calla lily

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The Flower Council of Holland launched their My Favourite Flower campaign with the biggest bouquet in Britain.  The enormous bouquet was made at Potters Fields in front of London’s Tower Bridge.  The Flower council tweeted that people could come and take a bunch of their favourite flowers away.

Passers-by were encouraged to give the flowers to give away to loved ones.  As research carried out by the Flower Council revealed that half of British adults have never been given flowers,  64% of men have never received flowers and 31% of women only receive their favourite flowers once a year.

The colossal bouquet stood 6 metres high and 5 metres wide, it took a team of 6 florists, 18 hours to construct.  It contained 12,000 stems of cut flowers, highlighting the UK’s top ten favourite flowers, rose, tulip, lily, orchid, freesia, calla, carnation, sunflower, delphinium and amaryllis.

My Favourite Flower camaign has a rather clever website where you can pick your favourite flowers and have the chance to win a bouquet of them.  It’s presented by more lovely boys like the ones here, who whizz round selecting the flowers you choose.   The campaign has been extended until the end of the month, so you still have some time to take part and win some flowers.


Images: – FlowerCouncil of Holland

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Common name:  calla or arum lily

Botanical Names: zantedeschia

Origin: South Africa

Colours: white to yellow, terracotta, shades of pinks and deep purple.

They are usually referred to as calla or arum lilies, arums are usually hardier and larger varieties. The botanical name is pronounced zanter-DEE-sha.  They were named zanterdeschia in honour of Giovanni Zantedeschi an Italian botanist.

There are eight species including giant white arums and various coloured callas.  They have thick fleshy stems and showy flowers, which are popular as cut flowers.  They grow naturally in marshy areas, in some countries they have naturalized and are regarded as weeds.  All parts of calla plants are poisonous and should not be consumed.

The structural shape of calla lilies makes them very popular as cut flowers and for corporate displays.  They are available in many colours and last about 2 weeks.  Some varieties like green goddess last up to 4 weeks.  Callas are a luxury flower used in premium bouquets and wedding flowers.


Image 2 – Flowercouncil of Holland

Image 3 – Flowercouncil of Holland

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When you arrange to speak to a florist about your wedding flowers, one of the first questions they will ask is ‘what is your wedding flower budget?’ I always supply brides with a price guide and advise them to think about their budget before a flower consultation.  But often brides still say they don’t know what their budget is.  There is no ulterior motive from florists when they ask how much you are thinking of spending, it’s the easiest way to gauge which types of designs and flowers to show you.

As you’ll find with all your wedding supplies, prices vary greatly from hundreds to thousands of pounds.  Flowers are the same, some cost as little as a pound and some cost over ten pounds a stem.  If I have an idea of budget I can suggest suitable flowers and styles to stay within your figure.  The brides that don’t give any idea for their budget are usually the ones who are disappointed when they receive the quote.  As the lovely items they choose at the consultation, are out of their price range.


Don’t worry if you are on a tight budget, it’s far better for a florist to know that at the start.  There are hundreds of flowers to choose from with varying prices.  If you have your heart set on classy elegant designs but have a modest budget, a florist will be able to suggest ingenious ways to achieve your perfect flowers.  In some designs premium flowers can be substituted for cheaper alternatives to achieve a similar effect.  I am honest with brides and always tell them what their budget will realistically allow for.

To work out your budget ask your florist for their price list, and add up the items you think you’d like.  This will be a good guide for you to see roughly how much wedding flowers cost.  If you want only premium flowers, your flowers will probably cost more than the price list suggests, the opposite applies if you are happy to have more inexpensive flowers.  Wedding flowers do cost more than normal flowers, they take much longer to make, they are made by the most experienced florists and have more premium flowers than usual arrangements contain.


You can also find lots of helpful information about wedding flowers on the Flowers & Plant Association website.  They have a price guide for the average costs of wedding bouquets and arrangements, or look on at the flower price list page, which tells you which flowers are reasonable, expensive and premium.

