Create a modern, multi-vase flower arrangement with tips from Anna Potter of Sheffield-based flower shop Swallows & Damsons; taken from her new book, The Flower Fix
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIA HOBSON
Use collected vases and stems to tell a story inspired by wonder and mystery in an everyday home setting. Imagination is infectious. That’s how it feels in this colour-filled family home – the objects, tones, shapes and light cultivate it, stir it up and provide a space where anything is possible. As Tove Jansson says in Moominsummer Madness, “There’s no need to imagine that you’re a wondrous beauty, because that’s what you are.”
To capture this atmosphere of imagination and magic, I decided to use a collection of stems and vessels to create a full, impactful arrangement. The final design is very much greater than the sum of its parts. Like a chapter in a book, each vessel is wonderful on its own but, together, they tell a magical tale of far-flung places and secret gardens. Light, bright and playful mixed with dark and mysterious.
The flowers and vessels mirror the dominant colours of the room, yellows and rust, whites, blues and almost black. Warm, spring-garden blooms on the brink of summer jostle with unexpected flowers from houseplants: the great outdoors meets the indoors working together to conjure up a wild narrative to spark the imagination. Weave your own story when recreating this design, by incorporating small objects from your home to complete the scene. Working creatively with nature brings out the storyteller in us all.
YOU WILL NEED
- Selection of vessels in a range of sizes x 15
- Strong scissors or secateurs
- Prunus blossom x 5 branches
- Foxtail lily x 4 stems
- Fritillaria persica x 3 stems
- Rose x 6 stems
- Anemone x 7 stems
- Icelandic poppy x 6 stems
- Anthurium x 6 stems
- Hellebore x 5 stems
- Daffodil x 9 stems
- Eucalyptus x 7 stems
- Privet berries x 5 stems
1. Having gathered your eclectic selection of bottles, vases and pots, order them in your chosen location, to make sure you have the right quantity to fit snugly, but not too closely that you can’t see the interesting mix of vessels. I arranged my collection on a mantelpiece. Position the taller vases towards the back and the smaller, shorter ones at the front.
2. Place the blossom branches first, using their long sprawling stems to form the highest points of the arrangement. Next, decide where to place the long-stemmed blooms: the cone-shaped foxtail lily and the dark, dramatic Fritillaria persica with its curves and bends. The foxtail lily gives perpendicular, architectural lines, while the fritillaria dances between them.
3. Use the roses, anemones and poppies to fill the design mid-height, again working with the tallest stems first. The straight, sturdy rose stems play off the wiggly Icelandic poppies and anemones beautifully. Now add the anthuriums, lower down and stretching into spaces where the light hits their glossy heads and, although they are dark, they quietly shine.
4. Finally, dot the hellebores, daffodils and privet berries – staples of the winter garden – among the lower vessels at the front of the mantelpiece. Drape the last few stems without a vase on the surface of the mantel. Intersperse small objects, figures or curiosities from around the house amongst the vessels as part of the story.
Extract taken from The Flower Fix by Anna Potter, published by White Lion Publishing, £20. Photography by India Hobson.