Create a regal autumnal bouquet

All the plants needed to create a bouquet for autumn, with advice from a former royal florist

Autumn display
The Malvern Autumn Show celebrated the turn of the seasons, and featured plants, fabulous food and talks from a variety of experts, including a former royal florist. 

Sarah Champier, founder of the Cotswold Flower Company and previously a personal florist to the Prince of Wales, disccussed designs for a British floral couture wedding collection at her talk at Malvern in 2018. Ahead of the show, Sarah selected her favourite plants to create a bouquet that brings the vibrant colours and textures of the autumn indoors. 

“Fallen fruits and seed heads abound and as a hunter-gatherer, I’m always collecting and recycling beautiful pods and faded foliage for my arrangements,” said Sarah.

“My British flower and foliage choices for a seasonal autumnal bouquet bring a lovely eclectic mix of colour and texture. For me, similar gatherings of flowers and foliage combined evoke a rich and warm floral feast with a delightful faded informality.”

Read on for Sarah's recommendations of the best plants to create an autumn arrangement. 

Sarah’s picks for an autumn bouquet

Rose hips
Nothing says autumn more than bushes laden with glistening berries, so get foraging. In autumn, wander into woods or find berries in your garden - rose hips and blackberries make perfect additions to a bouquet. The 'Kiftsgate' rose also produces masses of bright orange berries that add the wow factor to any display. 

Once you've found your berries, look for big blousy blooms to give your bouquet some drama. Sarah suggests contrasting different colours of dahlias to make a bold statement - try pairing the dark and daring 'Tamburo' with the warm blush of 'Cafe au lait'.

Daucus carota
Bring delicate detail to your bouquet with Daucus carota. This plant is still flowering strongly into autumn and looks most effective softly threaded throughout your bouquet. Sarah recommends pairing with a head or two of hydrangea flowers that are beginning to fade for a romantic effect. 

David Austin roses such as 'Lichfield Angel' have a subtle blush and will give your bouquet a lovely aroma. Other types, such as 'The Duchess of Cornwall', have a gorgeous scent and are still flowering well. Entwine with any trailing autumnal stems for a rustic look.

A globe artichoke
For something slightly out of the norm, try adding a drying globe artichoke with a few bracken leaves that are turning bronze. These plants will both bring some interesting texture to your bouquet and emphasise its autumnal theme. 

Including Jasmine officinale that's already turning honey and crimson adds seasonal tones and will look most effective if coupled with some wild hops, Humulus lupulus.

A cluster of wild grassesWild grasses are a must for any autumn bouquet and provide some much-needed foliage. Go foraging and see what different textures you can find - not only will the grasses tie in with your bouquet's autumnal tones, but they'll also help to create movement within your display. 

A final sweep of Eucalyptus gunnii with its blue grey leaves will emphasise all of the rich colours in the mix. 

Sarah featured at the Malvern Autumn Show 2018 in the show’s Floral Fiesta Theatre. She presented designs for a British floral couture wedding collection using British flowers and foliage.

What was at Malvern Autumn in 2018

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