The Pinterest Effect

If you haven’t yet heard about Pinterest, the best way to describe it is as an Alice in Wonderland style rabbit hole full of inpiring recipes, quotes, wedding ideas, memes... the list goes on. It is a virtual pin board of all your favourite things from all around the internet. 

I love Pinterest for it’s seemingly never ending supply of inspiration & pretty pictures - I used it pretty much exclusively to plan my own wedding 6 years ago and still use it for ideas for kids birthdays & shop decorating.  

As good as it may be, it has it’s downsides, especially for people working in the creative industry - aka florists, cake makers & photographers.  

It all comes down to expections vs reality. I’m sure you’ve all seen enough DIY ‘Pinterest Fails’ memes to know what I mean, however sometimes the expectation does not match what is realistic - be it due to budget, seasonal availability, location etc. 

 Inspiration image via Pinterest  

Inspiration image via Pinterest  

 True to colour interpretation  

True to colour interpretation  

When you approach someone in the creative industry and say ‘I want an EXACT replica of this bouquet/cake/photo’ - the truth is, it’s not going to happen. I’ll use floristry as the main example here - every single florist is different. We have different styles, experience, ways of doing things - which will in turn determine the price & overall look & feel of the final product. You could put 10 florists in a room, give them a bucket full of the exact flowers, and every single one will produce something different - it’s just the way it is!  

I always say to customers that I will use their Pinterest photo as inspiration however it won’t look exactly the same. Most people are more than happy with this - they trust in what I do. But there are some who don’t understand why I can’t make a lush peony bouquet in the middle of Autumn, or put dahlias on their cake in Winter - ‘but it’s on Pinterest under ‘winter weddings’ so make it happen!’ 

Firstly, don’t believe everything on the internet. It’s likely someone pinned the dahlias under ‘winter wedding inspo’ without knowing that they’re not available then - thus creating confusion elsewhere in the world. We will always suggest alternatives. Also, there are some flowers used in overseas designers work that just aren’t available in Australia at all - commercially or not. Again, we will suggest alternatives.

Another issue with the beautiful professional photos on Pinterest is that more often than not, they’re heavily photoshopped and the colours displayed are not true to life. I’ve seen many professional photos of my own work come back, only to see that the deep reds are now hot pink or the beautiful peach tones are washed out to an orangey-grey. It’s disheartening when we spend so much time colour matching but it’s just how it is - often the photos can’t be replicated exactly because those colours aren’t actually real!  

 Unedited image of bouquet showing true to life colours

Unedited image of bouquet showing true to life colours

 Photographers photo - absolutely beautiful, but does not show colours as they are

Photographers photo - absolutely beautiful, but does not show colours as they are

Then comes the issue of the Pinterest ‘dream wedding’ of champagne tastes, but on a beer budget. Large hanging installations, huge balls of fresh flowers on top of tall stands, an archway covered in blooms, huge floral letters... these things cost money. Flowers are not cheap, and neither is our time in designing, sourcing the flowers, prepping, arranging, installing, perfecting and then packing it all down the next day. Often we may need to make special stands, boards, frames or trellises to be able to support the flowers. To turn around and say ‘oh no, you’re far too expensive’ is not only offensive to us personally, it’s quite ignorant. Just imagine if your boss said ‘I think your wages are too high, I’m going to pay you $10 an hour instead of $30 because I believe thats all you’re worth’. 

 Image via Pinterest - it may be ‘just greenery’, but foliage is quite expensive and an arrangement like this is labour intensive - expect to spend a minimum of $300 on something of this size

Image via Pinterest - it may be ‘just greenery’, but foliage is quite expensive and an arrangement like this is labour intensive - expect to spend a minimum of $300 on something of this size

By all means, use Pinterest as inspiration. It’s a valuable source! However, be realistic. Understand that the vendors you approach are professionals  and know what they’re doing - trust that they will do the absolute best they can. There is no such thing as a ‘wedding tax’ - not from reputable vendors anyway. The reason your wedding flowers cost more than an everyday bunch of flowers is due to the sometimes extreme amount of hours put in behind the scenes sourcing & creating your perfect florals - I’ve often worked 18+ hour days in the middle of wedding season! Also the quality of wedding flowers is higher than a ‘normal’ bunch - I personally only use one main Australian rose company for wedding roses - these come at a higher price which isn’t sustainable in day to day work. 

