Make the most of fresh spring blooms with these ex­pert tips and stylish tricks to try at home

It’s time to shake things up! Take the modern ap­proach to flower ar­rang­ing with these in­spired sea­sonal and style tips from florist Vicki Kerr

Inside Out (Australia) - - Contents - WORDS CAR­RIE HUTCHIN­SON STYLING LOUISE BICKLE PHOTOGRAPHY MA­REE HOMER

Even the an­cient Egyp­tians cul­ti­vated flow­ers – then it was roses, vi­o­lets, pop­pies and lo­tus blos­soms - be­fore ar­rang­ing them in vases and bas­kets. Back then, strew­ing blos­soms around your quar­ters was mostly the realm of the roy­als, but it’s a good les­son in how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Fash­ions cy­cle in many ar­eas of our lives, and flower ar­rang­ing is no dif­fer­ent. In 2015,Vic­to­rian styles with vin­tage vases and posies in a riot of colour were pop­u­lar. Just a year ago, huge asym­met­ri­cal ar­range­ments with mixed va­ri­eties – al­most as if the flow­ers had grown wild – were all the rage. “There are no rules any­more,” says florist and author of Flo­ral Alchemy, Vicki Kerr. “The bound­aries are gone, and it’s very much about pur­su­ing what you think looks good.”

A case in point is the re-emer­gence of quite tra­di­tional blooms. “Peo­ple al­ways say, ‘Oh, I hate car­na­tions,’” says Vicki, “but now they are be­ing used all the time.” The same goes for the likes of baby’s breath, chrysan­the­mums and Queen Anne’s Lace. Look for them in un­usual colours or heir­loom va­ri­eties for a com­plete up­date of the look. “These days, there is room for us­ing so many more in­ter­est­ing com­bi­na­tions,” con­tin­ues Vicki. “I par­tic­u­larly like mis­matches, so I’ll put to­gether con­trast­ing el­e­ments; na­tives, for in­stance, with some­thing re­ally soft and pretty like a rose.”

DOL­LARS & SCENTS

If there’s one thing to re­mem­ber when buy­ing flow­ers, it’s to favour sea­son­al­ity. Noth­ing says sum­mer like the in­tox­i­cat­ing per­fume of gar­de­nias, while spring is the best time for tulips in their many colours and va­ri­eties. “If you buy blooms out of sea­son, they’ll al­ways be weaker and more ex­pen­sive,” says Vicki. Build a rap­port with your lo­cal florist – af­ter all, no-one gets the same ser­vice as a reg­u­lar. “You should al­ways feel free to ask when the flow­ers were bought and what mar­ket they came from,” she con­tin­ues.

Fol­low­ing the farm-to-plate food move­ment, where din­ers have be­come more aware of the prov­i­dence of what they eat, more peo­ple are also buy­ing blos­soms di­rect from the grower, whether that’s di­rect from the prop­erty or through farm­ers’ mar­kets. Look around your own gar­den and neigh­bour­hood, too, for fo­liage and other el­e­ments to in­clude in an ar­range­ment. “I would of­ten start an ar­range­ment with an ar­chi­tec­tural branch or some beau­ti­ful fo­liage for in­spi­ra­tion,” says Vicki. Huge mon­stera leaves are eye-catch­ing, or look to the lat­est trend in all-green­ery bridal bou­quets and blend ferns with eu­ca­lypt leaves.

CORNFLOWER ANEMONE HY­ACINTH

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