Sometimes we get to do lovely things on TWR and being invited to florist workshops is one of the best, there’s just something really fab about being in a flower shop surrounded by all those fragrant blooms. But regardless of how many times I’m taught to tie bouquets (and we’ve been to a few of these events now) it’s becoming very clear I’m absolutely crap at it. I can grow you a lovely hydrangea, give you the botanical name of a number of beautiful roses and even nurture an orchid into re-flowering, but when it comes to tying posies, I’m rubbish.
But I do love trying. Last week I was invited by Benetton to Jamie Aston’s shop and flower school in Great Portland Street to celebrate the brand’s flower print cotton shirts (lovely btw and good quality at £19.95) and learn how to put together a hand tied bouquet. Above was what we were aiming for, I did not do this one.
Mine was less, ahem, tidy. Jamie (who looks about 15, how he can possibly be old enough to run a successful florist I don’t know, must have started when he was three) was kind, and suggested ‘wild and rustic’ was more my style. The flowers Jamie had picked for us to use were just gorgeous, especially the lipstick-pink spray roses and the ranunculus.
I learnt some interesting floral stuff though, such as…
1) Always strip every leaf off any stems that will fall below the waterline before immersing it in a vase -this is called conditioning in the trade. That way there’s less rotting and bacterial deterioration happening in the water and your flowers will last longer.
2) Hydrangeas absorb water through their petals…if you get a hydrangea flower where the petals are wilting, immerse the whole flower in a big sink full of cool clean water, leave for a bit and as if by magic, your hydrangeas will perk up.
3) Hyacinthes and tulips keep on growing in the vase…so will grow towards the light and open up from bud successfully.
4) There is no way to keep hyacinth water from going stinky, apart from regularly changing it.
5) Half a MIlton tablet dissolved into the vase will help long life, flower-wise.
6) Scented roses don’t last as long as non scented roses, most florists roses don’t smell as they are bread for longevity and flower head beauty, not scent.
7) If you get that really bright yellow lily pollen on clothing, DON’T rub it with a wet cloth, instead use Sellotape to remove the worst then dust off with a dry brush.
I gave up with my bouquet and had a poke around around Jamie’s store, I found these excellent tall glass vases which would work very well as terrariums, they start at around £60.
Jamie’s flower shop and school is here