0Flowerona Links: With snowberries, metal flowers & a shed…

Honey-of-a-Thousand-Flowers-Britt-Chudleigh

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.  Here are this week’s flowery links for you to enjoy and be inspired by!

General

Weddings

Style-Me-Pretty-Sylvie-Gil-Max-Gill-Bridal-Bouquet

Flowerona Blog Posts

Video

Great video featuring how to make a hand-tied bouquet by Stephen and Mark from Bloomsbury Flowers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s links…and have a wonderful Sunday!

(Images : 1. Britt Chudleigh, 2.  Style Me Pretty/Sylvie Gil)

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0Flowerona’s picks from the online boutique, MiaFleur

MiaFleur-swan-vase

I’m delighted to welcome a brand new advertiser to Flowerona…MiaFleur, a family run online boutique. (You can see their advert on the right hand side of the home page.) Today, I thought I’d share with you my favourite floral-inspired picks from their shop, before telling you more about the company…

MiaFleur-artificial-rose-spray

MiaFleur-boxed-soaps

MiaFleur-artificial-peony-stem

MiaFleur-sunflower-cereal-bowl

MiaFleur-floral-hat-boxes

MiaFleur-garlic-bud-vase

MiaFleur-artificial-wild-rose-spray

MiaFleur-bird-filigree-glass-jar

MiaFleur was founded in October 2012 by Hollie Brooks, her mum Jacqui and her sister Amelia.  They stock an eclectic collection of homeware and garden accessories, and scour craft, trade and design shows both in the UK and abroad to source a selection of really unique items.   Amelia and Jacqui, both having degrees in textile design, also design and hand make all of the cushions that they stock on the site.

They’ve just launched a brand new range of artificial flowers, with a selection of individual stems, as well as bouquets. And they also have a new collection of vases, which are made by a company called ‘La Luna C’.  They’re designed by Lynne Lange in South Africa and are made from a really beautiful translucent porcelain. In the next month or so, the company will be launching their full range of garden accessories, which includes floral handmade leather tool belts, kneelers and gloves.

So, if you’re looking for gift ideas (especially with Mother’s Day around the corner!) or you’d like to buy something for your own home, do pop over to the MiaFleur website.

Social Media

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

Facebook: MiaFleur
Twitter: MiaFleur
Pinterest: MiaFleur
Blog: MiaFleur

(Images : MiaFleur)

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8Florist Friday: Interview with Rachel Wardley of the Tallulah Rose Flower School

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona-Rachel-Wardley

It’s Florist Friday and today, it gives me such pleasure to share with you an interview with Rachel Wardley, founder of the Tallulah Rose Flower School…a very inspirational lady! She was the first person to ask me to train her floristry students on social media, which I continue to do.  Over the last few years, I’ve really enjoyed watching her flower school in Bath blossom and following the progress of her students, once they’ve ‘graduated’. I adore writing Flowerona and even more so, I’m very grateful for all the wonderful people I’m getting the opportunity to meet on my floral journey, like Rachel.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next few years have in store for her and her business…

Could you tell us about your background in the world of floristry?

My interest in floristry was sparked when I moved to London in the early 90s and I saw the most amazing flower shops that simply didn’t exist back home in the north of England. I remember peering into Jane Packer’s tiny flower shop on St James Street with absolute wonder, as I watched the most beautiful bouquets appear in front of my very eyes! I was in the fashion buying industry at the time and loved my job, so it was some time before I found myself in the world of floristry.

A very special friend gave me a gift of a one day course with Jane Packer. I loved every moment and I guess without really knowing it, I was bitten by the bug! I started to arrange flowers at home and experiment with my own style. As time went on, I became brave and started to give away my flowers to friends and family and even (on a good day!) to local businesses. Around this time, my husband and I decided to up sticks and leave London for a change of pace and scenery.  I decided to take the plunge and invest my savings into completing the Jane Packer Career Course.  

I completed the course and within a year had launched a business in the city of Bath. I began with a small shop, a very small flower school and the beginnings of a wedding and event business. The business grew and after 18 months, I moved to larger premises that enabled us to grow the wedding and event business. 

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

The move, I’m sorry to say, was timed with the recession and the shop sales struggled. After 2 years, the lease renewal was looming and I decided to take this opportunity to close the shop and use it as a workshop for the remaining season’s weddings. We completed over 100 weddings that season and I decided to take some time out and refocus the business.

By taking a step back, it became very obvious that I was frustrated with the slow development of the flower school. For some time, I had wanted to develop my own four week career course and expand the day course curriculum too.  But with so many events, it had proved impossible. It was a light bulb moment and I spent time rebranding and redefining the school strategy. Starting from a home workshop, I built the four week career course gradually, taking each class on a one-to-one basis until I was happy to take on more students on each course. The flower school grew in popularity thanks to our social media following and we’re now a small (but perfectly formed!) team of 4! We initially moved into a central Bath location and recently we’ve moved again to accommodate the growing popularity of our courses. Everyone who works for the Tallulah Rose Flower School has great floristry experience and is very giving with their knowledge…the essence of our flower school.

