My Wild Garden Style Floral Design Philosophy

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My Wild Garden Style Floral Design Philosophy

The 5Fs Of Wild Garden Style Floristry

WORDS: Kathryn Cronin
PHOTOS: Ricky Bache


The scent of geraniums surrounds me as I stand by the door of my grandfathers greenhouse. Later those same blooms are arranged on a Welsh dresser. Little did I know that those precious memories would end up being my future guide.

After a professional career that took me around the world, I have come to realise that the creation of my Cheshire canal side cutting garden has been inspired by those very early memories that continue to evolve with every passing season.

I describe my floral design philosophy as wild garden style, inspired by iconic floral influencers like Constance Spry. I seek to pay homage to the past in reimagined floral designs for the future.

But what is exactly is wild garden style floral design?

After much thought and growing experience in my Cheshire flower cutting garden, I have concluded the heart of my wild garden style floral design can be described by what I am calling “the 5 Fs”.

Let me tell you more about why these 5 elements:

  1. Fierce
  2. Foraged
  3. Fresh
  4. Fragrant
  5. Follow the seasons
so aptly characterise the absolute essence of this exciting new design philosophy.

Fierce

You may be wondering about the word fierce. After all, it is far from the first word that springs to mind in the context of floral design, so let me explain.

I believe beauty is unbridled, wild, yes, even fierce. It is a curved stem that does not conform to supermarket perfect. Fierce florals are unique, each stem curated and nurtured with love. It is using foliage in a way that Constance Spry pioneered, letting each piece have it’s space and designing with it the way it wants to go.

Wild garden style floral design is about evoking the wild spirit of nature. It is about the spirited curation inspired by nature and the seasons. So rather than having angry overtones, the term fierce is about living our lives in a more authentic and fully engaged way.

Wild garden style designs are loose and emboldened. They aim to defy expectations of composition, form and colour. It is about knowing the rules to break them in creating one-off pieces of art rather than an assembly line of florals.

Foraged

Foraged foliage and florals give a sense of place and sense of time like nothing else. They are not perfect. Nature is not perfect but perfectly imperfect. A curved branch of a particular blossom in spring, an abundance of unique grasses that flourish in the autumn giving both moment and texture, berried ivy cut for winter wreaths.

Nature is not perfect but perfectly imperfect.

All these things appropriately represent their season and often identifies an area of the world. Each adds a unique natural element to my wild garden floral designs. In fact my view is that dried and dead elements add depth as death is part of our living too.

Feathers are collected from the poultry lady in the market, grass is cut from my paddock, branches of snow berry in winter, all of these things are as important as the flowers to my philosophy.

Fresh

Wild garden design floristry is about using flowers and foliage that has been picked at its peak. It is squeaky tulips or the stem of a just picked honeysuckle.

There are very few miles from my Cheshire cutting garden to a bouquet. Flowers are cut for optimum vase life, and with limited transport, it allows for a much more diverse range of flowers to be included.

Neither do these fresh flowers cost the earth environmentally. British grown flowers in fact nuture an ever growing population of bees and butterflies in my cutting garden.

Fragrant

Scent plays a pivotal role in all our lives. It transcends our thinking mind and takes us right to the heart of our being. It is nostalgia and memory. It is the gardens of our childhood.

Scent plays a pivotal role in all our lives.

No perfumer however skilled can ever truly bottle that loveliness. Warm peonies on a summers day, freshly cut sweetpeas in summer or winter jasmine. No wild garden floral design is ever missing this magical ingredient.

Follow the seasons

There is something quite precious about the blossom of snow white mangolia branches grown in my own cutting garden, or adding lilac from my own trees at the exact moment when it is flowering. Wild garden style floristry is about gathering and using seasonal ingredients to give a glimpse of a nature’s calendar - for example in the creation of a spring flower nest.

You intuitively feel it is the end of winter when snowdrops break the stone hard earth, or the start of spring when narcissi and tulips dance in the warming breeze.

