If you’ve ever thought about making your own floral displays, learning the creative craft of it and getting involved, then this is definitely the week to do it.
British Flowers Week, run by New Covent Garden Flower Market, is returning 19-25 June for its fifth successive year.
It’s a beautiful celebration of the UK’s cut flower industry, and it promotes British flowers and their growers, plus showcases the work of independent florists.
Just like with food, discerning people want to know provenance, so ‘grown in the UK’ labels have become a big hit with shoppers. The current trend is for seasonal, vintage blooms and greenery that have that ‘just-picked’ look. So if you have a garden, why not cut the miles down even further and plunder your own borders?
Cottage garden favourites like lupins, alliums, delphiniums, snapdragons, cornflowers, stocks and sunflowers are perfect for cutting and arranging. The best time to pick flowers is last thing at night or first thing in the morning. Cut and plunge straight into water and not in a trendy flower trug, as this makes all the difference to the flowers’ vase life. When you pick annuals and biennials, don’t cut them to the ground but leave two or three leaves for the plant to recover.
If you want to keep a cut-and-come-again display, it’s important to pick flowers every two weeks otherwise the plants will run out of steam. It’s a good idea therefore, to encourage friends to help themselves too, so that when you go on holiday the flowerbed remains productive.
To give your arrangements a professional finish, always make foliage the backbone of your displays. You can use shrubby trimmings such as branches of beech, willow, eucalyptus and euonymus, or the foliage of herbs like lavender, sage and rosemary. You could also scour the country lanes for stems of hedgerow favourites like cow parsley.
Throughout British Flower Week you’ll find that many of the country’s Flower Festivals and gardens, which usually open their gates to visitors at this time of year, will be holding special events.
So if you want to learn more about flower arranging, look out for those that have workshops with experts on hand; they can guide you through the basics and you can practice making your own hand-tied posies and arrangements.
Participating florists will also be showcasing their work, not only in their own shops but hotels and restaurants too, so have your camera handy! Five of Britain’s best and most creative florists have also been commissioned to produce designs that promote London’s New Covent Garden Flower Market and these will be revealed on www.britishflowersweek.com and social media over the course of the week.
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David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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