I must admit, I was very nervous before I attended a recent flower arranging day at Green Parlour. I really didn’t feel that I knew where to start when arranging flowers. Luckily, many of the others attending felt exactly the same way. We needn’t have worried as we were all immediately made to feel comfortable and Emma, the owner of Green Parlour, is a fantastic teacher.
Emma showed us, step by step, how to make two large and three small arrangements during an informal, fun and informative day that included tea, cakes and a lovely lunch. All our materials, including vases and flowers, were also included in the price of the course. As class numbers are kept small, there is plenty of opportunity to ask questions and get any help you might need. You can’t help but be inspired, working in the setting of Emma’s wonderful shop.
Everyone loves the arrangements made by Emma and her team, and she can even count royalty amongst her fans. She is incredibly discreet when asked about it, but Emma worked on the flowers both at Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace for the recent Royal Wedding, at the personal request of Miss Catherine Middleton. Emma says the hardest part was keeping it all a secret. Not even her close family had any idea until it was announced in the press the day before the wedding. I can understand why the Duchess of Cambridge so likes Emma’s style. Her arrangements are unconventional and exciting, with a gorgeous country feel to them. Emma shared with us how she achieves this style, as well as some other wonderful tips.
Try using herbs in your flower arrangements. Not only do they look wonderful, they also smell fantastic. Dill, mint, sage, oregano and rosemary work particularly well.
Always cut flower stems on an angle.
Trim stems in arrangements and change the water regularly, daily if possible.
Always soak oasis before use, but do not push it down into the water. Forcing oasis under the water can cause air pockets to form, and any stems inserted into the air bubble won’t have any water.
Never re-use oasis or re-insert flowers into already existing holes. Oasis allows water to virtually seal around the flower stem and if the seal is not tight, the flower will not last as long.
Mist arrangements in oasis regularly.
Flowers ‘drink’ the most water in the 24 to 48 hours after they are first arranged so be sure to water them particularly well during this time.
Fruit, as well as flowers, can be used in arrangements. You can use wooden barbecue skewers or florist’s wire to incorporate apples and other firm fruit, such as cherries and grapes, in arrangements. You can also use whole or cut citrus fruit. Emma used whole limes in some amazing arrangements she made for my son’s 18th birthday last January, and she also mentioned that you can line vases with cut citrus fruit as well.
Small arrangements of just a few flowers are really pretty and can be very effective. Collect small vases, jugs or even jam jars to display them in.
I had a lovely day in great company at the Green Parlour Flower School. Not only was it fun making the arrangements you see in the three photos at the very top of this post, but I was left with a real sense of accomplishment, as well as lots of wonderful flowers to take home. I look forward to attending another of their courses again very soon.