I hope this helps shed some light on us creative people’s side of the picture, and spread a little understanding! 

Rhi x

 

When in Doubt, Wear Red.

Or if it’s really not your colour, red flowers are the next best thing.

I’ll admit it took me a long time to come around to the idea of using red flowers, as strange as that sounds. Like, a really long time. I felt much more comfortable with pastels and bright mixes and red tones very rarely, if at all, made it on to my market trolley. Which is weird considering it’s my favourite colour!

    Photo by  Jess Nicholls

As trends shift & change I found myself buying more of these beautiful tones, and in turn using them more in wedding designs & my daily work. Now, it’s rare for a bride to ask for pastels! This is a trend that I am absolutely loving - deep, bold berry tones, striking reds & wine coloured blooms that bring a whole new wow factor to arrangements.

Here is a little round up of my favourite work featuring these beautiful colours.

 Photo by  Keeper Creative
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 Photo by  Chrisp Pictures
 Photo by  Jana Woodhouse  

Photo by Jana Woodhouse 

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 Photo by  Danae Studios

Photo by Danae Studios

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What is your favourite flower colour & why? Leave a comment below for your chance to win a $10 FbR voucher! 

Rhi x 

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The Art of Drying.

Dried flowers - does the thought evoke memories of Aunty Mavis’ pot pourri, dried, framed wedding bouquets, or maybe just an old arrangement you received that you never got around to chucking out?  

Dried flowers certainly don’t scream ‘beauty!’ But I’ve seen a recent trend developing around the world that is bringing dried flowers back from 1992 into the spotlight now in a very beautiful way.  

 How To Air Dry Flowers

1. Strip excess foliage from flowers and cut stems to desired length (no shorter than six inches). To help flowers retain their color during the drying process, make sure to remove them from sunlight as soon as they’re cut. Hang flowers individually or rubber-band stems together to hang a bouquet.

2. Find a dark, dry area with good circulation, such as an attic or unused closet. With unflavored dental floss, secure the bottom of the flowers’ stems to a hanger so that they hang upside down to dry. Leave flowers for two to three weeks until completely dry.

3. Remove flowers from hangers and spray with unscented hairspray for protection.

 Stunning dried hanging installation by Wona Bae (@looseleaf)  Bouquets by Flowers by Rhi

Stunning dried hanging installation by Wona Bae (@looseleaf)  Bouquets by Flowers by Rhi

How To Microwave Flowers Dry

This method of flower-drying requires silica gel, which you can find in craft stores. The gel preserves the shape of the flowers, and can be used over and over again.

1. Find a microwave-safe container that will hold your flowers and fit into the microwave. (Do not use a dish you want to use for food again after this project.)

2. Cover the bottom of the container with an inch or two of silica gel, a bit more for larger blossoms. Place flowers blossom-up in the gel and then pour more gel over the petals. Pour gently so that petals don’t get flattened.

3. Place the uncovered container in the microwave. Microwave temperature and time will vary according to the type of flower, so this step requires a bit of trial and error. Start the microwave on one or two heat levels above defrost for 2-5 minutes. (Roses can withstand more heat, while daisies prefer lower temperatures.) Check your flower’s progress after a short time and then periodically. Increase heat and time as needed.

3. Once flowers are dry, open the microwave and immediately cover the container. Remove the covered container from the microwave, open the top a quarter of a centimeter, and let it sit for 24 hours.

