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About Fierceblooms - A Wild Garden Style Artisan Florist

It started out with a kiss how did it end up like this

WORDS: Kathryn Cronin
PHOTOS: Ricky Bache


Wild garden style floral design is a passion for me. It probably always has been but I took a different career path.

Not too long ago, a rather large pharmaceutical company decided to move to Cambridge. I decided to stay in Cheshire.

So here, in our vintage warehouse beside the Shropshire Union Canal (that’s the Shroppie cut to you and I), I started to watch the seasons in the hedgerows, to belong to a village who hardly knew us when we were jetting here there and everywhere, to notice the swallows when they returned and even, when I was very lucky, to catch a glimpse of the beautiful brilliant blue kingfishers as they darted along the canal.

I have also reconnected with some much earlier influences.

My grandfather built a greenhouse. It was half the size of his garden. I was quite small and so was his garden. When he used to open the greenhouse door, I would take a deep breath. The scent of geraniums was intoxicating. I can see him now with his tie and his tank top, shirt shelves folded neatly over and over and held by his steel arm bands.

My grandfather built a greenhouse - It was half the size of his garden. I was quite small and so was his garden.

On the greenhouse shelves too were pots and pots of cascading fushias in all colours and all manner of shapes and sizes. I spent hours watching him tend his amazing blooms.

I was very fortunate to study Botany at University. I suspect this was always meant to be from my grandfather's early influence. And now, I feel I am exactly where I am meant to be.

As a wild garden style artisan florist, this blog is about my wild garden style floral design where spirited flower curation captures the essence of each and every passing month and season. Each floral arrangement is designed to engage, to literally make you stop and gaze a while. A moment to rest in this rather hectic world of ours.

But why fierce I hear you cry? Isn't that a bit violent, its' meaning almost aggressive and forceful? What attracted me to the word 'fierce' though has its roots in its alternative meaning and the writing of David Whyte , a poet who is rather fond of using the 'F' word to discuss engagement in life.

I want to know if you are willing to live, day by day, with the consequence of love and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat. I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even the gods speak of God.David Whyte

So my floristry is fierce in the sense that I approach it in a heartfelt and intense way, spirited if you like. The work I do of learning from others is done with humility. I risk by putting my floral design out there while giving others the gift of my insight for what it is worth to them.

I have studied floral design at Reasehealth Collage in Cheshire as well as having an honours degree in Botany from Nottingham University. As an aspiring artisan florist, I was delighted to achieve 2 second prizes in my first ever South Cheshire (Nantwich) Show (2015).

For each project, I:
  • Grow (some) flowers and foliage in my cheshire canalside flower cutting garden - e.g. see my recent post on choosing dahlias for that wild just picked look. I forage for other foliage (responsibly in our beautiful British hedgerows).
  • Design using the unfolding seasons as inspiration observed from our home next to the canal.
  • Create bespoke wild garden style cut flower arrangements that generate atmosphere for wedding and styling events.

You can also browse through other examples of my work on my wild garden style floral design portfolio page and let me know what you think.

You can read even more from this british artisan florist and flower grower on the floristry blog.

Do get in touch to discuss your wedding or event. You can also get inspired and learn what informs my designs by attending on of my fierce flower classes.

Get In Touch

If you are interested, you can also review some of my wild garden style wedding flowers ideas.

My Studio And Canalside Cutting Garden

a taster for fierceTV
See how to 'do the flowers' or visit my magical places on our very own video outlet here on the fierceblooms site - fierceTV
Episodes

2020 Flower classes

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@fierceblooms

Would you love a Tulip Bridal bouquet in August?
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Now if you are in the southern hemisphere, with the tulips emerging from their winter slumber, then this tulip bridal bouquet is scented seasonal and sustainable.
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You may be pondering why am I even thinking of tulips in August? Well, just like back in March, when the world shifted, I thought about whether to plant any seeds, here I am at that same moment wondering about planting bulbs. Even more than at the start of this year, growing to make a sustainable difference, to give an alternative floral option matters.
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We have all felt that Autumn is almost here. This tulip bouquet is to say hello to all those spring brides who are feeling hopeful, many who have moved their weddings from this 2020 year. If this year has made you want wedding flowers that are as kind to the earth as they are beautiful, DM.
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Dahlias - Top tips now the data is in…..

