Recently I had the pleasure of attending one day of a four day Garden Style Florist course at the Catherine Muller Flower School in London. Based in Belgravia, it’s a wonderfully intimate school run by the very lovely Joanna Chaker and her team.
Earlier that morning Joanna had been to New Covent Garden Flower Market to buy all the flowers and foliage for the two designs which we were to make, the first of which was a ‘Garden Garden Bouquet’…a free-flowing, natural design with lots of movement.
Using abelia, lilac, go-go, kangaroo paw, berried ivy, fountain grass, panicum, dill, viburnum opulus and eryngiums, Joanna created the bouquet using the spiralling technique. She showed us how to make the design look as natural as possible by adding stems on the outside, which were higher than those in the centre.
When the bouquet became very large, she leant it on a table to make it easier to add additional flowers and foliage. Then, once she’d secured it at the binding point with raffia, she ‘worked’ on the stems, as she put it…something I’d not seen before. She took pieces of foliage and placed them in a collar around the base of the bouquet, so that they hid the stems. You can see the effect in the photo above.
Here’s Joanna with her finished design…
And here’s my bouquet below. It’s the biggest bouquet I’ve e-v-e-r made. You can see the scale in this Instagram photo from the day.
In the afternoon, Joanna demonstrated how to make a wreath called a ‘crowns wood’. She started to create the base using willow, which she twisted to form a circle. Then, she wove stems of hydrangea, astilbe, hellebore, scabious seed heads, callicarpa, panicum and green wheat into the wreath. Here’s Joanna’s design…
And here’s the wreath which I made…
As well as running floristry courses, Joanna and her team also take orders and design wedding flowers. Plus they sell leather aprons, linen flower tote bags, Catherine Muller shopping tote bags, craftsman’s blouses, satin ribbons and Catherine Muller scented candles. Choose from Géranium, Rose, Cedar, Fougère, Champignon de Paris, Jasmin and Fleur d’Oranger. Two of the candles were prizes for January’s #UnderTheFloralSpell winners!
Here’s a little look around the inside of the flower school, which had been so beautifully styled…
If you’ve not heard about Catherine Muller before, here’s a little bit of background. Growing up in France, Catherine knew from an early age that she wanted to become a florist. So, she took several courses before starting to work initially in Paris and then in Korea. On returning to Paris, she ran floristry courses at the Hotel de Crillon and then decided to set up her own flower school. After working with Catherine for three years in Paris, Joanna set up the Catherine Muller Flower School in London in 2013. People travel from all over the world to visit the school. On the day I attended, there were ladies from from Bahrain, Lebanon and Kuwait!
I can’t thank Joanna enough for such a wonderful day. I l-o-v-e-d the choice of flowers and foliage we used, the relaxed nature of the designs we made and her wonderful teaching style. In particular, I adored the vocabulary which she used to beautifully describe the techniques used throughout the day.
If you’d like to find out more about the courses which Joanna teaches, simply pop over to the Catherine Muller website. The next Garden Style Florist course is taking place from February 22nd-25th. Social media wise, you can find the London Flower School on Instagram. And the Catherine Muller Flower School also has a Facebook page.
P.S. If you missed it first time round, do take a look at my YouTube video, where you can see Joanna make the two designs. The footage starts 1.13 mins in.
(Images : Rona Wheeldon | Flowerona)