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Would you want to receive this bouquet on the morning of your wedding day? Me neither, but sadly this was someone’s bridal bouquet.  It was brought in by the bride’s sister, in the hope that we could fix it, along with a bride’s maid bouquet (shown below).  A friend of the bride who ‘does flowers’ had made them and the bride was understandably very upset.  Luckily we weren’t snowed under with our own wedding orders that day and had some suitable roses in stock to use.  Sorry about the quality of the photos, as it was a rushed job the photos were taken on a mobile phone.

There wasn’t really any good points about either bouquets, the flowers had had been made with little care or skill.  The white roses in the bride’s bouquet are barely visible in the photo as they were so small, which made the calla lilies look huge and out of proportion.  The limp leaves in the bouquet appeared to be cut off a house plant. The tape on the bouquet’s handle was soggy and hanging off and the leaf that should have covered the handle was not attached at all, double sided tape had been used on the leaf but that was wet too.


The bride’s maid bouquet pictured above was much bigger than the bridal bouquet and a very uneven shape.  The roses were covered in bruised petals from poor handling.  The eucalyptus was too big and the loops of steel grass were sticking out about three inches above the bouquet.  The diamantes pins were either carelessly pushed in at a 45 degree angle or just falling out.  The bouquets were in such a bad state that they had to be completely re-made.

It’s shocking that someone with clearly no professional experience thought they could make bouquets suitable for a real wedding.  The bride’s sister was so grateful we were able to help her at short notice.

The photo below is another wedding with another flower disaster.  The arrangement is very sparse with no foliage apart from some huge pieces of trailing ivy. The dark green area you can see in the middle is floral foam, which should never be visible as it is usually covered by flowers and foliage.


As wedding flowers are made so close to the wedding, you can’t afford to take a risk on someone inexperienced.  A friend or aunty may seem like a cheap option if they dabble in flower arranging, but it may end up costing you more in the long run.  Not only the cost of getting a florist to rescue the flowers but the emotional stress too.

I have dealt with several distraught brides who have been let down by amateurs, days before the wedding.  To avoid a wedding flower disaster, trust a professional florist with your wedding flowers.  They will use their expert skill and knowledge to ensure you get your dream flowers.

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photo: Flowers by Moira

First time Chelsea competitor Jennifer Murphy walked away with a Gold Medal and the coveted title of RHS Chelsea Florist of the year.  Jennifer travelled from Dunshaughlin in Ireland with all the parts of her design to compete at Chelsea.  The brief was to create a chandelier to be hung at the Queen’s Jubilee dinner.  The fabulous design contained 60 mini crown charms each embellished with a tiny button chrysanth to signify the Queen’s 60 year reign.

Jennifer used roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, calla lilies, phalaenopsis orchids, eryngium, and hypericum, all in reds and purples to represent the royal colours.  She made metres and metres of braided and crocheted silver wire and 500 diamante pins to decorate her chandelier. The design featured large rings of test tubes which mirrored the uniformed rows of crystals on chandeliers.  The design was a staggering 1.85 metres in length when complete.  Jennifer said she spent many hours preparing all the wire work for the design at home and then worked all night to finish it in time for judging.  The hard work and preparation was definitely worth it, Jennifer’s design was a worthy winner.


photo: Flowers by Moira

List of Medals for RHS Florist of the Year 2012

Jennifer Murphy, Flowers by Moira

Kate Bainbridge, Simply Flowers
Heather Rogers, Springbank Flowers

Silver-Gilt Grenfell:
Julie Cambridge, Julie Cambridge Floral Design
Amy Ford, Curtis & Ford
Jillian Page, Something Special Flowers

Silver Grenfell:
Lisa Fowler, Eden Taunton Floral Design
Tracey Griffin, Tracey Griffin Flowers
Younghyun Kim, Writtle College
Sherrie Phelps, B1 Blooms

Bronze Grenfell:
Lana Bates, Anastasia Flowers
Amy Curtis, Curtis & Ford
Sachiko Hojo Smale, Bicton College

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