Home Grown Festival Wedding

I think we all need a lovely summer wedding blog to brighten and warm up our day now that winter is setting in! And which wedding is better to blog about than the beautiful bohemian festival wedding of Sarah and … Continue reading

Manchester United Themed Wedding @ The Old Middleton Grammar School

When Steven and Adele first came to me they bubbled with ideas of a Manchester United themed day. They didn’t want it to take over but they are both huge fans so the colour was a cert. The venue the … Continue reading

Eco roses for Valentine’s Day

I’m always excited when sourcing sustainably grown flowers for the shop. One of our suppliers has come up trumps this year for Valentine’s Day. I really like Frank and Shane at Clogg Wholesale in Manchester, they know their stuff and … Continue reading

Wedding Flowers for Number 11, Disbury Park

Bridal bouquet of seasonal British flowers

Rebecca and Lee came to see me last year. It was a brief consultation, they knew exactly what they wanted. Seasonal British flowers for their intimate wedding reception at Number 11, Disbury Park, Disbury. Number 11 is a beautiful Victorian … Continue reading

Vibrant burst of colour and life hits a sleepy Yorkshire village.

What a beautiful day for a wedding! David & Rachel booked a quaint little church and hotel near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales for their wedding. I’m not sure the sleepy little village was ready for the burst of colour and life their wedding and guests brought. Rachel really want spring flowers for her wedding but spring was early this year and all the daffodils had finished. I managed to hold back some narcissus though which were incorporate into the bridesmaids’ ties. It was also the last of the ranunculus, but they were beautiful and helped with the seasonal transition. Luckily the British summer flowers had just started to be available, Cornish pinks in vivid magenta and plums, stocks, calendulas, red peonies and deep purple iris which unfortunately perished in the heat. 

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

Thank you so much Sassy for capturing the moment I gave Rachel her bouquet. A friend of the bride had made her a silk headdress and it was my job to echo this with her bouquet. I even sneaked a skull in there, Rachel really like skulls!  

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

The bridesmaids carried a pastel bouquet each including bridal crown narcissus, white parrot tulips, pale pink ranunculus, pale pink sweat peas, crème de la crème roses, matricaria, veronica, crespedia and touch of green belle. 

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

The brief for the marquee was eclectic charity shop look, including herbs, to incorporate brightly painted table numbers that the bride had made. It was refreshing to be able to use lots of colour. Unfortunately the wild flowers such as cow parsley, meadow buttercups and red campion I had cut had perished in the heat and we couldn’t use them.

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The wishing tree held the guest table numbers and looked great with the hand printed luggage tags the bride had provided. 

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Photo by Sassy@assassynation  http://assassynation.co.uk/

 

Thank you to Sassy from Assassination for letting me use her fabulous photos.

Congratulations to David & Rachel and best Wishes for the future.

All other picture were taken by myself Nicola Hanney. Flowers by Wild & Wondrous, http://www.wildandwondrousflowers.co.uk

 

 

Wild & Wondrous – spreading our sustainable ethos

Wild and Wondrous has just had its first birthday. It is hard to believe it has flown by. Apart from really enjoying it, the shop has grown and our eco philosophy is spreading.  Wild & Wondrous was featured on the Direct2florist Member in Focus blog http://www.direct2florist.com/blog/member-in-focus-wild-wondrous-horwich/

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The author was Austin Clark, Austin has been in the floristry industry for years, working for Interflora and sitting on the board of Fair Flower Fair Plant in Holland. Once writing for floristry magazines he is now writes freelance. The article he wrote was flattering and made me ever so proud. I would, really like to lead the floristry industry to a more sustainable future.  A comment by another florist on the blog, was encouraging, saying the article had inspired her to think outside of the box. I was surprised to see how far around the world my sustainable message reached. The Wild & Wondrous website had hits from all over the world. Direct2florist has been very supportive since the shop open a year ago and we have been designing the seasonal standard products for national delivery. Every member of direct to florist in the UK can send and deliver Wild & Wondrous designs. This is very complementary. Simon Stirling the founder and director of Direct2florist has been very receptive to my requests and has added a buy British badge that florists can add to their own products on shop pages. I also requested the Fair Flower Fair Plant logo to be an option for members.

After a twitter conversation and a few emails with Fair Flower Fair Plant I discovered that there are only 7 members in the whole of the UK. I can’t believe it, 7! I need to be more proactive and Twitter is a fantastic way to start debates and contact people one would never know.

There are lots of sustainable logos on packaging to look out for when buying flowers from the wholesalers. MPS is a Dutch Floriculture environmental programme that was started in1996 and is now an international certificate. MPS have developed an environmental standard on the basis of registration of four environmental elements: minimum use of chemical crop protection, nutrition, energy and split collection of waste. MPS also focus on safety, health and terms of employment. Flowers grown sustainably in Ecuador sport a Veriflora label, and for flowers grown in Columbia look for the Florverde label. Tropical flowers grown sustainably display the Rain Forest Alliance logo. By choosing flowers certified by these organisations the British floristry industry can help support sustainable agriculture worldwide.

