Last week I was lucky enough to be among a group of bloggers invited to a summer flower-arranging workshop hosted by British brand Dartington Crystal and Jo Wood of Bath-based florist Flowers by Passion.
The workshop took place at Flowers by Passion HQ, which sits in a rustic stone barn surrounded by banks of lavender and cow parsley. After a stressful couple of months (and a very tumultuous time here in the UK), I relished having the opportunity to lose myself in a sea of scented seasonal blooms for a few hours. (In fact, at the start of the event the lovely people from Dartington shared some research which found that people who have flowers in their home tend to be happier and less anxious then those who don’t – something which I can fully understand).
We each got to choose one of Dartington’s beautifully elegant vases (all hand-blown in the North Devon countryside), before gathering round to watch Jo demonstrate how to build a summer arrangement over some fizz and nibbles. It was then time for us to have a go ourselves, and we were let loose among buckets brimming with roses, hydrangeas, sweet peas and more to select our flowers.
We were soon absorbed in our arrangements, and I loved watching everyone’s creations come to life. Each person came up with something different to suit their own personal style – my attempt (below) was relaxed and natural, with trailing foliage, dusty-pink daisies and cappuccino roses; others were more structured, with bursts of vibrant colour. Every single one looked and smelled wonderful.
If you want to have a go at creating your own vase arrangement, here are a few handy tips that I picked up during the workshop:
- If using a wide-necked vase, create a grid over the top with tape to support the flowers.
- Fill the vase with water (about two thirds full) and add some flower food.
- Remove any leaves that would sit below the water line, and snip stems at an angle to prolong the flowers’ life.
- Start by adding foliage to build up shape and structure (I used olive branches and eucalyptus). Bear in mind where you’re going to place the finished arrangement – if it’s going to sit in the middle of a table it will need to look good from every angle; if it’s going against a wall then the back should be flatter than the front.
- Next, space the flowers evenly among the foliage. You might want to vary their height to create a striking look.
- Add, remove and rearrange the foliage and flowers until you’re happy with the overall effect, turning the vase as you work so that you can consider the arrangement from every side.
Photography by Abi Dare