Treat them mean to keep them keen is my finding. This is an oft used phrase when discussing affairs of the heart, and while I am not too sure about its guidance on that subject, it does stand scrutiny with our dahlias.
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Next year then, no time or soil will be spent potting dahlias up. The dahlia’s will be in the ground late April with a fleece, copper rings and a liberal sprinting of egg shells . Only one small piece of dahlia tuber will be planted not a massive clump as the flowers from less is definitely more.
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And labelling? Well, still cracking that particular nut………
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What’s your favourite dahlia this year?
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Here is a Monday morning jug of joy for you....
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As our little staycation extends sneakily into today, I thought it would be good to just plonk these roses in one of my old french pitchers, with its matching browns and honeyed yellows, on the kitchen table. Because it looks just like the sunrise this morning as August ripens into late summer.
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Already in these early mornings, with the almost imperceptibly changing colour and smell even, one can feel September and Autumn whispering of its coming.
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Can you sense the arrival of Autumn in your garden?
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It’s a totally tangerine sort of Sunday.
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The sun is shining (in fact it’s a scorcher) and this weekend we are having a slight staycation.
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.But it’s dahlia season and I still had to cut these ‘Totally Tangerine’ and ‘Salmon Runner’ dahlias which are growing their socks off in the cutting garden and nodding in the gentle summer breeze. These eye poppers theme perfectly with the blue sky - and my blue apron come to that.
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. What are you doing with yourself this beautiful August Sunday? Me - I’ll be in the paddling pool.
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I am feeling a little wild this Friday morning..
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This small wild garden style bouquet that is.
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With sweetpeas, Nigella, scabiosa, their seed pods, lysimachia beaujolais and grass from our paddock she’s a floral miniature marvel. Beautiful but not exuberant or overstated, this one would make an ideal bridesmaid bouquet -
complementing but not upstaging her bride whom she is there to support on the latter’s special day.
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Given these unique times and curtailed attendee numbers limitations at weddings, I realise bridesmaids may be rather thin on the ground at the moment - so let’s give them a shoutout and big flowery hug today.
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Which supporters and background helpers would you call out this Friday?
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Looking for Trevor…..or the dahlia formerly known as David Howard……
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There is the perpetual question of labelling for dahlias. The dahlia label is a thing of myth and legend. You need the label to be sturdy enough to see out the summer, then sufficiently robust to be readable by the end of the winter…
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More often than not, there is disappointment at either or both ends of the season. Surely, I can hear you cry, not at the end of summer when you can still see the flowers? Well, let me tell you, dear floral readers, I won’t have been first or only flower grower to loose sight of any variety in a swift frost, in Cheshire or otherwise.
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And the reason we call David Howard dahlias Trevor? After the British actor Trevor Howard of course, the one who stars in my all time favourite film, Brief encounter.
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Do tell, what is your all time best dahlia labelling plan?…..for my own future sanity even. By the way, for those who follow me - over on stories today are some top tips for growing and drying alchemilla mollis. Pop over and have a peek.
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Some floral inspiration for the start of the working week…..
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In my previous role, there was always a push back for us to have resilience. That word keeps returning to my mind now. Truthfully, I used to think it was just another way for my global employer to keep us all going. Now, I think of it as a gift.
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Finding purpose can be tricky. Taking time to look after yourself, including enough sleep and rest, well, that’s challenging sometimes but can be done. Responding to change and things out of your control. Now you are getting to the heart of it and the things I find difficult……
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The flowers in our cutting garden are having to be their resilient best as the weather changes but somehow they keep going and are always ready to present their best face to us. They are a reminder to me to do the same.
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So I made this bouquet yesterday with the things in my garden, played and experimented, evolved my art - in a word practiced what could be called my floral resilience. By the way, those of you following me can see and hear about how I made this bouquet over on my Instagram Stories.
