January blues


It’s an unpromising time of the year for seasonal flowers – or is it? In fact, January has lots to offer brides, mostly in the form of flowering bulbs or corms.
Top of my list of favourites is Paperwhite narcissus. They have a delicate purity, as well as a heady scent, that means they can hold their own in single flower bouquets (like these bridesmaid bouquets) as well as when used in mixed flower designs.
My other scented favourite is the wonderful hyacinth – I always have a bowl or two of these bulbs at various stages of growth around the house in January. As a cut flower they have amazing lasting powers, so amazing that the individual pips can be carefully cut off and used threaded on to wires to make delicate and scented napkins rings, crowns or bracelets. Hyacinths are available in pretty blue, lilac, pink and white as well as pale yellow.
If you’re looking for lots of colour choice, the amazing tulip is your flower. They’re the starlet of the January flower market, dazzling in their many hues – yellow, purple, white, pink, red, frilled, double, it can be hard to choose. Make sure your florist conditions them properly though. Tulips continue to grow after they are cut, and unless they’re prepared carefully, their stems will twist and bend.
I love wonderful anemones with their sooty black centres and pretty green leafy fringe beneath the flowers. They come in simple white (there’s a variety with a green not black centre that’s so pretty) but also rich, velvety dark blue, purple, red and cerise.
The most romantic of this little group of January lovelies, is the delicate-looking ranunculus. With it’s many, many petals and cupped shape, they look a little bit like tiny garden roses and, after peonies and roses, this is the flower most brides ask for when they come for their consultation. Book your wedding for the winter and spring months if you have your heart set on having them in your bouquet!


Yellow is the colour

I was delighted to be asked by Wedding Flowers magazine to take part in their photo shoot again. I was given the colour yellow to work with and asked to provide a bouquet, buttonhole, table centre and one other piece. Yellow is not a colour that many brides choose so it was a great chance for me to play around a bit with this happy colour – called by Vincent van Gogh, the colour of hope and friendship.
As yellow is a colour intrinsically linked to spring, I decided to use all the beautiful flowers bursting into bloom in the garden at the time of the April shoot as inspiration for my designs, along with one of my favourite novels of all time, ‘An Enchanted April’ by Elizabeth von Armin.

Although yellow had to be the predominant colour, I was able to use others, so I decided to add pink and white to my palette complimented by fresh aquamarine in the form of the ribbon trims and a Ball Mason jar.
It’s always hard to choose flowers for a shoot because it’s the time when I can go wild and choose exactly what I like – I feel like a child in a sweet shop staring wide-eyed at all the brightly coloured jars. In the end, I chose ranunculus, paperwhites, daffodils, spray roses, lisianthus, celosia, marguerites and olive leaf.  I also raided the garden for cherry blossom, apple blossom, forsythia, ribes sanguineum (the flowering currant) and bergenia. Who would’ve thought this was such a star – out of water it lasts for hours. I also cut a few budding hawthorn twigs from a nearby hedgerow too.

In keeping with the abundant feeling of April gardens, I decided to create an over-sized bouquet with tightly packed flowers in the centre and long stems of forsythia, hawthorn, ribes and olive, creating a kind of spindly halo around them. I trimmed it with long, trailing ribbon because it seemed to suit such an extravagant creation.

The images of my designs will be appearing in the July/August edition of Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine. Hopefully they’ll inspire lots of brides to consider yellow as a colour for their wedding flowers.