Posted on April 28, 2014
It is quite unusual for us to create funeral tributes. However, occasionally we are asked to do them for family and friends, I thought I would share with you the step by step guide with tips that I hope you will find helpful.
This particular floral tribute was to cover the full length of the casket, and was for a friend’s Mum, he asked for something really special that looked stunning and vibrant and as it was Easter time to be all Spring flowers. These are my favourite flowers, they are fresh, colourful and have the most delicious perfumes.
These are the materials I used:
1 x 90cm casket tray
2 x Large bunches of Salal
1 x wrap of Hyacinths Purple Star
2 x bunches of Peony Coral Sunset
1 x wrap of Tulips Pretty Love
1 x wrap of Ranunculas Elegance Orange
1 x wrap of Freesia En Maya
1 bunch of Viburnum Opulus
To start, fill a large sink with clean water and a couple of spoonfuls of flowers food, place the casket tray upside down in the water and leave to soak the water up, if the sink isn’t large enough turn the tray around that every part of the foam is soaked, don’t be tempted to pour water on top of it as it will not absorb the water properly and your design will dry out.
Place pieces of Salal around the base and fill in with pieces of different lengths until most of the foam is covered, and spray liberally with leaf shine
Now you are ready for the fun part, placing the flowers: I always start with the largest blooms, in this case the Peony’s, place them evenly around all sides of your design, it doesn’t have to be symmetrical.
Next place the Hyacinths in the same way. Hyacinths are one of many Spring flowers that are tricky to work with in floral foam as the stems are very thick and fleshy, I find it is easier if you insert your scissors into the foam first to make a gash, insert a kebab stick into the base of the Hyacinth stem for more support and then place in the floral foam.
Tulips were added in, followed by Ranunculas and Freesia, all at varying lengths, some recessed, some trailing. Note that Tulips carry on growing after cutting so it is advisable to leave them a little shorter than required.
Finally, I used one of my favourite Shrubs as a filler, Viburnum Opulus, these were cut short and tucked in between the flowers, the fresh bright green looked wonderful with the vibrancy of the other flowers.
I had some wonderful comments after the funeral, especially because of the mix of perfumes from the Hyacinths and Freesias.
It takes time and patience to create a large floral design like this, but find it very therapeutic and rewarding, and a fitting tribute of love and rememberance.
Posted on June 14, 2013
I first met Sally in April 2012 when she came for a consultation with her future Mother-In-Law to discuss her Wedding flowers.
We discussed all the possible options and colourways to blend with her theme and came up with a scheme to include the hanging lanterns on the tables at the venue that she had seen and liked. For her bridal flowers Sally decided she wanted to incorporate Peonies, one of my favourites, Phalaepnopsis Orchids, Vendella Roses and Bouvardia, and was specific that she wanted a very narrow shower Bouquet, the Bridesmaids flowers had a similar combination without the Orchids. I am so pleased that Sally was thrilled with her flowers.
We had many discussions, emails and a couple of meetings since that day and I felt I had really got to know Sally and was able to interpret and visualise the ideas she had in her mind. The big day came round so quickly, and I was happy to see that it was a warm and sunny day. I arranged for Sally’s Bridal Bouquets to be delivered to a Hotel in Ruislip where Sally had spent the night, whilst I concentrated on displaying the floral designs at the Grim’s Dyke Hotel in Harrow.
The Grim’s Dyke Hotel was bought in 1890 by W.S.Gilbert, the famous dramatist and librettist partner of Sir Arthur Sullivan, it remained his home for over 20 years until his death in the lake. Afterwards it achieved awards for its gardens, was a sanitorium and hospital, the site of secret World War II projects, became a film set for Hammer horror films, and the location for many well known T.V. shows up to the present. In 1996 the Melton Medes Group undertook a £3 million restoration of the exterior and refurbished the house under the supervision of English Heritage to create the delightful hotel and restaurant it is today.
I was particularly impressed with the very pretty gardens and the huge colourful Rhodedendrons that lined the driveway.
From a decor point of view there were some lovely original features such as the enormous marble mantelshelf with bearded men, which we draped with foliage and flowers.
Posted on May 20, 2013
Have you ever admired a floral design and wondered how to create it yourself?
Today I am going to make a beautiful floral centrepiece with a step by step guide.
Flowers and Foliage:
First fill a container with clean water and some soluble plant food, drop the floral foam into the water to soak thoroughly. Don’t push the floral foam down but let the water absorb.