Wild garden style design can be recognised using roses when they show their blousey heads in summer, or when the sweet peas reach their zenith in the autumn just as the fresh hops arrive to garland the beams of our canalside wharf.

Wild garden style floristry is about gathering seasonal ingredients to give a glimpse of a nature’s calendar.

All of these things give a context of time and of place.

Flowers are often there at the notable moments in our lives, our christenings, our marriages, and yes our deaths. Wild garden style floristry uses blooms with character, a curved stem that makes you smile, a scent that makes you remember, a floral design that elicits an emotional response. What I think we’ve forgotten is that the everyday is also important, each and every moment precious never to be repeated.

The absolute philosophy for my wild garden style floral designs is about being influenced by as well as capturing all that is wild and untamed and for those designs to prompt us to want to live a life that is connected with the seasons with a conscious environmental heart. Wild garden style floristry is for living a life that is fierce.

If my my wild garden style philosophy resonates, I would be delighted if you would have a look at some examples of my work on my wild garden style floral design portfolio page and let me know what you think.

Read more from me Fierceblooms on the floristry blog.

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

British flowers are key to my wild garden style floral design for both aesthetic and environmental reasons.

fierceblooms

About Fierceblooms

more about Me

Iam an artisan florist growing British flowers with a design studio and cutting garden nestled beside a historic canal in rural Cheshire.

If sustainability is important to you, if it matters that your flowers are as lovely to the environment as they are to look at, then I am a kindred spirit.

Get in touch to discuss your wedding or event. You can also be inspired and learn what informs my original designs by attending one of my flower classes . Update - 2020 FTF classes in our local village hall have been cancelled due to Covid, but get in touch with me regarding live on-line 1-2-1s.

