0Flowerona Links: With hanging blooms, wooden animals & a floral chandelier…


I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Here are this week’s round-up of inspirational flowery links…




Flowerona Blog Posts

  • Brides The Show – Florists who’ll be exhibiting there, plus a special ticket offer
  • Flowers & Gelato – A match made in heaven from McQueens & Black Vanilla
  • Florist Friday: Interview with Yan Skates
  • Flowerona Tips: Use Iconosquare to view your Instagram statistics
  • Flower of the Month – The Delphinium…A guest post by Katie Spicer


Video featuring beautiful wedding flower designs with a ‘Secret Garden’ theme by florist Mary Jane Vaughan.

2013-09-21 – Hawke & Hughes – The Secret Garden from Filmatography on Vimeo.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday, whatever your plans!

(Images : 1. Georgianna Lane, 2. James Frost)

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3Flower of the Month – The Delphinium…A guest post by Katie Spicer, in collaboration with Kate Avery


I mentioned last week on Facebook that you’re in for such a treat with this month’s ‘Flower of the Month’ blog post by photographer, Katie Spicer. Well, here’s the post with stunning photos by Katie and gorgeous floral designs by Kate! Over to Katie…

This month’s flower of the month is the delphinium. The very talented and super lovely florist Kate Avery of Kate Avery Flowers created the most amazing displays for me to photograph.


I wanted to create a piece that would showcase the dramatic elegance of the delphinium. I chose to combine it with other country garden varieties including stocks, larkspur, nigella, clematis, verbena and plectrum to give lots of natural movement. Vintage bottles dug up from the garden, old apple crates and authentic muddy wellies to add that quirky touch. The delphinium pips in bottles just show that you don’t need to have lots of flowers to create a gorgeous table setting.

The circlet included delphinium pips, hydrangea florets, verbena, lavender and nigella. Perfect for a summer’s day wedding or to complete a festival look.

So, if you had one guess where the name delphinium originated from, would you have guessed dolphins? It’s thought to have come from the Greek word for dolphin (delphus) because the unopened flower resembles a dolphin. Although, as ever, there’s an alternative view in history and they’re also said to be named after Delphinium Apollo, the God of the city of Delphi. And they’re also known as Larkspur & Lark’s Heel, because they look like the foot of a lark. I do love all the different origins of plant names and the folklore attached to them.



The delphinium doesn’t disappoint on the interesting uses side either. It was apparently believed to keep witches away from stables in Transylvania, and in Medieval England the root was used in making love potions. I wouldn’t recommend this though as the plant is poisonous. Perhaps this had something to do with why they thought the seed could make you invisible in the Dark Ages…!



I’ve also read in my research that if you look through a bunch of delphiniums on Midsummer’s Eve at the midsummer bonfire, it’s said to cure your eyesight and preserve it until the following year. Will have to wait until next year to check this one out!



Despite it’s toxicity, it does have some uses aside from the ornamental ones.  Ground petals of the delphinium mixed with alum make an excellent ink and this was used by settlers in America.

A tincture from the seed (where the alkaloidal properties are found) was apparently used by men in the American Civil War to kill lice & nits in their hair. Who knew?!

They even treated wounds with delphinium in the Battle of Waterloo.



The Himalayan variety D. denudatum is currently being researched as an epilepsy drug, due to the roots anti-seizure properties…yet another useful plant in the battle against disease.

I think it’s such a beautiful plant.  Strong and tall, and yet pretty and delicate.  And some of those electric blue colours can blow your mind!

Kate has really showcased the delphinium off beautifully with her amazing creations and she even modelled one of the circlets for me. :-) Thanks Kate!


(Images : Katie Spicer Photography)


0Flowerona Tips: Use Iconosquare to view your Instagram statistics


This week, I heard about a great free tool which you can use to view your Instagram statistics. It’s called Iconosquare. In the Statistics/Engagement section, you can discover your most liked images on Instagram and the photos which have received the most comments.


You can use this information to help you in the future when you’re considering what to post on Instagram. So, why not take a look at Iconosquare this weekend?

(Images : Iconosquare)

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1Florist Friday: Interview with Yan Skates


In this week’s Florist Friday blog post, I’m thrilled to feature a very heart-felt interview with Danish-born Yan Skates. Read on to discover the captivating story of how Yan’s career has progressed from artist to florist…

Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?

As it turned out, it was one of those big life junction moments. I was a very active artist in Spitalfields Market in London, the centre of which was Sandra’s pub, The Golden Heart on Commercial Street, along with the YBA (Young British Artists) darlings like Tracey Emin and the Chapman Brothers. I was doing shows with Gavin Turk and Patrick Hughes at the Saatchi Gallery for Brian Eno’s War Child charity, café shows in Soho curated by Roland Mouret and doing the Art Supermarket in Harvey Nichols, plus so much more.

The Sunday market at Spitalfields had about 20 stalls of which most were vegetables and I got put in charge of running the flower stall. As a bit of extra money for canvas and paint, I got a one-day-a-week job at a Turkish flower wholesaler on Cambridge Heath Road in Hackney and Ali thought it was a good way of getting rid of all the leftovers at the end of every week by doing markets. I got Spitalfields and turned it into a weekly frenzy.

