New Year, New Flowers

New Year’s Day, full of promise and fresh starts, seems like months ago. The seven-day hiatus from the daily routine ended up feeling like three weeks

Column by Joanna Rhodes, managing director of Hayford & Rhodes

One of our projects over the Christmas and New Year holiday was The Pink House great Hogmanay knees-up. The backdrop of the party – botanical-themed Malin Black wallpaper from Sandberg’s OAS collection – was softened by pale pink accents from Farrow & Ball’s Calamine. We gave the cutlery and vases luxury detail by hand-tying with thick emerald ribbon.

Layering the table design, we used crisp white Eucharis, reminiscent of snowdrops, revitalising and full of promise for a brand new year. Grouping together Daucus, pink Snowberry, plummy Scabius, dried Hydrangeas (a Hayford & Rhodes signature flower) and an abundance of Roses created softer, hazier tones of pink, grey, purple, stone and emerald. Planted cabbages and globe artichokes to added density at the base of the display, and to create a warm glow, we cut out the middle of the artichokes and placed inside a soft green tea-lights. We’re used to designing flowers for events with hundreds of people, so this was a more personal, intimate concept. Emily Murray, the brains behind The Pink House brand was such fun to work with and allowed us so much creative freedom.

We’re creeping closer and closer to Spring, which makes me so happy (54 days until the clocks spring forward!). As a florist, you learn to love all of the seasons, as seasonal flowers and plants return like old friends. I’m not one to wish the seasons away, but I’m now very ready for lighter evenings and the promise of warmth.

There is a special place in my heart for brave late Winter/ early Spring flowers: Snowdrops, Narcissus and Cherry Blossom give me hope during the dreariest of months. When I’m utterly fed up of still needing woolly hats and my winter coat, they seem to be cheering me along, saying, “don’t give up! We’re nearly there!” Our new Spring seasonal bouquets will keep you going until Easter when Spring arrives in all its bountiful glory.

Valentine’s Day has been on our radar since late December, along with wedding trends for 2018. Engagements peak over Christmas and the New Year so we arrived back at work (bleary-eyed and wholly reliant on the office Nespresso machine) on 2nd January to inboxes full of excited, newly engaged couples. We jump from Christmas to Valentine’s Day straight into summer wedding planning with very little downtime in between!

We try to steer away from chintzy romance overload with our Valentine’s bouquet collection. This year, our Valentine’s range is named after women in the arts whom my team and I admire: Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes (no relation!), Frida Kahlo…

Whilst our Mimi Eden bouquet is always popular for Valentine’s Day, our Ruby bouquet chock-a-block with the finest chunky Naomi Red Roses is usually our best seller. This year we’ve also added the Ultra Violet bouquet to pay homage to the 2018 Pantone Colour of the Year.

With our luxurious Botanical Gift range, we’ve diversified our gift range for Valentine’s Day this year. Stuffed with small-batch brewed Warner Edwards gin, heavenly-scented Miller Harris candles and creamy, rich Prestat truffles, it’s the perfect trio of presents all in one. Our partnership with Warner Edwards developed after I was given a bottle of their Rhubarb Gin for my birthday last July. I fell in love with the bottle design and their heritage; their rhubarb gin uses a batch of the plant first grown in Buckingham Palace during the reign of Queen Victoria. We’ve had much fun sampling the other Warner Edwards flavours, for quality control purposes only, of course. We’re not a dry January kind of place, so we see New Year’s resolutions not about deprivation and giving up, but more about adding positivity to our life, and the gin is definitely doing that!

February sees our second foray at the BAFTA Nominees Party, working with creative director Laurent Paoli, event planners Savile Rose, main sponsor Nespresso production firm Ingenious and caterers Bubble. It’s the second consecutive year that we’ve all worked together on this event, so we’re looking forward to another successful event.

The BAFTA Nominees Party will be the second time we’ve worked with Nespresso in 2018: We provided the tropical-inspired living wall for their café at the pop-up interior design concept house, the Houzz of 2018 in Soho. We took our inspiration from the new Origins of Coffee range from Nespresso to bring an earthy, natural feel to the space, and to reflect the botanical origins of the plant. Tropically-grown beans are considered the best for brewing, so much so that the tropics have been nicknamed “the bean belt.”

And if all this has not been enough for us this month, we’re heading to the Royal Society of the Arts for a showcase with 40 industry-leading wedding planners and bloggers. Upstairs at RSA House, a long banqueting table will have a low design of purple Pansies, Strawberry Roan Hellebore with vibrant green, zesty foliage. Inspired by the transition of Winter into Spring, and the delicate simplicity of Pansies, the vibrant little plants will be sat in transparent glass globe vases, submerged in water with exposed roots.

Hellebores, part of the buttercup family, have five-petal pointed star shape that compliments the pansies, and bring a dusky depth to compliment the clarity of the pansies’ bright purple and white. As a favour, guests will receive a make-it-at-home buttonhole kit: A how-to create your own buttonhole, with a tiny posy of heather, wax flower and a miniature pansy flower. We wanted the favours to give an insight into what we do and leaves them with something that might pique their interest into flowers and floristry, and maybe, they’ll find a new passion for 2018. riddle_stop 2

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