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Fabulous Festive Florals At Home This Christmas

Stylish tips and advice for festive florals from some of the UK's best floral designers

Filling your home with beautiful, fresh flora and fauna is a treat any time of the year – but at Christmas it’s a must! TOAST chats to some of the UK’s top florists and leading floral designers to get their thoughts on the most stylish festive florals this year, and how to keep them looking fresh and fabulous throughout the season.



Over the festive period most homes turn into the entertaining equivalent of Piccadilly Circus – one day it’s family, the next it’s friends, and then the neighbours pop in unexpectedly for a mince pie and a glass of fizz; it is an undeniably sociable and generally busy time.

And so with all those guests popping round and almost daily celebrations in the run up to the 25th – filling your home with fresh, seasonal flowers is the perfect way to make your home instantly guest-ready, not to be mention beautiful, fragrant and oh-so-festive!

To help you plan what to pot or what to purchase, TOAST has grabbed a glass of mulled wine with some of UK’s leading florists and top floral designers and gleaned their expert tips on which festive florals to fill your home with this year, and how to keep them fresh and looking fabulous for as long as possible. So pick up that poinsettia and grab that garland and don’t forget your Santa’s hat – it’s time to get green-fingered!

INSPIRE ME: FABULOUS FESTIVE FLORALS AT HOME

FILL YOUR HOME

Based in Oxfordshire, Foxgloves and Roses specialise in creating unforgettable wedding flowers and bespoke floral arrangements for couples and venues across Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds & Berkshire. Like us, florist and owner of Foxgloves and Roses, Nicola Roberton is incredibly excited about Christmas and all the floral possibilities that come with it.

“I love to have my home filled with fresh flowers over Christmas!” Nicola exclaims. “My favourites are lots of red anemones – they look so gorgeous crammed into vases on the mantelpiece - and on the hall table white lilies arranged with birch twigs and silver baubles, or maybe red amaryllis with jewel coloured baubles! I also have to have bowls of scented white hyacinth bulbs in as many places as I can cram them!”

Foxgloves And Roses

Nicola’s Top Tips

  • Put Them Outside Over Night:  As fresh flowers and flowering bulbs don’t like central heating, do make a point of putting them outside over night to enjoy the cool air – they will last much longer.

  • Taller is Bigger: For a crammed Christmas table you’re going to want flowers that don’t take up too much space. If I’m feeling elegant I like to use a tall silver-footed bowl and silver candlesticks with coloured tapered candles.

  • The Rustic Solution: My more rustic solution is to take several small aged terracotta pots, stuff them with oasis then top with piles of fresh moss and a simple white candle.  In either case I like to tie a sprig of greenery on to each napkin with ribbon.

Foxgloves And Roses Wreath

Foxgloves And Roses Fireplace

Foxgloves And Roses Christmas Wreath

BEAUTIFUL BULBS

Professional gardener Rachel Siegfried’s idea for a flower farm and floral design studio was germinating long before the start of her thriving business nine years ago. Working in a walled garden growing organic vegetables and cut flowers, Rachel noticed that the abundance of beauty and scent that surrounded her was missing from the commercially grown flowers available on the high street, and so Green & Gorgeous was born. With her partner Ashley Pearson on their flower farm in Oxfordshire they grow a stunning range of flowers for weddings and events, which Rachel arranges in a wildly wonderful garden and hedgerow style.

Green & Gorgeous' business is all about working with the seasons so I will be filling my home with forced flowering bulbs - my two favourites are paperwhites and amaryllis. I also always make a wreath for the front door out of grown and foraged materials from the farm - I start with a willow base covered in moss which I can then add my materials to, these also make beautiful little hanging chandeliers and table centrepieces” explains Rachel.

“Greens are very in this year, as are brown/buff tones. I like to couple these with whites for a very natural, understated style”

Green Gorgeous Wreath

Rachel’s Top Tips

  • Water Well: Water well and mist daily! If you do this then potted plants and bulbs last a lot longer than cut flowers especially, if they are kept away from heat sources.

  • Decorate The Base: I like to use footed bowls potted up with my favourite winter flowering plants and bulbs, framed by lots of candles and evergreen foliage.

