Thursday, 30 October 2014

How To...Use Your Leftover Pumpkins!

Today we attended our very first networking event, where we had the pleasure of meeting some really great people. Even better, we were asked to bring or talk about something Halloween related (it being that time and all). Of course we turned to the humble pumpkin to inspire some fright night florals. Prolific right now, here's how to use any leftover hollowed pumpkins and turn them into a neat Halloween or Bonfire Night centre piece. Simple as pie...

You will need:
  • Oasis (floral foam)
  • A pumpkin (hollowed and tops off)
  • Some flowers and foliage of choice, sturdy stems suit Oasis best, in general
  • Scissors (florist's preferably)

 First, soak your oasis by popping it into a sink full of water. Let it sink on its own, that's it soaking all the water up - be patient, do not push it under the water or it won't soak properly.
Pop some cellophane into the bottom of your pumpkin, you can use the cellophane your flowers are wrapped in, or just a bit of sandwich bag will do.
Cut your Oasis to size, so it fits in the pumpkin but pops out by an inch, so you can fill it with flowers all the way around. 

Cut your stems to the correct height as you go, remember you can cut stems shorter but can't add any height so be cautious. Also, remember you're aiming for a good shape all around - nice and full.

Start building your shape with foliage, it works best to get going with foliage and then add in your flowers later, once you've got a nice idea of your size. Remember to cut all your stems on a slant, and remove any leaves that might go into the Oasis - just nice clean stems go in to drink.

Keep adding, building your shape and turning as you go. Look from above and the sides to make sure you hide all that nasty green Oasis too! 

Your finished product will look fit to burst and good enough to eat. We chose flowers with an Autumnal but bright colour scheme; hydrangea, freesia and alstromeria. 

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Grow Together, Be Together

This weekend was wedding free.  At a complete loss to know what to do with this rare Saturday off, I decided to spend it in the garden.  Not my garden though.  Whilst we dream big about this communal space round the back of our flat, it may take some time to amp ourselves up to tackle the waste land of plastic bags, cider tins and hypodermic needles...

Instead we popped down to the Community Gardening Session at Flanders Fields in East Ham. Grow Together, Be Together is a food project run by Bonny Downs Community Association where volunteers grow organic produce for the benefit of the community.  The garden is a classroom and the food supplies the community cafe and food bank.

The video of last year's launch gives you an idea of what's going on down there;

We were shown around by the other volunteers - the office and brew making station fashioned from shipping containers left on site by previous tenants, the long drop compost loo, the hand built polytunnel, the raised beds for those less able to work on ground level, multi-use planters crafted from scaffolding boards and scrap wood, and (best of all) an outdoor PIZZA OVEN.

We spent the session pruning the tomato plants which had been hit by a nasty case of Blight (an airborne infection which led to the Irish Potato Famine i.e serious stuff) and we were rewarded with an invitation to help ourselves to all the red spinach and sea beet we fancied.  Delicious in lentil soup.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

We're Feeling It

A few weeks ago we had the absolute pleasure of providing the flowers for Ellen and Jamie's London Wedding.  

The ceremony took place at St. John's, Deptford - a real community church, just opposite the excellent Brockley Market.

The morning of the wedding was eventful... It was the new Vicar's first since moving to the parish and in true Rowan Atkinson 'Four Weddings' style, the lock to the main entrance failed about 2 hours before the ceremony.  Hilarity and panic ensued but thankfully (with a bit of force) all was sorted in the knick of time.  Time enough, in fact, for a delicious avocado sarnie and proper coffee from across the road.

Dinner, teary speeches and dancing on chairs to a bit of UK garage got underway at The Rosendale pub in the evening.  We’re proud to note that the bridesmaid's gypsophila headdresses made it thorough the evening and the numerous rounds of 'how many people can we squeeze into the photobooth'!

Unbelievably, three days after the wedding, like an absolute trooper, Ellen (as Only Girl) launched her single "Feel it'. Check out the video below or find out more here - it's certainly had us waving our stems in the air for the last few weeks...

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Wild Bunch Workshop

A common complaint we often hear (particularly around North / East London) is that on a Sunday afternoon, you flower enthusiasts come home from Columbia Road Flower Market with an excellent haul, only to be stumped... What to do with these beaut blooms? How to prepare and arrange them?

With this is mind, we hosted The Wild Bunch Workshop at the lovely Stories bar in Broadway Market, as part of their Harvest Festival season.  We supplied a ton of autumnal stems: attention-seeking orange Dahlias, burnt red Freesias with their delicious scent, green-grey Eucalyptus, russet coloured English Hydrangeas, fluffy Astilbe, buddy Rose hip and bonfire-hued Skimmia.

We showed our work-shoppers how condition their straight-from-market stems to improve their lifespan, how to spiral a hand tie, how to cut their creations down to fit any vessel, and how to aqua-pack and wrap their bouquets to give as gifts.

Everyone was dead pleased, and we were dead impressed, with what they'd achieved.  They all ordered dinner and drinks to celebrate and stayed to chat, making new friends.  (Apart from Jess & Charlie who had to cry off as the flower market called early the next morning.  Thems the breaks, eh?)  Thanks gals, we had an absolute riot!

Also, thanks to Lydia for the phone-tos (particularly the one what she left her ketchup in...)