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

When did you set up the Tallulah Rose Flower School?

Tallulah Rose was ‘born’ in 2009.

Where is your flower school based?

The flower school is based in the beautiful, historical city of Bath. A city known for its history and shopping in equal measure, with many independent shops, cafes and restaurants. We take students both nationally and internationally and are happy to recommend accommodation suitable to all budgets. A city large enough to offer a variety and small enough to feel homely, especially for those staying for the month. With excellent links to London and the South West, we’re well-placed to explore both the capital city and the countryside at weekends…if our students have the energy after working hard all week!  

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

What type of courses do you offer?

We specialise in a four week career course offering a comprehensive curriculum for those students wanting to enter into the flower industry. This course is a mix of technical and business content, and has been the foundation for many new florist businesses.  We also offer one day courses from bridal bouquets to table centres, festival flower crowns to seasonal planting. The one day courses are designed for both the absolute beginner through to those with more experience, simply seeking new inspirational ideas.  

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

Could you tell us about your Taster Days?

We introduced our Taster Days back in 2012, designed for those thinking of enrolling on to the four week career course. We appreciate that this particular course is both a financial and time commitment and for some, it requires a lot of logistical support too. For this reason, we decided to introduce a day where any potential career course students could visit the school, meet the team and learn in detail about the course. The day is, by design, informal and relaxed and allows everyone time to ask as many questions as they have about the four week course, in order for them to decide if the course is right from them. 

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

How would you define your approach to floral design?

This is a really important one for us. Because we run a flower school we’re very conscious that we allow our students the freedom to explore different styles…after all, everyone is different. Of course, we do have our own approach to floral design. First and foremost, using great quality flowers, UK grown where possible, with an abundance of colour and texture too. We believe it’s vital to give your arrangements texture and therefore interest. We’re not constrained by the ‘rules’ (for want of a better word). For us, if an arrangement is safe, has the ability to last, is balanced and makes the most of your flowers, then whether you favour vintage or modern chic, anything goes…  

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

What are your plans for 2014?

We never take our eye off the ball! We’re continually working to achieve the best course content available for all our courses. Our four week course has evolved over the past four years to include the very best of technical design, whilst ensuring that our business content remains up-to-date and includes the best professional advice we can give. We invite professionals from their chosen field to come into school to advise our students, from accountants to flower growers, bank managers to brand designers. 2014 will be no different.  We will continue to keep updating our courses, adding and taking away where we feel necessary and relevant.

We’ve recently taken a trip to Flowers by Clowance down in Cornwall and have become a member of The British Flower Collective. We’ll be working with local growers wherever possible this year and have introduced ‘British Flower’ days onto our courses, so that our students can experience working with homegrown flowers.    

We’re introducing two brand new courses to the school curriculum this year. We’re very excited about both courses…the first being a four day Advanced Floristry course designed specifically for students who have completed the four week career course with Tallulah Rose or for those already in the florist industry and seeking confidence and inspiration. This course will focus on managing and designing large scale, opulent events giving the students the confidence to do this for themselves. The second new course is a three day Sympathy Flowers course, designed for those already in the flower industry or for those with some flower arranging knowledge who are wanting to specialise. This course will cover both practical and theory, and will include working with a willow casket. 

We’re also offering business consultancy for the first time this year. We’ve helped so many of our former students with building their businesses at different stages of growth and as we’ve had such great feedback, we’ve decided to offer this as an independent service.   

Do you have a favourite flower?

Probably the hardest question.  With every new season that comes around, I have another favourite flower!  Ranunculus, Anemone, Hydrangea, Peony the list goes on…….. 

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

Thank you so much to Rachel for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. If you’d like to find out more about her courses (which I can personally recommend), do pop over to the Tallulah Rose Flower School website.

Social Media

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

Facebook: Tallulah Rose Flower School
Twitter: Tallulah Rose
Pinterest: Tallulah Rose Flower School
Blog: Tallulah Rose Flower School
YouTube: Tallulah Rose

And this is where all the magic happens!

Tallulah-Rose-Flower-School-Bath-Flowerona

(Images : Rachel Wardley/Tallulah Rose Flower School)

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1Book Review of The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

The-Cut-Flower-Patch-Louise-Curley

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed how excited I was to receive a review copy of this new book…The Cut Flower Patch. Written by Louise Curley, who also pens the well-known gardening blog, Wellywoman, this is the perfect book for learning how to grow your very own cut flower patch.  Now…I have a confession to make…our garden is in need of a little lot (!) of TLC. We had some building work done last year and the garden came off the worse for wear. So, our plans for 2014 are to give it a major overhaul and reading Louise’s book is just the ticket to provide me with inspiration.