GG Florals

Green And Gorgeous Florals

Green And Gorgeous Wild

Green And Gorgeous Wreath Wide

FORGET THE FUSS

Based in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, Aesme was founded in 2015 by sisters Alex and Jessica who deliver beautiful flowers to homes and businesses in London, create arrangements for weddings, events and special projects across the UK, and teach floral design classes throughout the year at their studio. Aesme's work is informed by the seasons, and inspired by the history of the English garden.

“Christmas is all about filling your home with mocca amaryllis, cinnamon poinsettia, ranunculus and cyclamen!” explains Alex. “Colour-wise we're drawn to pale, wintry shades this year - ice white, soft taupes, washed out shades of red and sage-green foliage”

Aesme Floral

Alex’s Top Tips

  • Change The Water And Cut The Stems: For fresh flowers change their water daily and re-cut the stems at a diagonal angle to allow for maximum water absorption.

  • Misting Is Important: Fresh garlands and wreaths should be misted with water using a spritzer to keep them from drying out.

  • Fill Your Bowls: On the table we love low antique bowls or tureens of flowering bulbs such as fragrant paperwhite narcissus bedded in with fragrant moss.

  • Candlelight Is Key: And lots of candlelight! Unfussy and elegant.

Aesme

Aesme Floral Bouquet

Aesme Rose

Photo Credit Aesme

STYLE IT YOUR WAY

Working throughout the West Midlands, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, Tuck Shop Flowers is run by expert florist Carole who specialises in flowers ‘with perfume and personality’. Carole, who reached the finals of BBC Gardeners’ World Gardener of the Year, grows and arranges flowers for a selection of special events and her home - a former sweet shop - inspired the name of the business and is and a nectar-rich cutting patch and a haven for Birmingham’s bees and butterflies.

“I don’t believe in being prescriptive - you should do the thing that reflects you best and fits your style, especially at Christmas!” Tuckshop Flowers' Carole enthuses.

“My house will be decorated with seasonal and British grown blooms and lots of foliage and texture - scented narcissi, frilly ruffled ranunculus, the odd determined garden rose, viburnum blossom, ivy berries and foliage, jasmine trails eucalyptus, pine cones, dried honesty, hazel catkins, foraged berries” she adds.

“Green has been the ‘in’ thing in 2017, and that trend seems to be continuing with lots of lovely textural foliage arrangements with minimal flowers - perfect for celebrating the best of our winter gardens and the many shades and textures of natural foliage. Also the on-going popularity of metallics is great for a bit of Christmas glitz - silver or gold combined with rich blues, rose gold combined with blush pinks, classic silver and white. And of course the time-honoured combination of reds or whites with green”.

Tuck Shop Flowers Place Setting

Carole’s Top Tips

  • No Heat: Keep arrangements away from direct heat sources (i.e. not over a mantelpiece if the fire is going to be in use, or near a radiator).

  • Put All Flowers Outside Over Night: As often as you can remember or have room for, move flowers to a cool porch or frost-free garage for an overnight drink of fresh water and a bit of recovery time.

  • Turn Down Radiators: Turn down the radiator in rooms with flowers when not in use - cuts your energy use and bills as well!

  • Keep Checking Water Levels: Check water levels in vases regularly and keep topped up - the flowers will love it if you change their water regularly as it keeps bacteria levels down and helps them to last longer.

  • Cut The Stems Regularly: Recut the ends of stems in vases to allow them to take up as much water as possible.

  • Replenish Wreaths With Water: Remember to check if wreath bases are still moist - dunk oasis or moss bases into a tray of water to replenish their water supply

  • Table Arrangements To Be Compact or Above Eye Level: On the table keep flowers either compact and low or raise them above eye level of seated guests – you don’t want them getting in the way of conversation and forming a wall.

Place Setting Tuck Shop

Foliage Tuck Shop Flowers

Tuck Shop Flowers Table Sprigs

Tuck Shop Flowers Winter Table

Tuck Shop Wreath

KEEP IT NATURAL

Based in Norfolk, Jo Flowers provide beautiful, naturally wild wedding flowers, bridal bouquets and arrangements for rustic, vintage, boho and country weddings and events across East Anglia, London and beyond. Full of romance, ethereal beauty and reverence to the classic and the contemporary, Jo works with nature and natural forms to create stylish, timeless arrangements, and Christmas is no different.

“Fill your homes with delicate natural pickings gathered from the garden or countryside, ingredients such as dried honesty, Queen Anne's lace and grasses add soft and structural forms – you can use single stem vases to display these” suggests Jo.