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What source are you getting your floral resilience from today?
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I made a flower crown at my virtual class on Friday…..
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This is a picture of another one though, with my favourite everlasting dried flowers. As you know, dear floral readers, I am fond of making the odd floral crown, but even fonder of wearing them. I defy anyone to not feel immediately better with a dried flower crown like this one on their head.
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I confess that headwear indecision is an issue in this floral home. The constant dilemma is what to wear on my head on any day, being quite partial to the odd hat as you know….
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As you can imaging, there’s the odd bunch of sustainable dried flowers hanging up at the wharf at the moment. Always experimenting with my botanicals , I am looking to find new dried floral ingredients to create, yes you’ve guessed it, flower crowns.
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What flowers are you drying this year?
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Its Saturday, its August and Summer is back...
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Sadly, as we heard on the news yesterday, life is not quite back.
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Many who had set their hearts on a wedding with 30 close friends and relatives or those who had hoped to celebrate Eid in these parts in the North West of England, are disappointed.
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Funnily enough I went out on a rare trip to Taporley yesterday morning, to pick up from lovely vessels from Carol @caroltheatticroom. It was a nice warm day and the village was extraordinarily busy and so well.. normal. It all felt a bit surreal like I was an not there but observing a scene from maybe that eternity ago that was last summer. Two old blokes side by side passed close to me chatting animatedly as I swerved to avoid bumping into them, a gaggle of kids swept noisily down the middle of the pavement. Then I spotted a movement in a reflection of the shop window - a strange lady unlike anyone else I had seen in those few minutes wearing a mask.
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It was me.
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I got home and had a cup of tea like I always do when I feel sad. I've woken up this morning and the sun is still shining. I'm going out to pick some sweet peas now to take to my friend Val who has kept us going throughout all these last months with our fruit and veg. Its Market Day in Nantwich. Our masks lie waiting beside the bag door ready with the shopping bags as we dust ourselves off psychologically and prepare to engage in this new normal world again today. Oh and the dahlias are going for it now in the cutting garden.
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What are you up to this first August Saturday?
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I am constantly experimenting with using dried flowers in wreaths and other floral things……
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This dried flower wreath is made from the helichrysum grown in our cut flower garden and dried in our wharf last year. At last! An advantage to living in a draughty house……..
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What flowers are you growing for drying this year?
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It is all about timing your run but mostly I am cutting our garden gathered flowers in the rain......
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........and then the sun comes out! The day someone designs a coat that avoids water running down your arm or is long enough in the right places to avoid a damp derrière without tripping over, that is going to be a good day.
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Have you been cutting flowers in the rain?
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I wasn’t the only one busy #inmygardentoday
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Yesterday actually as its tipping down as I post this.... Anyway, as I sat down on our little patio area to have my morning cup of tea I could see out of the corner of my eye that there was a hive of activity amongst the alliums.
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These bees, solitary bees who you may know don’t in fact live in a hive or are the subject of a monarch (queen) , flitted from stem to stem hard at work doing their pollinating thing. And it got me thinking that without these little creatures, working diligently pollinating my plants, I wouldn’t have my cutting garden.
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So today, shoutout on my grid to my little friends the bees - nature’s gift of an indispensable partner in horticulture. Do you have many pollinators in your garden right now?
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The dahlia’s on our kitchen table are making it look like a cafe…….
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……not that I have visited any cafes although there’s quite a few cafe au lait dahlias safely socially distanced at the top end of the paddock. As you’d imagine, they are getting quite large, and rather too big for their boots.
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We do love them though, even though their front facing heavy flowers can be the trickiest of things to arrange, and their huge heads are marvellous homes for earwigs. Our trick is to use upturned jam jars stuffed with newspaper tempt the earwigs away from the flowers.
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Have you got any socially distanced diva’s in your flower garden?
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