2021 Flower classes

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@fierceblooms

Nurturing our wild garden is my focus right now......
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.....or is my wild garden nurturing me? Things in life are often the other way round. In late winter, as my potatoes are chitting on the Wharf's window ledge, there are patches of frothy cow parsley shooting and bulbs braving the Cheshire weather.
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Most gardeners are already planning, weeding, sowing, if not quite digging for the season ahead. Our floral seasons are carrying on, whatever else is happening. So, I have decided to take a leaf out of its book, if you'll pardon the pun.
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Along with our garden, we've been carrying on too. We're daring to be different, and reimagining how we do our flower classes for a more sustainable mothers day.
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Our wild garden style "Nurture and Nature" booklet is written and our mothers day bouquet class is coming up soon. In this world of ours that is feeling disconnected and isolated, we want our "online" to be so so much more than the click of a button. I think it matters to nurture both our environment and ourselves. I think it matters to use local seasonal, and in our case, British grown flowers. And more than ever, I think it matters to keep creating.
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I hope you do too. DM to join us
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#flowerclass #britishgrownflowers #slowsimpleseasonal #homegrownflowers #ayearinmygarden #flowerworkshop #grownnotflown #gardengathered #wildgardenstyle #realflowersoftheseason #seasonalfloweralliance #learnfloraldesign #floristrycourse #flowerschool #gardeninspiredfloristry #aseasonalyear #thefloralseasons #britishflowers #sustainablefloristry #onlineflowerclasses #mothersdaybouquet
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Where do you get your inspiration?....
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.......was a question I was asked just the other day. The answer is both short and long, appears both superficial and deep. It is both simple and complex......
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....and I think to do it justice, to hold the authentic discussion if you will, it is beyond the written word even. It is a conversation, an engagement if you will, with the things that matter to you. Then, and only then comes the how. How to translate that into your floral design.
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The swallows will be swooping when next I can gather the stems for this spring bouquet from our canalside cutting garden. DM if you would like to converse with us.
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#springbouquet #inspiredbypetals #wildgardenstyle #slowsimpleseasonal #homegrownflowers #ayearinmygarden #flowerworkshop #grownnotflown #gardengathered #wildgardenstyle #realflowersoftheseason #onlinefloristry #seasonalfloweralliance #learnfloraldesign #ecoflowers #floristrycourse #flowerschool #gardeninspiredfloristry #floristrystudent #aseasonalyear #thefloralseasons #britishflowers #sustainablefloristry #onlineflowerclasses
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Growing wild garden style bouquets...
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.....and like every other grower of seasonal British flowers up and down the country, I am sowing seeds for our canalside cutting garden. Rather than germinating too many though, I now have a method after ending up with hundreds of plants and no beds left to plant them! So I have learned over the years that if I sprinkle enough seeds to cover a single small pot, it is more than enough for 4ft blocks of different types of home grown garden flowers.
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After a disastrous "weeding" of one of our flower beds, or perhaps a stroke of genius on his behalf dear reader, the darling Scot proved he is unable to tell an emerging flower from a weed. The flower beds are not covered in anything, I want them to be be beautiful and plastic free. And having just the bare earth means there's always lots of self sown plants free from mother nature. So as it's just me on the weeding front, I am also filling our cutting garden with perennials, bunnies willing. We're playing to our strengths here though. He is, after all, far better at the IT.
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And if you'd like to experience our extended zoom platform incorporating multimedia, multiple camera angles, great sound technology, and a few flowers, DM for details of our classes.
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#gardengathered #gardeninspiredfloristry #littlegardenstories #slowsimpleseasonal #realflowersoftheseason #wildgardenstyle #ecoflowers #gardenbouquet #onlineflowerclasses #learningfromnature #seasonalfloralstyle #naturalflowers #authenticflorals #gardengrown #floralstories #akinderwaytoflourish #seasonaltales .
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Delivered by a beautiful canal boat.....
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.... my fid. A what? A fid, a tool, a rather old fashioned tool, but a tool none the less, used to work with rope.....
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.....we grow flowers right next to the historic Shropshire Union canal. We live in an industrial Wharf, with Jacobean gable end walls, and stone finials. Beauty and aesthetic with function at Bridge 14. That is where you'll find us, with all of the nostalgia of the Cheshire countryside that surrounds us. You'll find us crafting and making our wild garden style floral designs.
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One of @country_cut_flowers rope wreaths hangs on our door. Our friend Emma appreciates that history of crafting, handed down by her uncle to her.
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A grateful thank you always to @coalboat_alton and @fuel_boat_halsall, for passing slowly on their beautiful historic narrow boats. Frankly , they make our day whenever they pass our Wharf. And although you can't physically come here right now, you can escape here to one of our classes from your very own chair at your home.
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If you want to learn how to craft your own bouquet of flowers, DM me for our classes. I can promise you'll adore the canal, and the beautiful narrow boats that pass here, oh and did I mention the swans? See our stories....
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#inspiredbypetals #wildgardenstyle #slowsimpleseasonal #homegrownflowers #ayearinmygarden #springbouquet #flowerworkshop #grownnotflown #gardengathered #wildgardenstyle #realflowersoftheseason #onlinefloristry #seasonalfloweralliance #learnfloraldesign #ecoflowers #floristrycourse #flowerschool #gardeninspiredfloristry #floristrystudent #aseasonalyear #thefloralseasons #britishflowers #sustainablefloristry #onlineflowerclasses
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The reason I know that spring is coming is....
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...the rooks are attempting to rip off the chimney cowls. You know, the covers at the top of the chimney pots.
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It has me thinking of making, as clearly the enterprising pair are thinking of their next nest. Some of their predecessors were not as efficient in their design and came tumbling down into the Wharf. That's what put the cowls there in the first place.
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Learning how to make things well is an age old tradition. Here at our Cheshire canalside garden, we craft bouquets. Our purpose is encourage an enthusiasm for design, but not any old design. Wild garden style floral design that uses garden gathered materials, that make our wild garden style bouquets, well, wild. There is nature in the crafting and nurture in the giving.
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Escape to our Wharf from the comfort of your own home to learn how to craft bouquets, with nature and nurture and the hope of the spring season. DM for details.
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Home grown flowers for a Saturday at home........
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The Wharf feels like a boat today. It is built slightly lower than the canal, so when the wind is whistling across our cutting garden, as it is right now, we're looking at waves through the goods entrance, now our low window. And just like a choppy sea, I suspect it far too tricky to navigate.
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So I braved the elements to check on our bulbs. Yes, they are still there. This is good because I want our grown not flown flowers for our online flower classes. And whatever the weather and whatever the circumstances, our flower workshop will still be happening.
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Join us for some online floristry in our boat like Wharf. We'd love to have you aboard. DM for details.
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In ever hopeful anticipation of spring, and bouquets...
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"Are you Fierceblooms?" was the shout from the canal tow path. I almost didn't hear knee deep in weeding as I was.
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"I recognise the hat!" was the next sentence (my current favourite green one in case you're wondering). And then we had the lovliest of conversations about her plans for flowers and growing.
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Isn't it a small world?!
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A spring bouquet for this Sunday morning.....
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My fingers are emitting sparks of fire in anticipation of the labours to come.......
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Monday is the first of our "Nature and Nurture" series. Valentines reimagined. In a year where I have no doubt I am not the only one who has never cried so much, nor loved as much. Flower arranging classes for the the love of, well love.
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We'd love to welcome you at ther wharf, virtually for now. DM to join us.
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Spring flowers in my cutting garden.....
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......are proving to be as consistently resiliant and for that trait alone they are on my inspirational list.
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The light changed this week, did it with you? A flicker of hope, as winter edges slowly to spring. I confess a bias for spring and her seasonal flowers. By necessity in the north of England, these slow flowers have to be pretty robust, out there growing in all weathers.
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And it is those weather resistant flowers are providing both personal and floral inspiration right now. They aren't always the easiest flowers to arrange into bouquets mind you. Neither is it completley obvious what combination of flowers to choose to buy or to pick from your garden.