4. Clean the gel from the petals with a fine brush and then mist with an acrylic spray (also available at craft stores).

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| special thanks to Alex from Flora & Forest for inspiring this post - Alex is a friend & fellow flower-school graduate working her magic across the ditch in NZ | 

Real Wedding | Caitlin & Meleah, 1st April 2017

‘The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul, that makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts & brings peace to our minds’ - The Notebook

Caitlin & Meleah’s wedding was one of the very rare ones that I didn’t meet the brides beforehand, and one where I knew straight away that I absolutely wanted to create for. Caitlin put 100% of her trust in me and let me have complete creative control, which of course I just love and admire anyone for. 

Caitlin & Meleah married on the 1st April at Bonnie Brae in Flynn, a picturesque barn on acres of beautiful farmland in the heart of Gippsland.  

Here is their story -   

How did you & Meleah meet?  

Some years ago on the track at Stadium 34, when I joined the local roller derby club – Meleah quietly and modestly (literally) skated rings around the rest of us. I was in total awe from the beginning.

It was years later that we formed an inseparable friendship and life changingly fell in love.

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How did the proposal happen?  

We had picked rings pretty early on when popping in to visit our dear friend Harmonie at her jewellery store in Moe. We both remember that day, it was just no big thing – we saw each others ring and that was that. We decided to do a layby kind of arrangement and see where we were by the time we paid them off together.

By the time that day came, we were both impatient to surprise the other first.

I proposed first – on a team roller derby trip to Daylesford – orchestrating both of our families from all over Victoria and Gippsland, sneaking them in around Meleah, and ultimately interrupting mid- game to drop to one knee to propose to Meleah in front of our team mates, family and beloved roller derby community. Meleah took less than 24 hours of arriving home to propose to me so perfectly, at home with our animals, just us – just totally the moment every girl hopes for.

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What is your favourite memory of the day?  

We each entered at the same time from opposing sides of the stunning Bonnie Brae Barn. It felt like we had been holding our breath until that moment. Seeing Meleah come around that corner just stunned me and I felt an immense calm knowing I’d be by her side in a matter of moments. My knees buckled underneath me I was overwhelmed at how beautiful she was, and how happy I was to be there in that moment with her. It was like a rush of relief and total certainty, like ‘there she is’ and that was right where we were meant to be. I will never forget that moment. 

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What advice or wise words do you have for other newlyweds-to-be?   

The best thing we were ever told was to write a list early on, be ruthless in preserving a day that is about your relationship, not everyone elses. This was really freeing – we had a smaller wedding, but truly only invited people who KNEW us, and contributed to our lives in a regular and meaningful way. We never worries about those courtesy invitations – the people you think you ‘should’ invite and it was just so totally wonderful. Doing this also meant we could have everything we wanted without regard for anyone else’s opinions, and ended up with our perfect day – not something we think can honestly be achieved very easily for most newly weds. Be selfish. Have the food you want, the photographer, the dress, the flowers, venue and people you want. Our day was full of rich memories and total joy because we didn’t get lost in formality or rushing around to please anybody else. We really hope others take the time to ask yourself who you’re doing it for because that gave us the best day of our lives. 

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All photos by the beautifully talented Hailey of One Spoon Two Spoon. 

Hailey is quickly making a name for herself as a wedding photographer who specialises in a candid, natural style that captures the essence, joy and love of telling your love story.  See some more of her work here

Summer Lovin’

Summer - beach, icecream, sunshine, barbeques, late nights, cold ciders and beautiful blooms. 

Here are my top 5 summer flowers which you will see in my arrangements throughout the next few months:  

Hydrangea.  

Beautiful big tufts of tiny colourful flowers found in most established gardens - no doubt your grandma grew these at some point! Hydrangea grows in large bushes and the colour of the blooms depends on the pH levels in the soil in which it grows. Hydrangea naturally grows in white, pink, purple & blue tones. 

Once cut, hydrangea needs plenty of water and can be misted with a spray bottle to keep it firm & fresh - the flowers can absorb water through their heads. Hydrangea also makes a beautiful dried flower if dried when fresh.  

