Many look on British flowers as the poor cousins to the Dutchman but I beg to differ. I know rightly you could consider me biased. After all I grow my own flowers and foliage and seek out others who do the same. From my own experience of growing, I have nothing but the greatest admiration for everyone who grows. But here’s the thing. If you seeking to connect your special event with the countryside and season in which it is being held, then nothing will achieve that quite like a design inspired by the flora that surrounds you and is uniquely local.
It is the seasonal moment that most influences me and most inspires my designs. Of course what I choose to grow in my canal side garden has an impact on the style and content of my floral designs. What I have found though is even if you have a few blooms in mind, you end up being led by what captures your eye. In that fleeting moment is a mood and a glimpse of the season that is just waiting to be gathered.
I spy stems of delicate flowering heuchera swaying in the wind alongside white scabious still unabated by Jack Frost. Bright green ferns and deep red skimmia are resplendent even when I add my favourite bright orange dahlia David Howard to the bucket.
Autumn is about bounty and abundance but it is also about death and decay. To capture that mood, I included quite a lot of dried material. Their faded palette added a dimension to the fresh colours and a texture to the bouquet that shouted autumn. The material doesn’t need to be perfect either. Just like life, there is beauty in imperfection.
Autumn is about bounty and abundance but it is also about death and decay.
To achieve that wild garden style look, I used a chicken wire frame as the base mechanic. It helps to hold the bouquet in an open shape and allows your hand to hold quite a few stems very easily. I also focused on both sides of the bouquet. It is a very Japanese aesthetic that the back must look as good as the front, the hidden as beautiful as the one on display. For a bouquet, it also has the added advantage of no side being the front of the autumnal bridal bouquet. After all, you’re not going to be there to say to your bride, oh no it’s that side! Doing the back also adds fabulous depth to the design.
The following describes the design contribution of each element to the this wild garden style dahlia bouquet:
- David Howard dahlias- beautiful bright and orange, these 3 blooms are the dominant round focal flowers.
- Flowering heuchera stems- towers of tiny fairy bell like flowers that act as both spikes and delicate transitional pieces Green ferns – differing leaf and stem lengths are used to add both texture and a splash of green.
- Orange chrysanthemum – Although a similar orange to the dahlia the smaller round heads add a different floral texture and size
- Red skimmia- often associated with Christmas, the deep red berries add a very autumnal berry like element
- Viburnum – small fragrant flowers from a traditional autumnal shrub
- Scabious – their pretty floral heads add a soft shape bringing both transition and movement, vital when using the stiffer stems of dried material. The white colour builds the “bridal” feel of the bouquet.
- Dried elements provide the crucial Autumnal link for the bouquet. Elements added include whole dried sunflower heads, white and orange helichrysum, the amazing textural stems of flowering hosta, lime green hops, white spikes of larkspur and a single stem of tulip seed head
I will leave you with one final thought. There is nothing quite like stepping outside first thing in the morning, snips in one hand and a bucket of water in the other, to cut a bouquet from the blooms grown in my canal side cutting garden. The mood that I feel in that moment of deciding what to cut, and with the person in mind I am designing for is what makes my wild garden style designs utterly unique.
Wild garden style design is about designing bouquets with flowers that reflect each moment of the season. They speak to a moment in the season. Their appearance make us reflective of seasons past, so rooted are they in their timeliness.
If you’d like to see a short video showing this autumnal bridal bouquet in more detail, follow this link to my Instagram account.
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