Jonathan's spring bouquets
Floral designer Jonathan Moseley, who demonstrated how to make stylish spring arrangements at the show, gives us a few tips...
Jonathan Moseley was at RHS Flower Show Cardiff this year, where he demonstrated his easy-to-follow floristry techniques. Jonathan was one of a team taking part in our Floristry Bench, where our demonstrations gave great ideas on how to make the most of spring flowers in your own home.
As he was planning for his live demonstrations at Cardiff, Jonathan gave us a few tips on how to bring spring indoors with arrangements of seasonal flowers from the garden.
Pink tulips and blue hyacinths
"I love mixing beautiful spring flowers together to create a cheerful display," said Jonathan, "especially when it's really quick and inexpensive to make. For this arrangement, I have used British-grown tulips and hyacinths - although you can also use flowers such as Ranunculus or iris as alternatives."
Take a piece of wire mesh and mould it into a rounded form so that it fits securely into the aperture of the container. Make sure you don't squash the wire mesh as you'll need plenty of space within the wire sections to feed the flower stems through.
Arrange a low bed of foliage into a loose rounded shape to disguise about 75% of the wire, removing any lower leaves that may sit below the water line to inhibit any fungal growth from forming. Jonathan used gorgeous deep-green tree ivy with wonderful rounded berries, but you can use any garden foliage like Pittosporum, Skimmia or Griselinia. If you need to buy foliage from the florist then look out for Eucalyptus, Senecio or broad-leaf Ruscus.
Begin to arrange the flowers. If you are using hyacinths then feed the fleshy stems in carefully so that they don't squash and split onto the wire mesh. Cut the tulip stems on a 45 degree slant and again remove any lower leaves.
Complete the design by adding a few stems of pussy willow. These straight lines provide an interesting contrast to the overall rounded shape of the arrangement, and you could use lime green Cornus, twisted hazel or catkins as an alternative.
"Choose containers that are neutral in colour so that they don't compete against the flowers, and always add flower food to the water - I used a weighty cement bowl with a lovely rough texture for this design."
Daffodils are undisputedly the most emblematic flower of spring. Indoor daffodils are available from December and the season runs right through until late April with Scottish daffodils. Most of us grow these cheerful flowers in our gardens and this Daffodil Tree is extremely quick and very easy to make.
You need about 15 to 20 stems of daffodils, ideally with the flowers open as it does not really work if they are still in tight bud. Begin by arranging the flowers in your hand so that all the heads are sat at the same level and aim to create a rounded shape. When you are happy with the form secure the stems with twine, raffia or paper-covered wire. Don't pull it too tightly as it will lacerate into the fleshy hollow stems.
Place the stems of daffodils into a terracotta pot, galvanised or ceramic container - it needs to be watertight but you can always line it with some plastic. Position the daffodils centrally and secure them in place by packing around the stems with moss or scrunched wire mesh (daffodils generally are not very happy arranged into floral foam). Do remember that all moss growing in the countryside is protected but you can buy velvety-green moss from florists and garden centres.
Complete the design by arranging a few stems of catkins or twisted willow around the base of the pot. Jonathan secured them by feeding them into the clumps of wet moss. To make the design look cheerful and spring-like he added some delicate ribbon to replace the original binding of the daffodil stems. Finally add some water into the pot, this will also hydrate the moss and keep everything perfectly fresh.
Hellebore vintage design
If you are lucky enough to grow lots of gorgeous hellebores then why not gather a few to bring indoors? These porcelain-like flowers look charming arranged in vintage-style pottery. Here, a bed of Cineraria maritima foliage secures the hellebore stems into position.
Pre-treat hellebores by cutting the stems and place immediately into water, next gently score both sides of the fleshy stems with a sharpe knife from base of the stems to the neck of the flower. Place them back into deep water and leave for 12 hours before arranging.
As springtime weaves it magic, the garden becomes an eclectic riot of pretty flowers in pastel colours. It's great fun to mix loads of different flowers together and most of us have earthenware storage jars, or various pieces of kitchen pots we can substitute for a more formal vase. Here, Jonathan created a bed of berried ivy into which he has arranged daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and hellebores. The addition of a few lichen covered twigs always creates that relaxed country feel as we bring the spring garden indoors.
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