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I would like to encourage florists to buy as much British produce as possible to reduce air miles and unnecessary environmental pollution but this is not always possible. We are a commercial industry that needs to produce fantastic designs throughout the year and respond quickly to customer requests. Florists need to educate their customers about seasonality and the worldwide production of our products. I believe customers do care and this has been evident when talking to my customers in the shop. If you have a minute please take a look at these websites and do a little research into the damage bad farming practises can cause.

Veriflora http://www.veriflora.com/

Florverde http://www.florverde.org/

MPS www.standardsmap.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=58646

FFFP www.fairflowersfairplants.com

Rain Forest Alliance http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/

Favourite flowers of July – Larkspur – Consolida

I have grown larkspur this year and have been delighted with the colours that materialized, colours never seen at the wholesalers. Larkspur has always been a favourite of mine. There’s around 40 species in the Consolida genus and is closely related to the Delphinium. It was given the name Consolida (Latin for “ an undetermined plant”) by botanists to differentiate it from delphiniums. While being native to Britain it is rarely found in its wild form, it has been heavily cultivated and new varieties bread for 100’s of years.  

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The flowers are arranged tightly up a tall slender stem or spike, blossoming gently from the bottom to the tip. The foliage is fine and is sometimes referred to as lacy. The flower spikes can grow up to half a metre.  Larkspur is an annual plant that seeds itself freely. It is usually sold in mixed colour packets and the resulting explosion of random colours, white, pinks and lilacs in varying shades, which look are fabulous together. 

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Larkspur gives great height and structure to a design. Its soft texture works well in summer bouquets.  It can be dried and used in winter. Buy fresh larkspur and condition it well. Cut 1-2 cm from the bottom of the stem, strip most of the foliage from the stems and place in deep tepid water with flower food. Leave for at least 48 hrs in a cool environment, this allows the flower spike to rehydrate and start to develop. It’s important to dry the flowers before the petals start to drop. Take the bunch and twist the stems a touch, spreading the flower spikes out a little, so the air can circulate around the spikes. Tie the bunch together and hang upside down in a dry, warm and dark place like the airing cupboard or the attic. It takes a while for the spikes to dry thoroughly depending on temperature. Enjoy.     

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This next picture is quite frustrating, the purple of the larkspur looks almost blue and it was deep purple. I’ve added it anyway because I love the vibrancy of the clashing colours.

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Floristry by Wild & Wondrous, photos by Nicola Hanney (me)

Cheers Nik

 

My Favourite Flowers of July – Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

There is no other flower that gives you that intense blue like the cornflower.  Cornflowers do come in a range of colours, pink, lilac and even black, but blue is my definite favourite. The stems are silvery and the buds protrude wildly from the stem giving bouquets that unkempt look. The cornflower is native to Britain and traditionally grew on cultivated farmland such as cornfields. In the 1930’s it was widely distributed throughout the UK but with modern agricultural practices there was a sharp decline. By the 1990’s the cornflower was close to extinction but luckily the recent resurgence and drive to conserve wildlife has seen planting by gardeners, local councils and farmers. 

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The cornflower is part of the Daisy Family and grows to about 80cm. It is an annual plant so seeds must be sown yearly or the ground disturbed where it grew in previous years for the seeds to germinate. The solitary blue flower heads are made up of blue outer florets and reddish inner florets. Insects love them too, bees have been buzzing happily around them in the shop. The cornflower is very easy to grow, why not scatter some seed this September on a patch of unused ground near you.

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The cornflower has been the request for wedding flowers from many of my brides this summer and looks stunning in naturally tied brides’ bouquets. They also look fabulous in gift bouquets and are very reasonably priced and last well as a cut flower. 

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The local wholesaler that supplies Wild & Wondrous warned that they are now coming to the end. It will be sad to see the end of their season but we shall look forward to seeing them again next year.  

All photography by myself (Nicola Hanney), floristry by Wild & Wondrous (myself).

Nik

 

 

British Flower Week

Hello 

It’s British flower week next week 17th-21st June. I’ve been getting all excited and whittering on to every customer that walks through the door about the beauty of British Flowers. In the shop at the moment we have Alstromeria from Cheshire, oriental and asiatic lilies, stocks, cornflowers, sweet William, lizzianthus, delphiniums and pinks all from Lincolnshire.

I have also been cutting the odd thing from my garden like Alchemilla mollis, red valerian, cow parsley and aquilegia. It was so nice when an order came in for a wild bouquet and I got the opportunity to use all these lovely flowers.

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The customer was thrilled, he posted a really nice picture on Wild & Wondrous Facebook page with this comment “General consensus is the English wild flower bouquet you created for Gill is the nicest anyone has seen. Thank you very much. I asked for it to make a statement and you delivered in spades”. 

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I love working with flowers and being a florist, Everyone is so pleased to see you when you deliver a bouquet. It’s such a rewarding job.

Anyway back to British flower week…………….I’m off to The New Covent Garden Flower Market on Thursday, in that there London! I’m so excited, I’ve been in the industry for 23 years and never been. I will take lots of pictures and blog about it next week.

Treat yourself or someone you love to a bunch of British flowers next week and celebrate British flower week with me.

Cheers Nik