrangements in teacups- perfect for using as table decorations or to give as gifts. Again, I used roses, freesias and delicate little cuttings of heather and lemon balm for my arrangement- and over a week later it's still going strong!
Overall, I had such a lovely day and learnt so much about conditioning and arranging flowers. I walk past the Academy so regularly and usually admire their beautiful arrangements from afar, so the opportunity to find out more about everything which they have to offer was amazing, and it was so therapeutic to switch off from everything in the outside world and focus on all things floral for a day. A huge thank you to Gillian, Fleur and the team for hosting such a lovely day, and to Priscilla for inviting me along- I'm sure it won't be too long before I'm back again!
Have you ever tried flower arranging?
*I was invited along to the Vintage Flowers course as a guest of The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. As always, my opinions and impressions are 100% honest- as is my new found ambition to open my own flower shop!*
(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)