When thoroughly wet place in the clear saucer and tape over and round to make it secure.
Cut the Salal tips into short lengths and start placing in the floral foam to make a compact circular shape.
When you are happy that the floral foam is covered, give the foliage a liberal spray of leaf shine, and you are ready to place the flowers.
Start by placing the Roses evenly around the design, followed by the Eryngium.
Next add the Calla Lilies, small tip – as the Calla Lilies have soft fleshy stems it is sometimes difficult to get them into the foam, I make a small hole with a stick and then it is easier to get the stem in.
Add the Freesias to fill in the gaps.
Now it is time to assemble your design.
Take your tall glass vase and place a submersible light at the bottom
Fill the vase with scrunched cellophane
Fill the vase to the top with water
Posted on May 1, 2013
We are very fortunate to have a selection of beautiful venues that we regularly work at as recommended suppliers.
Last week we were invited to an open afternoon/evening to dress the Great Hall and Long Gallery at the beautiful Fanhams Hall Hotel with floral designs in order to show it at it’s best for prospective couples planning their big day.
It was a lovely sunny day, which is very rare I know!, and around 22 couples were scheduled for appointments from 4.30pm until 8.30pm. I really enjoyed meeting so many people in a very relaxed and unhurried atmosphere where the couples wandered around the Hotel with Drinks and Canapes in hand, so different from that of a Wedding Fair as I had time to discuss their Wedding in detail and advise of different designs and themes.
The people that I spoke to said that they found it very helpful to see the venue all set up for a Wedding in it’s full glory and enabled them to visualise what their own Day would look like.
A selection of designs which are all very different but would look equally stunning are pictured below……….
The Long Gallery
The Great Hall
Posted on April 19, 2013
After a very exciting and busy few weeks, my new website is up and running and I have a blog!!
I have so much to share with you but I am going to start with my exciting trip to Italy last weekend.
I had been commisioned by someone I know well to accompany them to Sorrento and Capri to look at venues in which to hold their Daughter’s Wedding Ceremony and Reception in, and then advise of floral decor. Well it was a tough job but someone had to do it!
The long awaited day arrived and we set off at the crack of dawn from Stansted Airport and flew to Naples. When we arrived it was only a short transfer to Sorrento where we were booked into a beautiful Hotel on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius, it was spectacular.
After settling in we took a stroll around the local area and were taken in by the charm of the narrow cobbled streets, and tiny alleys with a selection of shops selling an assortment of local produce such as dried herbs, chilies, and the local speciality Limoncello, a sweet Lemon Liquor, where we saw it being made from gigantic Lemons and of course sampled a drop or too. Gorgeous fragrant soaps are also made from the Lemons and make great gifts. There were lots of pretty Restaurants and Cafe’s tucked away from the main streets where we had a lovely lunch sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, and feeling refreshed decided to start our search.
We took a look around a few of the Hotels that might have the ‘wow factor’ for the Wedding and collected all the information, there was such a choice of lovely venues to be found, most of them with the amazing views over the Bay of Naples, with pretty botanical gardens in which to hold the Ceremony. It was decided that we would visit the Island of Capri as I had been there previously and loved it, so the following morning we took the 15 minute high speed Hovercraft over to Capri. This time it was just as captivating as I remembered. Capri has a certain charm that is hard to describe, it has all of the beauty of Sorrento but with a timeless elegance, exclusive Boutique Hotels, Villas, Designer Shops, Restaurants and Cafes are all dotted around this beautiful lush Island which is easily walkable, and like Sorrento also has tiny little cobbled alleyways which lead off the bustly main square where you can sit in one of the many outside Cafes and watch the world go by.
You can easily see why many Celebrities go there as the Villas are screened by high walls and security gates making it very private from the world outside.
We found THE place high in the hills of Anacapri, a stunning Boutique Hotel with an incredible view, and knew straight away that this was where the Wedding should be, and after taking a tour of the Hotel, meeting the Manager Roberto and having a chilled glass of wine on the terrace decided without hesitation that we should book.
On the way back we stumbled upon a very quaint Flower Shop by chance along the pathway in the hills and went in, the owner was very friendly and helpful and we talked for a while about the flower choices and looked at some of the work he had done on the Island. It was inspiring to consider using flora and fauna from the mediterranian in the floral designs which are seen growing in abundance on this lush Island, as well as the classical favourites such as Hydrangea and Roses.
This a project we at April Showers are very excited about, and can’t wait to return to this beautiful place soon.
Let the planning commence……………………………………………