Back when I worked for FT Weekend for five years, this time of year always meant Chelsea Flower Show for me. We did a lot of coverage of the show, and even did a special supplement on the event. I did a lot of sourcing images of the show as well as commissioning photographers to shoot at it. But never did I get to make a visit myself. So, unsurprisingly, I was thrilled when I was invited along this year by Marks and Spencer! I was finally getting to see all of those stands and gardens designed by the experts with my own eyes, and indulge in one of my favourite things - photographing flowers.
Marks and Spencer's Spirit of Summer display (pictured above) was absolutely stunning. I spent ages snapping the fountain of blue, purple and green flowers with pops of pink, and the walls laden with vibrant blooms in the colours of summer.
I didn't get as much time at the show as I'd have liked. I had an afternoon ticket, so had to whizz back to collect the little 'un, but after visiting M&S, I had a quick browse of some of the other stands, and was inevitably drawn to peonies and anything a little bit wild. And from my pics above, it's clear my pink obsession continues! While my trip was a bit of whirlwind, there's no doubt that it filled me up with floral inspiration, and coming home, I *needed* to surround myself with blooms in every room!
Filling your home with flowers sounds extravagant, but actually if you are savvy it's quite easy to add a bit of a floral touch to almost every room. The best way I find to do this is to mix and match a couple of bouquets, and you can even add in a few of the cheaper little bunches such as gypsophila and alstroemeria. Splitting up a larger bouquet into lots of smaller vessels, rather than just putting it all in to one big vase, gives the chance to spread the floral love around your space...
Gathering a range of vessels in different shapes and sizes will help to determine the size of the posies you create, so some will need a good bunch to fill it, while others, like little vintage bottles, look great with just one or two stems....
I am by no means a good flower arranger, but I really enjoy playing with flowers in this way, and the more you do it, the better you'll get. The above arrangement was the first time I've ever tried using wet foam bricks. The vintage bowl I've used wouldn't hold flowers in the usual way, so adding a small piece of florist foam to slide the stems into worked perfectly.
This little desk vase above is mostly just gypsophila and alstroemeria, with some added foliage from a larger bouquet and a single peony, which, when it blooms, will really fill out the arrangement.
Any left over foliage and flowers can be popped in a vase together, and makes a lovely wild, yet summery display. You can even bulk out your arrangements with foliage from the garden or hedgerows, and simply buy one bouquet to split. You home will be flower filled in no time!
Thank you to Marks and Spencer for fulfilling my dream of visiting Chelsea Flower Show (!) and for sponsoring this post.