Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Versatile Summer Posy - DIY Tutorial

Hello all.  We're going all a bit DIY crazy here at Campbell's HQ! As some of you might know the latest  Sheffield workshop dates for Campbell's Flower School are now available and so, while I get myself ready for a fabulous weekend of beautiful weddings, I leave with with this lovely, simple but very versatile little design.

This is a really economical design and I've given you a guide of flowers you could use but  I’ve made mine out of a few broken stems and bits and pieces which I had left over from a recent wedding.   Here’s how:-

Here’s what you will need:-

1/3 of a brick of green oasis
A sharp knife
A small container

Flower Material

1-2 stems of eucalyptus (or foliage of your choice)
2-3 stems of white astrantia
1 stem of flowering mint
1 stem of thistle
2-3 stems of purple lisianthus


*Soak your oasis and place into your container, making sure that it is raised by at least 1 cm above the top of your container.

*Cut some sprigs of eucalyptus of about 10 cms in length, making sure you remove the lower leaves so that you have about 1½ cms of clean stem to push into your oasis

*Angling the eucalyptus downwards, push the stems into the foam about 1-2 cms apart turning the container until you have completed a circle and created an outline of foliage.

*Next cut more eucalyptus and also some astrantia about 1 cm shorter than before and push these stems into the foam at a 45 degree angle working up to the centre where the stems should be upright.

*Now you can fill in the design using the larger material such as the thistle and lisianthus.  To create a good balance in the design, you should always place buds to the outer edges of the design and place larger blooms towards the centre.

Once you’ve picked up how to make the basic shape, you can use whatever flowers are in season and co-ordinate your container to suit your theme – this a lovely design and is absolutely perfect for beginners.

Being an ex floristry tutor, I’m really passionate about teaching anyone who has an interest in flowers how to make a whole range of lovely designs – some of which can be found on my YouTube channel.

As always, if you have an questions, or need any help with flower choice, don’t hesitate to get in touch, otherwise, enjoy!

Tracey x

Monday, 20 August 2012

A Vintage Hydrangea Welcome Ring Tutorial

Hello everyone.  This pretty, seasonal welcome wreath is so simple to make, but just perfect for this time of the year when hydrangea is in abundance.  It’s inexpensive, would make a lovely, vintage gift for a friend’s wedding or party and is absolutely bang on trend at the moment!

You will need to cut the hydrangea the day before you use it and put it in water to have a good drink.  This known as 'conditioning' and makes sure your flowers last as long as possible in foam.

Here’s what you will need:-

1 x 10” wet oasis wreath ring (available from florists)
Ribbon or raffia
A sharp knife
10-12 good sized hydrangea heads


*Bevel the edges of your wreath ring by removing the edge of the oasis with a knife and gently rubbing the excess off. This helps create a nice domed effect for your final design.

*Next soak your oasis ring by placing it upside-down in the sink.  Leave it for a few minutes to really take up the water.

*Cut short sprigs of flower material and, starting at the bottom of the wreath ring, push them into the foam at an angle pointing downwards.

*Continue all the way round the wreath ring until this section is done and no foam is showing. 

*Don’t forget something to hang it with – I’ve used raffia, but you could use ribbon or string depending on the ‘look’ you want to achieve.  Make sure that whatever you use is nice and secure.

*Next, cut slightly shorter sprigs than you used for the outer edge and push these vertically into the foam to complete the next section. Keep checking that no foam is showing and add extra hydrangea sprigs if needed.

*Your design should look a little bit like this by now ...

*Finally, cut even shorter sprigs of hydrangea to complete the inner edge of the wreath ring, taking care to push them well into the foam so that the hole in the centre doesn’t fill in.

And there you have it. One very pretty, welcome wreath which could be made from all the same colours if you’ve got access to lots of the same hydrangea.

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.  I absolutely love it when you get in touch, or have any questions, so please do leave me a comment and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as I can.  Being an ex floristry tutor, I’m passionate about teaching anyone who has an interest in flowers how to make a whole range of lovely designs.  There are a few on my blog or you can find others on my YouTube channel, alternatively, if you live nearby why not join my newly announced Workshops?

If you do have a go, why not email me a photo of your design and I might just send you a little pressie to congratulate your efforts!

Until next time, enjoy

Tracey x

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Heaven Scent - A guide to Scented Summer Flowers

Hello all.  Today I bring you another of my passions - scented flowers. One of the true pleasures of working with flowers is not just their shape, form or colour, but it’s their evasive unique scent which just can't be manufactured, that I love.

