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The North West Area of NAFAS created this patriotic design at Tatton Flower Show.  NAFAS stands for National Association of Flower Arrangers, they earned a Silver-Gilt medal for their display.  The exhibit depicts the royal barge Gloriana in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Parade, with the Houses of Parliament in the background.


The intricate design in royal red and gold features eremurus, delphiniums, roses, carnations, anthuriums, gerberas and hypericum berries.


Hundreds of dried leaves were painstakingly applied to the outside of the barge to create the red paint colour.  Gloriosa, agapanthus and chrysanths are used in this section of the barge.


The Cheshire Area of NAFAS designed a display named ‘to keep thee what thou art, an English home’.  They were awarded Best exhibit in the Floral Design Studio and gained a Gold Medal for their work.


They used mainly white flowers with a touch of green, mixed with lots of earthy brown materials like gnarly branches, vines, pine cones, bark, lichen and dried leaves.  The flowers included calla lilies, roses, carnations, ornithogalum, and gerberas.


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All these displays were housed in the Floral Design Studio at Tatton Flower Show.  The hub for all things floristry related, exhibits, competitions, demonstrations and workshops. Several colleges took part in the first specific College Competition at Tatton which I blogged about on Saturday.  Young florists took part in the WorldSkills competitions, which I’ll feature soon.


The displays above are from local florist The Black Rose, based in Knutsford and Hale.  The Black Rose has exhibited at Tatton for many years and always does a fantastic display.  This year’s designs featured their trademark contemporary style using a white theme.  These fabulous 5ft tall vases hold arrangements of hydrangeas, delphiniums and Singapore orchids.


The stunning floral table runner features roses, hydrangeas, stocks, orchids, and chrysanthemum blooms.  The garlands that trail down the sides of the table are made from Singapore orchids.


Reaseheath College from Nantwich used very vibrant colours in their display. They used cerise, lime, purple and orange set against black display stands.  They cleverly filled storage units from a well-known Swedish furniture shop with flowers too.


This circular design features gloriosa, roses, orchids, chrysanths, carnations and anthuriums, with loops of flexi grass.


Manchester based florist Verdure produced an impressive display based on Plato’s Atlantis.  The huge wave was constructed out of willow branches and adorned with fresh flowers.  They used hydrangeas, delphiniums, vanda orchids, and amaranthus in shades of blues and purples, with white phalaenopsis orchids at the crest of the wave.


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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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I wrote an article earlier in the week about edible flowers and which types are safe to eat.  This article has lots of ideas to make your flowers into tasty creations and how to preserve them for the winter.

Pick your flowers early in the day when they are packed with flavour.  Look for flowers that have just opened and leave any look past their best or dirty.  Only ever eat flowers that you are sure are edible as some are poisonous.  Remove the pollen and stamens from flowers as well as the green parts under the flower.  The white part at the bottom of rose petals is bitter so it should also be cut off.  Anyone with allergies should avoid eating flowers.

One of the easiest things to do with edible flowers is make tea.  Peppermint, lavender or lemon verbena, make a lovely refreshing tea.  Leave one or two sprigs to infuse in a cup of boiling water for about 4 minutes and then remove.  Chamomile tea is known to be calming and may help you sleep better.  Don’t add milk to these drinks, but a touch of honey can be added to sweeten them.


Winter can be an uninspiring time for flowers, but if you plan ahead you can preserve them to use when you wish.  A great way to preserve the flavour and scent of flowers is to put them in oil.  Marjoram, thyme and lavender are great in cooking. Floral oils will keep for up to 6 months.  Ice cubes are another way to preserve flowers, and they look so pretty.  Freeze small flowers or individual petals of larger flowers in ice cube trays.  Roses and scented geraniums work well.  They can be added to drinks for flavour and scent.

Scented sugar is lovely in cakes and meringues.  Mix a couple of cups of rose petals in a food processor with 225g of caster sugar.  Leave the sugar in an airtight container for a week and then sieve the rose petals out.  The sugar can be used to make a subtly flavoured butter cream or added to cakes and meringues.  You could also try making lavender or violet sugar.


Crystallised flowers are lovely decorations for cakes and deserts.  They will last a couple of days if stored in an airtight container.  Use a small brush to paint the flowers with egg white on both sides, and then sprinkle them with caster sugar.  Use small flowers like mini roses or violets, or separate petals from larger flowers.  Spread them out to dry on greaseproof paper, if you have used whole flower heads hang them upside down to dry out. If you’d prefer not use raw egg whites, powdered or pasteurised egg white will work too.

All images are from Kathy Brown her lovely book is available on her website.  It’s full of beautiful photos and scrumptious recipes to make with edible flowers.

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Every little girl dreams of her own fairy tale wedding, wearing the perfect dress and having a magical day with her prince charming.  I’ve got plenty of ideas and inspiration to help you feel like a princess for the day.  Think luxurious fabrics, flowers in soft pastel shades, twinkly fairy lights and diamantes.

Choose an elegant font and timeless style for your invitations, maybe you could theme them around a fairy tale phrase such as  ’happily ever after’ or ‘once upon a time’.  Follow the style of your invites through for your table plan and place names.

There are plenty of princess style wedding dresses to choose from, a princess line or A-line dress is an obvious choice.  It is fitted at the top and hips and flares out towards the hem creating the classic princess look.  Don’t forget a crystal tiara to complete your look.  Your brides maids can wear any colour from the palette you are using for your flowers, blush pink dresses are a pretty colour for this theme. by Jose Villa by Jose Villa

Castles are the ideal venue for a fairy tale theme, if you are lucky enough to live near one.  Any venue with a grand ballroom would also suit this theme; town halls often have large ballrooms with ornate decorations. If you have found your perfect venue but it needs some help with decorating you can set the scene with some clever props.  Event companies can set up wall drapes or star cloth to add a luxurious feel.  Use star cloth behind the top table to make it the focal area of the room; they look magical in the evening.

To arrive in style for your fairy tale day, organise a horse and carriage or Cinderella style carriage. Dress the outside of your venue with a beautiful floral arch in soft romantic or topiary trees with dressed with roses and big organza bows.

Pastel shades are lovely for a fairy tale theme, very pretty and romantic shades like blush pink, soft peach and cream.  Lavish floral arrangements will really complete your fairy tale theme.  As roses are the classic flower of love, they are a must, mixed with other pretty flowers like peonies, bouvardia, cherry blossom and lisianthus.

Bridal bouquets should be large and romantic for this theme, with flowing ivy or fern.  Roses in mixed pastel shades or several shades of pink will give a very pretty effect.  You could give any young brides maids flower wands dressed with satin ribbons.


Garlands are a traditional decoration that will help create a fairy tale look.  Drape them over staircases or along your top table.  For an extra special effect, ask your florist to add battery powered fairy lights to them; they can be switched on in the evening.

For your reception room use large floral arrangements surrounded by candle votives to continue the romantic look.  Candelabras would also fit this theme well with fresh flowers and ivy wound round the arms. To make your top table even more special have it dressed with fabric drapes and ruched along the top edge with muslin or coloured organza.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to turn your wedding day into a magical fairy tale.

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