A little while ago I came across an interesting article in the New York Times about the demise of traditional flower bouquets. The article described changing floral trends in the US, but it could easily have been about the UK. For we have our own flower ‘revolutionaries’ who are quietly influencing producers and consumers alike away from domes of imported roses and posies of gypsophila, towards a wilder aesthetic that showcases seasonal British flowers. Instagram is over-flowing with achingly beautiful images of these natural arrangements, and I’m finding that more and more brides are asking for ‘just-picked’ bouquets.
So, how are these arrangements created? To find out, I visited my friend Brigitte Girling, owner of Moss & Stone Floral Design, at her idyllic home in rural Suffolk. To say that Brigitte is talented is an understatement if ever there was one; she has a remarkable eye for colour and form that begins with her planting and manifests in her exquisite bouquets and romantic decorations. It is no surprise that her Instagram account has almost 9,000 followers.
After a delicious breakfast we headed out to explore her garden. Brigitte had already sourced for us a wonderful selection of seasonal flowers from her local grower, but to those we added stems of delicate scabious, floaty cosmos and sweetly-scented garden roses. I could have whiled away the morning just picking, but there was work to do!
Back in her workroom, I realised that describing Brigitte’s work as floristry misrepresented her craft completely; this was art! As a painter would begin by choosing her colours, so she sorted through our garden bounty, patiently selecting blooms with, what she called, ‘personality’! This meant stems with interesting twists and turns; buds about to burst or colours that ‘popped’ when placed alongside certain others. This time it was deep purple sweet peas against a palette of soft pinks.
Starting with a trail of jasmine and several pieces of beech, yet another Instagram-ready bouquet began to take shape. With the foliage frame in place, the delicate flowers were woven through. I was surprised by the care Brigitte took to place each individual stem and how frequently she removed and re-jiggled until the bouquet was just ‘right’. Finally satisfied, she tied it off and trimmed the stems, adding a trailing silk ribbon by way of a finishing touch.
As Brigitte stood back to admire her work and I leapt in to take the all-important photographs, it seemed obvious to me that locally-grown flowers are far superior to mass-produced Dutch imports. And the good news for you as a bride is that more florists across the UK are experimenting with British flowers. Of course, outside of summertime our selection is more limited, but do not underestimate the impact of foliage! After all, green is the colour of 2017.
Discover Moss & Stone Floral Design at www.mossandstone.co.uk