The Cut Flower Patch is divided into the following chapters:

  • Planning a cutting patch
  • Annuals & biennials
  • Bulbs, corms & tubers
  • Foliage & fillers
  • Making your cutting patch
  • Caring for your patch
  • Cutting time
  • Showing off
  • Rich pickings
  • A year on the patch

In the ‘Planting a cutting patch’ chapter, there are beautifully illustrated planting plans, with flower recipes, like the ones below:The-Cut-Flower-Patch-Louise-Curley

Within the book, you’ll also find details of how to grow more than 35 cut flowers, from Cornflowers and Scabious, to Zinnias and Sweet Peas.

The-Cut-Flower-Patch-Louise-Curley

In the ‘Showing off’ chapter, there’s advice on selecting a vase, tips on arranging flowers, plus lots of examples of lovely flower arrangements.

The-Cut-Flower-Patch-Louise-Curley

The-Cut-Flower-Patch-Louise-Curley

This is Louise’s first book and it’s such a joy to read…not only for all the wonderful advice, but also the stunning photographs by Jason Ingram.  Having a dedicated cut flower patch is something that I’d really love to make sure that we factor into the plans for our garden this year…and I couldn’t have come across more apt a book to help me.

So, if you love flowers and would like to fill your home with seasonal blooms or perhaps you’re looking for a present for your mum for Mother’s Day, this book is the ideal choice. Published by Frances Lincoln, The Cut Flower Patch is now on sale.

Special Offer

If you’d like to benefit from a discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG101. Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to: LBS Mail Order Department, Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3RB. Please quote the offer code APG101 and include your name and address details. (*UK only: Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.)

(Images : Jason Ingram)

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2Wedding Wednesday: Interview with cake designer Amy Swann

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Every so often, I’m sent images that really take my breath away…and I had one of those moments when I first clapped eyes on Amy Swann’s incredible wedding cakes! As you’ll see when you read further, they are like works of art!  It gives me great pleasure to feature an interview with Amy today, for this week’s Wedding Wednesday blog post…

Could you tell us what prompted you to become a cake designer?

My interest in cake design started when I was asked to decorate cakes for friends’ weddings and family celebrations. Over time, by word of mouth, my business grew.  But things really took off when I was selected as one of six finalists in the Country Homes and Interiors magazine ‘Country Business of the Year’ competition in 2012. This marked a major turning point and gave me the confidence to build my own brand, with its own strong creative identity.

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

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

I’m based in Wales in a little village on the Cheshire border, but I take on commissions across the whole of the UK.  My business started over 6 years ago, although I’ve been decorating cakes for years…the process has been very organic and always very exciting!

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

What kind of cakes do you make?

Most of my commissions are wedding cakes. People are getting more and more creative and they want the cake as a main focal point to tie in with their vision. I love being a part of this special process. I also adore working on creative pieces for magazine room sets. I’m often commissioned to follow a design brief that ties in with the other products featured. I love to see my work in lifestyle magazine photo shoots.

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Could you tell us about the design process for creating your cakes?

I just love flowers and the beauty of nature…the colour combinations, textures, delicacy and sensitivity of a single flower is so exquisite. I thrive on the challenge of interpreting their beauty in my own way.  I approach a subject by sourcing as much information on the flowers as possible by drawing and photographing them. I refer to many flowers that grow in our garden or in our local florist, who specialise in wild flowers. 

Colour is a really important part of what I do. I love trawling through blogs such as Flowerona and Pinterest to gather a range of source material to put together a unique colour scheme for each cake I’m working on to perfect the right colour combination. They often have a vintage/country garden feel…I seem to escape to a fantasy secret garden in my imagination.

I sketch the layout of each cake after discussing my ideas with the client, and then develop the final outcome freely and organically until I’m happy with the balance of the composition. I don’t tend to obsess about the formalities of sugarcraft as I see icing as a modelling medium which should be used experimentally. I work from a real flower and find my own way of representing it. I also incorporate techniques such as piercing and embossing the icing. Food colourings are used as I paint and delicately add detail to each one, like a miniature sculpture. The same goes for my illustrations.  They’re very free and experimental, and clients get an illustration alongside the cake as a keepsake.

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Where do you get the inspiration for the floral decorations on your cakes?

I’m inspired by interiors, vintage fabrics, botanical illustrations and ceramic patterns…anything beautiful. I love muted and faded colours. My illustrative background comes from my training in textile design. I specialised in surface pattern with a very strong focus on drawing, colour and texture.  Painting flowers featured strongly in my work.

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

Amy-Swann-Cakes-Flowerona

What are your plans for 2014?

2014 will be a busy year for me with a few very exciting projects in the pipeline, which at the moment I am unable to discuss. Watch this space! You can see my most recent commission in Country Homes and Interiors magazine in their April issue. ‘Violet Walk’ is reminiscent of beautiful secret places where I used to play as a child.  I remember wild violets and primroses carpeted around the trees and fields in Wales where I grew up.

Thank you so much to Amy for contacting me and for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. To see more of her phenomenal cake designs, do pop over to the Amy Swann Cakes website.

Social Media

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

Facebook: Amy Swann Cakes
Twitter: Amy Swann
Pinterest: Amy Swann
Blog: Amy Swann Cakes

(Images : Amy Swann)

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