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
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