I’ve always loved plants and flowers and have been, in my time, quite a keen gardener.  So, when I trained to become a florist, I was initially quite sad to learn that commercial production of flowers which smell divine in the garden, had little or no scent in a retail setting.  In perfecting the shape, colour and longevity of the blooms, scent had been sacrificed.

Fast forward a number of years later and David Austin were for a time, at the forefront of promoting gorgeous cabbagey roses full of luscious, romantic scents.  Happily, the trend for flowers with a ‘just picked’ natural feel has meant that not only are organically and ethically grown flowers more readily available, but that scents are back where they should be. 

Here are a few of my top Summer Scented flowers:-


As you might have noticed, I love dried lavender for it's scent and gorgeous texture.  It's also really useful to 'open' up a bouquet and help created a 'just picked' look

Fresh lavender is available in lots of gorgeous colours ranging from deep dark purples, through to lilacs, pinks and even white.

Sweet Peas

To me, Sweet Peas are as quintessentially part of British Summer time as strawberries and cream and have the added benefit of being available in an array of gorgeous colours


A firm favourite with Bride's at the moment, peonies also come in a range of beautiful colours ranging from pure, pure white to pale pink through to the deepest vibrant magenta.


I'm really happy to see this slightly underrated flower making a bit of a comeback recently, I love not only it's scent, but the pretty swirly buds which add so much textural interest to a design


I adore that unmistakeable scent of a beautiful rose - it reminds me of my Bampa's (Grandfather's) garden.  Happily there are so many varieties of rose now available with a gorgeous scent - I've noticed that even some varieties of spray rose do too. Fabulous!

Those are my top five, readily available scented flowers but there are so many more to choose from now, and I haven't even touched on herbs!  To me it's incomprehensible to have beautiful perfect blooms without their accompanying heady scent.  Thankfully, that all seems to be changing and I for one cannot help but use at least one scented bloom and/or a lovely Eucalyptus every time I make something – which is one of the reasons I love my job so much!
 So, when you have a consultation with your florist, be sure you ask for scented blooms – the more demand there is the more growers will make sure they produce scented varieties!

What's your favourite scented flower? Have you planned your bouquet around scent or would you like a bit of advice as to what's available when you've planned your wedding?  Leave me a comment and, as always, I'll get back to you if I can help.

Tracey x

Monday, 13 August 2012

Clare & Brian - Kilts, A Ceilidh and Purple Prettiness

So, as promised, I bring you today's 'real wedding' between Clare and Brian. When Clare and I arranged to meet for the first time, she asked if she might bring her gorgeous little toddler, Harry, along with her. Of course I had no objections at all, being a Mum and quite used to small people, but I did worry that perhaps Clare might not get all the attention she deserved as the Bride.  I know from experience that being a Mum to young children is so all-encompassing that it isn't a natural response to put yourself first.

However, I needn't have worried. We managed just fine to juggle Harry's needs around our discussions.  A perfect example of multi-tasking!

Clare told me that Brian is Irish and that he and his Best Man would be wearing Irish 'Black Spirit' kilts and that in the evening they were having a Ceilidh. She also told me that she really loves lisianthus and particularly the really dark, beautiful 'Cadbury's' purple colour. She also felt sure that she wanted a very  pretty, delicate, unstructured, natural bouquet.

With these ideas as I starting point, I suggested a very simple hand-tied, posy style bouquet of dark purple single lisianthus, dried lavender for texture and scent, blue nigella for softness, creamy spray roses to 'lift' the colour and white astrantia (which is actually limey-greeny-white) for a very 'just picked' meadowy look.  Finally I suggested eucalyptus as a lovely bluey-grey-green fragrant foliage to link all the colours and bring the design together.

Clare was really happy with my suggestions and we decided that as she is really petite, and her dress is a really simple, elegant fitted satin ivory gown, her bouquet shouldn't be too big and should look very light and almost ethereal.

Now as you will all know, flowers are my absolute passion, but with my job comes a certain level of responsibility to deliver on the day what has been agreed upon in advance.  I always add a proviso that substitutions may have to be made, but it's not something I often or ever like to resort to.

However, because I deal with a product that is natural, it doesn't always perform in the way you might expect.  Clare particularly had her heart set on blue Nigella (or Love-in-the-Mist) but, try as I might, I just couldn't get any.  I tried four different British and Dutch suppliers but without any luck at all.  It transpires that at this time of the year it is grown outdoors and the terrible rains we had have rotted the flowers in the fields, so none was available.

