Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Adventures in Floristry

Ingredients for a bouquet
Back in the summer I went on a floristry course to Green and Gorgeous in Oxfordshire. Historically, I have not been at all keen on formal floristry. It seemed rigid and stuffy, coming up with arrangements that had names like ‘Orchid and Sphagnum on a Tortured Twig’. But at G&G they laid my demons to rest with an intensive day learning how to make fashionable naturalistic bouquets.

Since then I have had little need to use these dark arts, but as the autumn colours intensified the floristry bug intensified too. Venturing out with the secateurs I acquired Pyracantha berries, bronze and gold forsythia leaves, soft grey goldenrod seedheads (cunningly stabilised with a blast of extreme-hold hairspray to stop the seeds dropping off), and some Sedum flowers. I bought some Physalis and cellophane from Lulu Flowers round the corner – where they also gave me a quick refresher in wrapping them for travel.

So, with much garden wire and raffia, I assembled my hand-tied bouquet, with the sedums as a collar and a few off-white asters to naturalise it. Nicely wrapped and finished with some green and bronze ribbons, it is not too shabby, methinks.

One of my issues with flower arrangements is that I find them difficult to photograph well - but for your delectation here are some before and after shots anyway.

A floral - or leafy and seedy - extravaganza
On the ‘to do’ list is to find something nice to wear for the forthcoming Garden Media Guild Awards – the industry Oscars is the claim. Anyway, posh frock required. Something flattering and decorously foxy, preferably. I was looking into Steam Punk as a rather cool genre – the idea is to mix Victoriana liberally into what one wears. Plenty of vintage and Jack the Ripper boots – with the top hat and monocle option for boys.

While looking down the back of the internet I came across this site selling Steam Punk clothes, with entire back-stories for their outfits. One can be ‘Tara Foster, Treasure Seeker’, ‘Percival Westbury, Egyptologist’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Narcissa Von Trapp, Beguiling Horticulturalist’ (sic). Now that is a job description to aspire to, ‘Quite lovely to look at, and loquacious on the topic of plant life’, apparently (and a dab hand with poisons too). When I grow up I, too, wish to be a Beguiling Horticulturist.

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