The local artist community were there from the start, with Gary Hume, Gavin Turk, Gilbert and George, etc., buying handmade bunches every week. We must have sold more than 100 hand ties every Sunday. This taught me speed. The days in wholesale gave me botanical knowledge, as we had to write chalkboard price tags every day. If you write out Bupleurum hundreds of times, you actually remember what it looks like.

So back to the prompt. In 1997, the condemned part of Spitalfields, which the 80+ artist studios were in and where I had a basement studio, eventually got closed down for the final excavations. So no studio. They promised, but nothing happened. The management at Spitalfields then offered me a shop, knowing me from the Sunday market, and I decided with a jeweller friend to make a go at a venture called Bespoke. She would make jewellery in the shop and I would make floral displays. As we were painting the shop inside, a restaurant that was opening around the corner came and asked us if we could do their weekly flowers and the rent was paid!




Could you tell us how your floristry career has progressed?

My floristry career has progressed and developed into several different branches of floral expression. The shop work turned into be too much about guilty husbands and funerals.  So when some gorgeous young event managers turned up one day and asked if I wanted to help with the launch of The Lion King, I realised that this was the way forward. I realised that I enjoy full control over how flowers are presented. Doing a bouquet without knowing what it it’s going in or up against just isn’t me.

Now, with access to all the most fabulous buildings in London for parties and events, I sold the shop and concentrated fully on the event companies.  The achievements in this field are many: Royals – most of Europe, celebrities – fun ones, brands – cool and edgy. But the biggest is to be able to say that I think I have been in nearly every loading bay of London venues…and the rest.

Then another life moment happened when my mother suddenly died at 56 in an accident. I lost my focus for a bit. During a supportive visit from my grandmother (she thought I was losing it completely and she might have been right), we went to a local flower arranging club, who were advertising their show on a high street near our workshop. I thought ‘cheap entertainment for the old girl’. Instead, I was blown away by the talents on display. Nothing I had ever seen before. I signed up immediately – first male member ever – and nan nearly bagged a very handsome 76 year old steward too. Being a fully signed up NAFAS member saved my life! Competing and going to demonstrations became the new obsession. Warning! This is seriously addictive.

And then there have been other new interests added to the list. Recently, we’ve started doing a lot of editorial fashion magazine work. The visual results are clearly satisfying the fine artist inside. A new passion we are pursuing. Then, there is the whole issue of a culture being based around images and visual interaction which is obviously of interest. So Instagram is being pursued very passionately along with the rest.





When did you start your business and where are you based?

Started the business in 1997No retailBased in Hackney and Surrey. We usually meet our clients in their own offices or if they want to come to our lovely gardens in Surrey, they are more than welcome.

What kind of floristry services do you offer? 

Flowers for events and functions – launch parties, fashion shows, weddings, bar mitzvahs. Contract flowers – hotels, venues, country houses, private homes, galleriesEditorial – magazines and online.



Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?

I have such a creative team with so many interests and backgrounds.  So usually every creative meeting about any creative brief for an event turns out dozens of new ideas.
I don’t think we could ever realise all the ideas we get through.

How would you describe your style?

Ahh this is interesting, because I think this is actually a different question. We do NOT impose our style. For every event, we want the guest to think that the flowers and styling are just ‘So X’. For me, it would be a total failure if the guests came and said “That’s so Yan Skates.” We love everyone to love it, obviously. But if it doesn’t fit the occasion perfectly, it’s not good enough.




What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?

More NAFAS competitionsMore hotel contractsMore photoshoots.
What is your favourite flower?

It will always be the rose – scent, any colour fashion dictates, easy for arranging (strong stem), all year round, comes in many sizes, loads of petals – it’s basically paint in a flower!






Thank you so much to Yan for all his help in compiling today’s post. If you’d like to see more of his breath-taking work, simply pop over to his website.

Social Media

To keep up-to-date with Yan’s news, here’s where you can find him on social media:

Facebook: Yan Skates
Twitter: Yan Skates
Pinterest: Yan Skates
Instagram: Yan Skates

(Images : Yan Skates)

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0Flowers & Gelato – A match made in heaven from McQueens & Black Vanilla


Yesterday, I was in London for some meetings and popped into florist McQueens‘ HQ in Clerkenwell. They’ve had a wonderful Black Vanilla pop-up shop there this week. If you’ve not heard of Black Vanilla before, they’re award-winning artisan gelato and sorbetto makers. And here are the mouth-watering gelato, which they’ve been showcasing…


Using inspiration from McQueens seasonal flowers, Black Vanilla had created English Rose Petals gelato. Some of you may already know that I have a very sweet tooth and I couldn’t resist trying a sample of it. It was SO delicious! Just the right amount of rose flavour and very creamy.


I loved the ‘ice-cream cone’ style flower arrangements, which the McQueens florists had created…tall vases with masses of hydrangea heads.



Today is the last day that the gelato pop-up shop will be open from 10am to 4pm at McQueens HQ, 70-72 Old Street, London, EC1V 9AN. So, if you’re in the area, do pop in. (The nearest tube stations are Old Street and Barbican.) And whilst you’re there, you’ll be able to see McQueens’ gorgeous flower display too…




P.S. Did you know that McQueens are on Instagram?

(Images : Rona Wheeldon for Flowerona)

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