So I contacted Clare and suggested a couple of changes and bought instead some wonderfully fragrant and simply gorgeous mint, which has a really short growing season, it just couldn't be any more seasonal.  I also bought a pretty little blue thistle, again for texture.

Here are the designs which, happily Clare loved when I delivered them to her

A close-up of the gorgeous materials 'Crema' spray roses, lavender, white astrantia, eucalyptus 'baby blue', mint and eryngium (thistle)

Clare's pretty, natural bouquet

Another close-up of all those lovely textures and colours

Clare and her bridesmaid's bouquet..  I met Olivia, who is nine, when I delivered the flowers and, happily, she told me she loves mint - which is lucky as both the bouquets were so delicately fragrant with eucalyptus, lavender and scented roses.

The buttonholes used the spray roses, eucalyptus and lavender - finished with a tie of cream satin ribbon

The boy's buttonholes

A close-up of the exquisite roses

Sweet little table decorations

I loved making Clare's flowers, she's such a caring Mum - she even told me she's made a lovely dark purple silk sling to carry Harry in, if he needs a bit of 'Mum' comfort later in the day.  I can't wait to see the 'official' photos and will post them for you, once I get them and hope that Clare, Brian, Jack and Harry all had a truly wonderful and memorable day.

Have any of you or your friends had experience of last minute changes to your wedding plans and were they to your liking?  Would you be devastated if something wasn't as you planned? Or, like Clare, would you trust your floral designer to make something you would be happy with?

I'd love to know your thoughts, and will, of course, get back to you if you have any queries about seasonality.

'til then, enjoy!

Tracey x

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Olivia & Stephen - It's A Family Affair

Feeling a little nervous at my first ever wedding fayre as Campbell's Flowers, Olivia came over with her little girls to look at my vintage inspired wedding flowers.  Beaming at me, she told me that not only was my style exactly what she was looking for, but the colours I'd chosen were perfect too ... and could she book me to design her wedding flowers? There and then. Just like that!

Needless to say, my jitters soon disappeared.

During our consultation she showed me a lovely card she had which perfectly showed the colours she was looking for - soft, pretty pinks and brighter magenta set off with a gorgeous powder blue.  Olivia was absolutely certain that she wanted her bouquet to include cottage-style, pretty, flowers and so we decided upon 'Sarah Bernhardt' peonies, pale pink double lisianthus, light pink bouvardia for texture, tiny bright magenta 'Video!' roses and lovely dark pink astrantia. Her beautiful flowers were teamed with soft bluey-green wispy eucalyptus which softened the whole bouquet and made it look really informal and 'just picked'.

She and Stephen both have little girls and Olivia told me that she wanted all four of them as bridesmaids, but was concerned that they whatever they carried should be really delicate and not too big or overpowering. So I suggested making little posies from pale blue delphinium to introduce the powder blue colour which she really loves.  Olivia was thrilled, and I must admit I was really excited as I'd never made anything like it before and thought they would be so pretty.

Olivia got in touch just the other day and kindly let me have a few of the professional photographs by  Frances Milburn Photography

Olivia's bouquet

A close-up of the gorgeous peonies, bouvardia, astrantia, lisianthus and eucalyptus

Lisianthus buds are always paler than the open blooms and add a lovely natural, soft creamy-pink colour to the bouquet

The little buttonholes featured a tiny 'Video!' rose, a lisianthus bloom and a delphinium floret and were finished with a tie of co-ordinating organza ribbon

I added a little lavender to the delphinium bouquets for the little bridesmaids for additional texture and depth of colour

I was also asked to make a romantic, vintage style design suitable for the ceremony table

Here it is in place, all ready for the ceremony

Here are the wonderful shots Olivia sent me ... 

You can see what a fantastically chilled, laid-back Bride Olivia was - it was such a pleasure working with her.  She sent me a little 'thank you' email which I was delighted to get:-

"Hi Tracey,

I just wanted to write and thank you so very much for the beautiful flowers you arranged for our wedding - they were stunning and far exceeded what I had hoped for!

Very best wishes


Isn't that wonderful? I had such a lovely time designing Olivia's gorgeous seasonal Summer flowers - there's such a vast range of materials to work with during July.

What about you? Do you have any preferences? Are you in love with peonies and summery pastels or are Autumnal golds, Wintery berries or Spring bulbs more your thing?

As always, it's great to hear from you and if you need any advice or help with choosing your wedding flowers - I'll do my best!