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Kangaroo Paw.  

This beautiful Australian native gets it’s name from the shape of it’s blooms which resemble tiny kangaroo paws (obvs!). Native to the South West of Western Australia & naturally found in reds, pinks, oranges & green, it makes a stunning & long lasting cut flower that looks particularly effective in arrangements.

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Agapanthus.  

Yes, that flower that grows EVERYWHERE! Available in purple & white, agapanthus are one of the most underrated flowers of all time. Their large heads look amazing in floral designs both full of blooms & ‘naked’ - with the blooms stripped off. The individual florets also look lovely in delicate wired work.

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 instagram: @wildmagnoliaflorals

instagram: @wildmagnoliaflorals

Zinnia.   

These bright & happy little blooms are one of my absolute favourites. They are native to the South West USA and are a very popular garden flower throughout the world. Zinnias grow naturally in white, lime, yellow, orange, red, purple, or lilac. It is also claimed that a zinnia flower was the first flower to bloom on the International Space Station outside of the Earths biosphere. 

 instagram: @floretfarmer

instagram: @floretfarmer

Veronica.  

Long slender stalks of veronica look beautiful in all kinds of floral designs, and is one of my most-used when it’s in season!  

It is the largest genus in the plant family with over 500 species and some are used as medicinal teas by the Native Americans. I love the texture veronica provides to floral arrangements and it’s quirky shape that often bends with the light. 

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 Photo by Laugh Out Loud Photography

Photo by Laugh Out Loud Photography

Fancy Foliage

Sure, flowers are amazing, but a good bouquet is made up of so much more than focal flowers. Foliages create a base for our designs and can make or break a design so easily - but it is often overlooked or disregarded completely in ‘traditional’ floristry.

Its refreshing to see a resurgence of cool leaves in modern styles of floristry, and the options are endless - no camellia in sight! 

Copper Beech.  

The dark chocolatey-black leaves of copper beech are absolutely stunning, and their prominent veins create unique textures within an arrangement.  

The Copper Beech tree is native to Europe and can grow to more than 50m in height. 

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Smokebush.  

My #1 favourite foliage of all time! Not only are the burgandy-purple leaves the most perfect colour but the fluffy flower panicles that grow on it are eye-catching and take any arrangement to the next level.

The trees give a long-lasting, smokey haze to branch tips. Their smooth, rounded leaves come in all shades of clear pinkish-bronze, yellow, deep purple, and green. 

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 Bouquet by  @ash_macedo on instagram 

Bouquet by  @ash_macedo on instagram 

Spinning Gum.

A popular foliage that is widely used in both everyday floristry & wedding work. Long stalks full of symmetrical, rounded, sticky leaves are so attractive and not only look fab but smell delicious too! 

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 Bouquet by Flowers by Rhi

Bouquet by Flowers by Rhi

Little Gem Magnolia.

Another popular foliage due to it’s longevity & beautiful deep green leaves with a dusty brown underside.

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 Arrangement by @onerundlerading on instagram 

Arrangement by @onerundlerading on instagram 

Peppercorn.  

I absolutely love the form & texture of peppercorn foliage and use it a lot in whimsical wedding designs. The dark green leaves have a natural cascading effect and when it starts to flower it creates similar fluffy tufts as the smokebush. In summer it produces lovely red pepper berries which add an extra fun element. Whats not to love?  

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Rhi x

To Plant a Seed

Words by Bon - Garden Wizard :)

I am near on bursting with excitement that it's Spring. Now that the frost worry has passed it's time to get your seeds organised and planted.

I love growing fruit and vegetables for my family and have learnt that flowers are the best addition to any garden to help with the following

  • attract bees and beneficial bugs to the garden and repel "bad" bugs
  • they can be edible 
  • most importantly they are a beautiful addition to any garden.


There are many gorgeous flowers to plant now but my favourite five are cornflowers, marigold, cosmos, zinnias and poppies. These five are easy to grow and I guarantee no matter how many you plant, you will wish you planted double the amount.