“Also cutting spring flowering branches such as magnolia and displaying inside for early flowering is a great alternative to buying out of season flowers. Where greenery is required, use evergreens such as spruce, cedar, pine and cypress to add a winter seasonal scent to the home, and for flowers add paperwhites (Narcissus), hyacinths and hippeastrum to the mix!”

Jo Flowers

Jo’s Top Tips

  • Keep It Simple: Keep it simple and natural with whites and blue, or green foliage with a mix of rusty brown Heuchera leaves.

  • Install As Late As Possible: Install flowers and foliages into a warm room as late as possible before Christmas Day to increase longevity across the festive period.

  • Check The Water: Keep water fresh and topped up!

  • Keep Your Centrepiece Low: Keep your table centrepiece not too large or tall, using low bowls for displaying your flowers 

  • Keep Them Well Balanced: Make sure they are balanced well - potting up some small pots of hyacinth bulbs make nice as place settings too. 

Jo Flowers

Jo Flowers Arrangements

Jo Flowers Floral Displays

Jo Flowers Florals Table Setting

Jo Flowers Florals

Jo Flowers Greenery

Jo Flowers Wreath

POINSETTIA POWER

Super stylish florist to the stars Larry Walshe is no stranger to creating stunning floral designs whatever the season, but his Christmassy creations are unsurprisingly gorgeous. Each of his luxurious outdoor wreaths (considered the best by the Evening Standard, Stylist Magazine and The Independent) are lovingly handcrafted in the Larry’s London studios, packaged in their stylish signature white boxes and sent via next day courier, nationwide. Aside from the gorgeous wreaths, another Christmas staple close to Larry’s heart and one that he highly recommends we all embrace this year too is the traditional, cheerful poinsettia.                                 

 “Whenever I think of Christmas the first flower that comes to mind is poinsettia.  It is so fabulously seasonal that one simply must take advantage of this!  It comes in a range of colours so you don’t have to go traditional unless you wish to. Using it as a plant or as a cut flower (which many people this isn’t possible, but it really is, I promise!), you can place throughout your home to add an instant “pop” of colour” he explains.

‘When it comes to colours I always feel that Christmas is the perfect time of year to indulge and to decorate for what makes you feel happy. Whether it’s timeless red and green tones, mixed metallics or a crisp white palette, I believe Christmas transcends trends and anything goes!  That being said, this year we are really loving the use of gold with contemporary “pops” of black, mixed metallic schemes and silver, with a light dusting of snow!”.

Larry Walshe Christmas Display

Larry’s Top Tips  

  • Design With Longevity: Design with longevity in mind and consider using beautiful fragrant spruce, which is really long lasting as the base of your designs. Add metallic dyed foliages (which are available from your local florist), branches and baubles and you will have a scheme that lasts longer than cut flowers.

  • The Poinsettia Effect Is Instant: Consider potting a few poinsettia plants into an eclectic array of vases and placing down the centre of your dining table for an instant design.

  • Candles And Tea Lights Add A Warm Glow: Alternatively clustering stem vases each filled with a cut poinsettia flower is also another lovely way to create a more delicate scheme that packs a seriously festive punch.  Adding candles and tea lights at the base of the table will then offer a soft, warm glow.

Larry Of Larry Walshe

Larry Walshe Christmas

Larry Walshe Christmas 2017

Larry Walshe Christmas Display

Larry Walshe Hanging Christmas Florals

LP

Larry Walshe Wreaths

Larry Walshe Christmas Fireplace Kate Nielen Photography

(Image Credit: Kate Nielan Photography)

Larry Walshe Tree Image By Kate Nielen Photography

(Image Credit: Kate Nielan Photography)

And a final point on poinsettia…

Larry Walshe insists that poinsettia really do make great cut flowers, but there is an important trick to preparing them.

“They are not sold as cut flowers, of course, but you can cut the stems and they will last up to 2 weeks in water. Believe me, I’ve tested it a lot this winter!  Out of water they only last around 6 hours before going soft” he explains.

“To prepare the poinsettia you need to snip the stem and dip the stems immediately into hot water at 60˚C for 20 seconds and then into cold water for 10 seconds to seal in the milky euphorbia sap. You can then arrange them in wet oasis or ideally in fresh, cold water and they will last brilliantly"

Larry Walshe LP



Don’t forget to tag @ToastLifeUK in all your festive florals – we would love to see your creations! 

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