Amaris & Willow

Whimsical Floral Design by Becka Whelan

Christening Blooms

london florist, peonies

This past Sunday I was asked to do the flowers for a baby girl's christening party. I immediately thought of using blowsy pink peonies. It's just coming to the end of peony season in the UK and I wanted to make the most of these gorgeous blooms while they are in peak season.

The christening lunch was in a marquee in a beautiful garden in Oxfordshire, so I created arrangements that were slightly 'English garden' and wild, but still sophisticated, for a (mostly) adult lunch.

london florist, peonies

The peonies were such a dramatic touch to my arrangements and I got many compliments on the style and choice of flowers. I used a purpley/blue daisy, a peach rose and then some white touches to create this design. I wanted to have quite a lot of foliage, but make sure the flowers really stole the show. I was very happy with the end result, and they were perfect for a baby girl's christening.

london florist, peonies

I'm looking forward to creating more summer designs over the next couple of months.



Spotlight on the Peony

It's peony season! A favourite time for many florists. The luscious, blowsy peony is such a statement flower and adds a touch of flair to any arrangement. I love the dramatic nature of the peony, a flower you can't miss; they take the limelight in many floral designs.  Peonies come in a variety of shades, from a very light pink to a dark red. 

The Peony is best known by its scientific name, Paeonia. The Peony takes its name from the mythological Greek character Paeon, who studied with the god of medicine known as Asclepius. Zeus had to transform the student into a beautiful flower when he showed more promise than his teacher and incurred his wrath.

The peony is the official emblem of China and plays an important role in many East Asian cultures, usually associated with honour and royalty in Eastern societies.  The Chinese name for peony translates as 'most beautiful' and it's hard to argue with this translation when you see a peony in full bloom. One of the most popular cities in China to see peonies is Luoyang, which is sometimes referred to as the City of Peony. It houses the National Peony Garden, which has over 100 different kinds of peonies and hosts an annual peony festival.

However, in Western societies the historic connotations of the peony are somewhat different. In one greek myth, the peony is tied to a nymph named Paeonia. Paeonia is beautiful and attracts the attention of Apollo, who begins to flirt with her. When Paeonia realizes that Aphrodite is watching them, she becomes bashful and turns bright red. In anger, Aphrodite transforms the nymph into a red peony. This is how the peony came to symbolize bashfulness. This led to the association of Peonies with shamefulness and bashfulness during the Victorian era.

In the language of flowers the peony is said to represent the following:

  • Honour, especially for people who are bringing honor to their entire family through success
  • Wealth and riches
  • Romance and romantic love, with a particular focus on love between two strangers
  • Beauty in all forms
  • Bashfulness and shame

The meaning of the peony varies little from colour to colour, however ,pink is the most romantic shade and it often a popular choice for wedding bouquets and arrangements.  The rich-red peony is the colour most valued in Chinese society and often represents honour and respect, this shade would make a great gift for someone you admire.

london florist, peony

Alongside being a beautiful bloom the peony also has medicinal properties, mostly used in Eastern medicine.

One particular form of Peony, known as the Paeonia herb, has been a part of Eastern Traditional Medicine for centuries. Itโ€™s considered a purifying herb used against evil spirits. Traditional Medicine doctors also prescribe it for abdominal pain, urination problems, and general sluggishness. Recent scientific testing into the compounds found in the common Peony show great promise in treating mast cell accumulation, severe antibiotic resistant infections, and inflammatory responses with no direct cause. However, these results all came from purified extracts of the plant, so donโ€™t expect the same results if you try ingesting Peony bark on your own. (Source Flower Meaning)

london florist peony

The peony is a positive flower and for me symbolizes prosperity, good fortune and a happy marriage.  The peony is the perfect statement flower for wedding bouquets.



Image 1 (my own) Image 2 (source), Image 3 (source), image 4 (source), image 5 (source) image 6 (source)

A Floral Safari in Chelsea

chelsea in bloom

Last week the streets of Chelsea were invaded by animals of all shapes and sizes, the one thing they all had in common? They all featured flowers. The wonderful Chelsea in Bloom (it happens alongside the Chelsea Flower show each year) chose a 'safari' as this year's theme, and the results were just incredible.

As a florist, it's always exciting and inspiring to see the many different ways that flowers can be used for large scale art installations , not only in arrangements and the results of Chelsea in Bloom were beautiful.

It was unseasonably hot in London last week, so some of the flowers may not have lasted as long as they would have normally, but we still spent a wonderful Friday afternoon wandering from each animal to the next. Here are a few of my favourites :)

floral safari
chelsea in bloom

Time for a spot of tea? These monkeys having a picnic were hidden down a side-street and were so adorable.

floral safari

Happy as a hippo. If you love flowers, but don't want to shell out tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show, then it's worth visiting the Chelsea in Bloom show next year instead, I wonder what magic they will create with next year's theme...

floral safari

Animals and flowers, two of my favourite things, what's not to love?



Final Wedding Project

wedding florist

This week was my final week at the Academy of Flowers, I'm now a fully qualified floral designer.  After beginning the course last January, it feels good to have my certificate and I feel confident that I've found my own style.

This week was my favourite week of all, we had our wedding project, we all had to choose a wedding out of four options (coastal, church, Scottish or London) . I went for the Scottish wedding, the brief described the couple as liking all green foliage, walks, fruit and the wilds of Scotland. I love creating more natural designs, full of greenery so I was very excited to go to the flower market and choose my own flowers and foliage for the project.

wedding florist

My table arrangement was probably my favourite part. I love this container I used and as you can see I went for a wilder, yet structured design. I used cafe au lait roses, red roses and sweet avalanche roses as my focal flowers. I also used sea lavender, berries, thistles & plenty of foliage to add texture and impact to my design. I was very pleased with the final result :)

My bridal bouquet was full of the same beautiful focal roses, the colour combination was just gorgeous, and I had one left over dark-red rose to use in the buttonhole for the groom. 

I also created a thistle and berry flower crown for the bride.  I wanted to keep the crown on the smaller side to keep it more wearable on the wedding day.

wedding florist

My bridesmaid bouquet and flower-crown were for a four-year old so I kept these very light and simple. Using daisies, baby's breath and some love in the mist (nigella).  The end result was charming and sweet- perfect for a child- bridesmaid.

WEDDING florist

So, that's the end of my course blog posts! I really enjoyed the course and I'm looking forward to putting all the skills I've learnt into action and creating more beautiful designs. Summer is approaching and there will be plenty of opportunities to create many magical creations these coming months.



Bridesmaids Bouquet

How pretty is this bouquet?

I'm in love with this beautiful colour combination. This week at the Academy of Flowers we worked on bridesmaids bouquets. We have done a lot of wedding work, but mainly focusing on the bride. It was nice to think about how you would create a complementary bridesmaid bouquet.

florist wedding london

The most important thing to keep in mind is that it should be smaller and less dramatic than the bride's bouquet! No one wants to have a bigger bouquet than the bride herself. The style that I created is a classic, garden style bouquet. The focal flower, is of course, the rose, in different shades of pink and cream. We worked in pairs to create two bouquets that could be used by two bridesmaids. (we kept the bouquets the same size but you can vary them for children).

We chose to use soft shades of roses, adding a few tulips to create a touch of spring. We used sprigs of lemon-balm to create a younger, airy feel and the result is just divine.

The foliage is very minimal in this bouquet but the pink eucalyptus that we added is just perfect with this colour palette. It was such a joy to create this bouquet and I look forward to creating more like this in the future.



*All pictures are mine and taken by me.