So if you'd like to learn how you can create your very own garden gathered wild garden style spring bouquet, I'll be sharing my mechanics and methods soon in my series of "nature and nurture" flower classes, I'll be using only British cut flowers as always. DM for details on how to join me virtually at our 19th century Wharf.
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Our British cut flowers......

.......are a twinkle in my minds eye right now. The tree branches are dancing in the weather out there above our winter canalside cutting garden, all whoosing and wild.
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As the last few days of January end, I am reminded that nothing lasts forever. Not the dark, not the damp, or anything else for that matter.
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We are busy though. Our cutting garden, which inspires our wild garden style, may be resting but we are excited and getting everything ready for the first of our virtual flower classes. Live broadcasted from our 19th century Wharf, we'll be using our British cut flowers to create and craft, to commune and communicate. Always only British cut flowers.
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Our slow flowers are just starting to grow in our cutting garden though and will be here before you know it. DM if you'd like to join us for our spring bouquet class.
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Dried flowers on a damp driech day.....
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I am finding it reassuring that even in the dark depths, there is floral inspiration to be had. Not that any of my British flowers are growing right now you understand, snowdrops being the only notable and prolific exception. Like presents you'd forgotten you had, I am opening boxes of garden gathered flowers, dried and wrapped in newspaper grown over the summer in our canalside cutting garden. Wild garden style wreath making with dry flowers is my floral distraction.
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Even dry flowers have scent. Not in a musty cupboard sort of way but in a comforting herbal way, a calming lavender sort of way. Preserved in those boxes is an echo of the light that was summer, the life that was our seasonal British flowers. Everlasting in their shape, immortal in thier colour, even the movement of those flowers can be seen in a quirky odd shaped stem.
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What's your floral distraction?
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A wreath of dried flowers...
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No words today just a dried flower wreath and love.
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