Cornflowers.

Cornflowers in my opinion are the sprinkles of the garden. Bees are very attracted to purples and blues but cornflowers also come in hot pink, baby pink, white, almost black and mixed colour petals. We are always sprinkling the petals over meals or tucking flowers for decoration behind my daughters ear or in her ponytail and they are a fantastic cut flower. 

Plant: either directly or in punnets
Edible: petals yes!!
Plant: in groups as they help hold each other up and we usually add a few small bamboo stakes for support.

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Marigolds.

Marigolds are the summer superhero. This is the go to flower to plant with tomatoes. Their petals are also fantastic to add to meals. I love adding them to salads for a pop of colour.

Plant: in punnets (my preference)
Edible: petals yes
Plant: with tomatoes and zucchinis

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Zinnias. 

Zinnias are the spunks of the garden who stand proud with their electric colours of red, orange, pinks, purples and lime green

Plant: either directly or in punnets (I plant in punnets because I pop mine in specific parts of my garden)
Edible: petals yes
Plant: anywhere in garden but please note, baby snails love these so I tend to plant away from leafy green veggies

 Image from @junesblooms on instagram

Image from @junesblooms on instagram

Poppies.

Poppies became my first flower love in the veggie patch. I realised the benefits when I found multiple bees on each flower feeding away. There is so many options of colour and height and they easily self seed. The Flanders field and Angels choir mix are stunning tall poppies and the Californian poppies are a brilliant tough shorter variety.

Plant: directly (don't be tempted to buy seedlings as they don't transplant well)
Edible: apparently yes but I'm waiting to try them this season
Plant: I plant in blocks in different spots throughout my patch as I love having plenty for bees but go crazy and throw seeds everywhere and let them randomly pop up in your garden.

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Cosmos.

Cosmos are my swoon flower. I loose hours watching them float in the breeze and I cannot recommend enough planting extra of these as the different shades of pinks and white are a gorgeous cut flower and petals are beautiful on desserts.

Plant: directly
Edible: petals yes
Plant: anywhere in or near veggie patch

My only advice is keep your seeds moist until they sprout, then water normally. I hope these five flowers give you as much joy and happiness as they do to my family and I.

Bon x

Follow Bon's garden adventures on instagram @boninthegarden

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Spring.

Oh, Spring. You wonderful, windy season you. The days start getting longer, the sun starts shining a little bit more, and flowers start blooming like crazy. September & October are also peak birthday months, so what better excuse to spoil a special someone than with some stunning flowers?

What can you expect to find around this time of year? Here is a little compilation of my favourite spring-time blooms: 

Anemone.

These beautiful blooms are very reminiscent of poppies, and they come in such a wide variety of colours making them perfect to add to an arrangement or to use on their own to fill a vase.

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Ranunculus.  

Single or double petalled, either way these little blooms are something else. Rose or peony-like in appearance, they are right at home in any classy arrangement and look perfect in bridal bouquets.  

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Nigella.  

A relatively little-known flower, but very striking & unusual all the same. They add an element of texture & interest to any arrangement they're in. These pretty little blooms come in blue, mauve or white & are also known as 'Love-in-the-Mist'

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Geraldton Wax. 

One of my all time faves, this sweet little flower is so unassuming but so beautiful & effective in all types of arrangements. Native to the WA wildflower region & available in a wide range of striking colours, from creamy white to deep purple. The waxy petals and woody stems make for a long lasting bloom.

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Waratah.

These NSW natives have a very short but oh-so-sweet season and are available in a rich red or creamy white colour. They have a beautiful texture & shape and are a fantastic example of our wonderful Australian natives. 

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Peonies.  

What would a spring-time blog post be without the quintessential spring-time flower? Peonies are at their peak in Australia from late October-late November and are especially favoured by brides who are tying the knot at this time of year. Unfortunately their vase life isn't amazing, but hey, they're here for a good time - not a long time.  

