Grunge Shoot

When a brunch of creatives come together to just create. Simple as that.  Keeping it authentic, showing what we can do.  Jenn Brookes, the photographer and I came together a while back when I did a one-to-one with her to show her how to 'do the flowers' in a simple relaxed way.  Her love is art photography and film, in a digital age, it's refreshing.  I adore these polaroid shots, they have an ethereal feel to them.  Shot in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, my home town, it gives them a real edge too.  Handcrafted Bridalwear by Wilderness Bride.  Shoes by I Am Florence. 

The flowers were all grown by me, and offer a true seasonal snapshot.  The chrysanthemums and dahlias were on top form, the orache just moved over from shocking pink to setting seed, equally beautiful. And malus in the hair crown. Perfectly modelled by the glamorous granny/small child that is Martha

That was the year that was

It's that quiet time of year, the bit between Christmas and New Year, when we all reflect on what we've achieved over the last 12 months.  And a time to start looking forward to all things new and exciting in the coming months.  So I thought I'd kick off this feature with a look back at all the beauty of 2016.  Lets call it a 'best bits'. 

Highlights, so, so many. The chandelier at Upper House, the mammoth 15 metre green wall plus ceiling at Gary Barlow's old house and making my industrial copper arch, a major feat of engineering that seemed to freak out the neighbour who thought I was installing the world's dodgiest bit of plumbing.  One of the best bits of 2016 for me has to be finding the lovely Carol Siddorn. We met via Twitter and mutual friends.  I meet lots of floral friends via social media.  It's not all trolling and nastiness so, if you're new to the floral world, it's a great way to meet like minded peeps.  Don't be shy, the thing with growing and creative jobs is that there's always something new to learn, be curious, ask lots of questions, join in. 

Carol's garden has a stunning array of flowers.  I'm quite fussy. She would disagree. That's because we're on the same page, I genuinely don't think there's anything she grows that I don't like.  Which makes my life so much easier.  The dahlias are something else. Icelandic poppies, ranunculus, anemones, so many varieties of narcissi.  Peonies that don't arrive bullet hard, and Queen of Sweden roses, writing this I'm transported back to warmer days and the scents of summer.  So British flowers are firmly on my agenda this year.

I need balance in this piece, it's all super upbeat! I managed to grow a whole bed of nigella for a wedding, it flowered the week after. Ditto the pale pink cornflowers. The overall winner on the home grown front were the dark claret coloured scabious. Prolific flowerer for months. Definitely on the plan for 2107. And on that note, I need to think about seeds, from here.  Busy times ahead.

Autumnal English Castle Wedding

Late October and I kicked off the autumnal wedding of Gillian and Lee, early one morning through the misty lanes of Cheshire.  Misty and drizzly, but hey it's Autumn what do you expect? I always seem to go to this castle in the dark.  Arriving just before day break.  It's the best time of day. You can unload, check out the venue, listen to the birds, leave the hydrangeas in the drizzle for a bit (they like it, I'm not being particularly mean to them) there's a certain calmness, it's still and beautiful.

And when the temperature dips and the light changes that's the time to bring in the twinkly candlelight.  Gillian comes from an interiors background and had clear vision on what she wanted, without being overly prescriptive.  So giving enough free reign to create something magical. She wanted to bring in the woodland outside, with ferns, pheasant feathers and cones, and liked the unusual markings of the harlequin roses.  The challenge for me is to work out how to achieve a couple's vision within the season, so the peonies didn't make it, blueberry roses and blousy hydrangea replaced them. 

It's always such an emotional moment when the bouquet is handed over.  She fought the tears, but I imagine there would be many more throughout the day.  Weddings, they just get to you.