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Real Wedding | Laura & Sacha

Laura and I first crossed paths when I was on the search for good quality, Australian made writing paper. She owns The Thinktree and designs & prints beautiful stationary - perfect for my side obsession with paper.  

Fast forward a couple of years and her cards are a staple in the shop. When Laura approached me to do her wedding flowers, I was thrilled to be able to return the creative favour for her, my way.  

Their wedding at the Melbourne Museum, where the couple had their first date, was nothing short of amazing. Their love for the city was evident in even the smallest details (tables were iconic Melbourne street names instead of numbers) but their love for each other clearly shone through in this romantic, love filled day. 

All photographs by Free The Bird

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How did you and Sacha meet?  

We met through a mutual friend who was also Sacha’s housemate at the time. We first got chatting at a party and developed a good friendship over a few months or so before things got serious.

How did he propose? 

We’d driven up from Melbourne to the Byron Bay Bluesfest for 5 days of camping which is a bit of a tradition for us. Sacha was waiting for the right moment with the ring tucked away in the tent the whole time. It was on the drive home that he suggested a walk along the beach at Newcastle while the sun was setting, when he nervously popped the question and presented the ring. Not long after I said yes, coincidentally a massive cruise ship was departing from the port of Newcastle, blowing its horn and then some cannons were fired up the top of the hill nearby!

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What was your favourite part of planning the big day? 

Probably trying on dresses and designing the stationary! It was also nice planning everything else together and making all the decisions as a team. 

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What is your favourite memory of the day?  

Seeing Sacha’s big beaming smile and just enjoying the moment together while it was just us walking around having photos.

Do you have any advice for future brides?  

My advice would be to take a moment to enjoy it all and plan the wedding together. Add some personal touches that really celebrate you as a couple. 

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Shout out to my 'brother florist' Dahlia Fandango for lending a helping hand on the day x

Winter Wonderland

You've started layering up, have the heater going all day and probably have to throw a bucket of water on your windscreen every morning. Yup, winter is here! 

 Via instagram @jensphotodiary

Via instagram @jensphotodiary

Fresh flowers & winter are not usually something you would think go hand in hand, but this time of year brings out some stunning flowers who just love the cold!

Some beautiful blooms you can expect to see around during the chilly months include:

Hellebores.

 Via instagram @juliapetreski

Via instagram @juliapetreski

Also known as Winter Rose, hellebores are a stunning little bloom perfect to fill a vase or scattered amongst other blooms in a posy. They are a very hardy garden plant but need a bit of extra care as a cut flower.

 

Poppies.

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Ah, poppies. Those beautiful, crepe-papery petals full of vibrant colour and texture. Poppies are a long-standing favourite of mine and its not hard to see why. They are so delicate, yet long lasting, and their crazy bright colours are just so cheery on a bleak winters day. We have poppies in store every day for only $10 a bunch!

 

Kale.

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Yep, the vegetable! Ornamental kale looks particularly striking in any design, are long lasting (3+ weeks!) and are available in purple, white, pinks & green with flat or ruffled leaves. They are not edible (please don't try) and need daily care, unless you want your house to smell like cabbage! By simply changing the water each day you will get the most out of these big, bold beauties. 

 

Hyacinth. 

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Sweetly scented spikes of tiny little blooms, available in an array of vibrant colours. The cut flower is long lasting if kept in a cool place, and the delicate little blooms have the most beautiful scent and look amazing en mass in a vase. 

 

Sweet Peas. 

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Meaning 'delicate pleasures' in the Victorian Language of Flowers, these are truly a delicate little pleasure! Scented paper thin petals on spindly, whimsical tendrilled stems make sweet little posy fillers. Also recently featured in Pippa Middleton's bouquet!

 

Blushing Brides. 

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These tiny little proteas are often overlooked but are always stunning addition to any arrangement. I love them so much I have written a feature on them which you can read here

You can find these blooms plus many more in store and in our posy jars & bespoke bouquets online all throughout the winter months! 

Rhi x