Rose Hip Wrapping Paper Design Carousel Flora Design
Rose Hip Table Decoration created by Carousel Flora Design
My Sally Holmes and Margaret Merril roses have been flowering profusely since October but are now outnumbered by the vibrant display of ripening rose hips; green through marigold orange to tomato red, some as plump as miniature pumpkins on stalks and others fine sprays of the tiniest hips. Each rose variety produces slightly differing hip characteristics.
The once-humble rose hip takes centre stage in the wreath we created for an autumnal table display. Massing one material once again produces the impact we wanted.
Grapevine, Succulent & Wild Broom Wreath created by Carousel Flora Design
This dense and lush wreath was inspired by the wild succulents that cling precariously to the almost vertical slopes on hillsides close to where Rachel and I live.
We gathered different varieties whose colours harmonised and textures and forms contrasted, combining pearly-pink echeverias, spiky peach-coloured graptoverias with thick-leafed crassula and claw-like stems of flowing silver-grey senico. The sculptural crassula are particular favourites of ours as they create impact and a sense of drama within floral arrangements, or in this case within the wreath design. We’ve wired all the materials onto the grapevine base, as they are heavy and may fall out otherwise.
The addition of the curved wild broom shaped by the wind accentuates the wreath’s flow as well as adding a third dimension to the design making it appear grander and fuller.
When you’re gathering succulents keep in mind a number of things:
* Keep stems as long as possible as they will be easier to wire. We used about 2 buckets of succulents for this wreath.
* Choose understated and subtle colour combinations that complement each other.
* The size of the succulents that you want to gather will depend on the size of your wreath base. Too small and they will look insignificant. Take your wreath base with you when gathering so you can get a sense of the scale required.
I want to talk more about peonies, undoubtedly my most favourite flower, but shall leave that until next week when energy levels replenish.
Thank you to everyone who visited us at Culverden yesterday and for you amazing feedback. What a beautiful setting for a country fete. Will be posting images next week for anyone who couldn’t make it.
We’re taking bookings now for our Christmas Workshops too so contact us for more information.
This series of 5 is just the start. More to come later in the year as Rachel creates a whole new range of these beautifully-attired girls who love nature and love gathering.
Individual cards are priced at $5.50 each or packs of the 5 designs are available at just $25.00. Contact us to make an order or come and visit us at Culverden on 31 October, where we’ll also have beautiful cotton tea towels with the same designs available.
Lilac is a wonderfully-romantic old-fashioned flower which stirs spring-time memories for me of afternoon tea in a rambling garden in Dorset; the sweet, intoxicating scent of lilac wafting in the air and a sense that summer is well on its way.
Rachel discovered lilac growing at the side of the road in an abandoned property; the bush obviously hadn’t been pruned for years making it quite leggy but ideal for the natural type of arrangement we love. Normally we’d strip the leaves off as they don’t really last well, but in this case we opted to leave them on so we could enjoy their beautiful heart-shaped form.
Lilac is one of those flowers seldom seem in florist shops. It doesn’t last long once cut so I guess commercially it just doesn’t make sense. What a pity though to miss out on so many similarly fragile flowers just because they won’t last as long as we’d like. It occurs to me we just have to lower our expectations and be realistic. Unless flowers are treated with chemicals and cultivated to last, nature has its own idea of a flower’s shelf-life and we just have to go with that and enjoy these precious blooms while we can.
Taking advice from a reliable internet source suggests that you should sink stems straight into lukewarm water when cut, crush the end of each stem to expose a larger surface area for the water flow, add a little sugar to the vase of water, keep out of direct sunlight and remove spent florets regularly.
Just over a month to go until The Fete at Culverden. Put Thursday 31 October in your diary and prepare for a wonderful day out in the country; tickets are on sale through the website. I especially love the idea of the picnic lunch package on offer.
At Carousel Rachel and I are at the planning stage. Trying to estimate just how much material needs to be gathered, which materials will last best and dry beautifully, how many wreaths we need to make, how many different designs we should plan and how the stall should look.
We’ll be launching our brand new range of Carousel Girl stationery and beautiful cotton tea towels that we’ve designed at the fete which we’re thrilled about.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be giving you a sneak preview of the Carousel products on offer at the fete so keep checking out the blog for updates and photos, and if you want to preorder anything just drop us an email.
A favourable characteristic of spring blossom, particularly for the less confident flower arrangers amongst us, is that a single stem standing alone in a glass vase can create a bold statement and bring drama to a space without too much difficulty.
Select your arching branch carefully. I estimate the branch length should be at least twice the height of the vase – and choose one in bud rather than flower so it will last longer. Buds will literally burst open in front of your eyes and the display should last at least 10 days.
The selection of varying flowering and tonal stages of blossom around at the moment means we are spoilt for choice. So think about the look you’re after and the vase you will be using; then go gather….
To contrast the single stem of plum blossom in our glass vase, Rachel cut a large bunch of leafy, flowering blackcurrant for this more natural, handpicked arrangement displayed in a rustic, ceramic vase.
Long branches of blossom look stunning framing an entrance or doorway for a special event or celebration. The flowers are fragile but even if you lose some petals along the way, don’t worry as these will give the rather lovely effect of scattered confetti underfoot.
Branches, blossom or otherwise, standing tall in urns either side of a window can give the impression of hanging curtains framing the view outside. Saves spending money on drapes with the bonus of being able to change the look as and when you choose.
This twig vase that Rachel designed is an alternative rustic way to present spring blossom. Check out next Monday’s Make A Twig Vase Project and create your very own re-usable container. Or come along to a workshop and we’ll teach you how. Contact us for more information.
This homage to blossom wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of a springtime wreath image. See how the blossom looks like it’s almost growing amongst the tangled vine.
Spring Blossom Wreath created by Carousel Flora Design
Welcome to Carousel Flora Design’s new website and blog, ‘Gathering Tales’. You may notice that we’ve been posting privately for some time now if you scroll through the archives, but as of today we are officially dipping our toes, well fully immersing ourselves, into this exciting new technical and very public arena.
Our website has been a lengthy on-going project but Rachel and I are thrilled that our business will once again have visibility despite the shop’s future in Lyttelton remaining uncertain. I must say it has been a tough challenge to maintain our motivation levels and creative spirit at times, post earthquakes, aftershocks et al, but having a creative project to focus on and a kindrid spirit to work alongside, has certainly helped Rachel and I remain sane (ish!).
‘Gathering Tales’ will bring you our current inspirations, new designs, journal sketches and images together with ideas, projects and recipes to share with you on a regular basis. Feel free to comment and keep in touch. We’d love your feedback.
Rachel and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to some of the people who have assisted and truly supported us during the past couple of years. Firstly, our husbands and families who have at all times encouraged us and allowed this dream to be realised. Not to mention putting up with countless phone calls at all hours of the day and night, and piles of debris strewn all around our homes and gardens! John Burt of Working Ideas for graphic design support and Maika Zack for strategic technical advice. Peter Bay who gave us an invaluable insight into the world of international publishing and book concept design. Lucy Hone for understanding our vision from the beginning and offering thoughtful constructive direction. Hilary Perkins for her unfailing support. Jacinda Gilligan for her enthusiasm and utter belief in us. Andrea Bay for her perpetual optimism and wise words. Margaret Egan for her continued encouragement and generous supply of materials and Chilean chef Guilio Sturla, a passionate food forager and gatherer, for inspiring us with his unending drive, passion and love of this beautiful land and its seasons.
There are too many other friends and loyal Carousel clients to thank individually but you will know who you are, and we thank you for supporting our business since it opened in 2008.
The Snowdrop Girl Illustration by Rachel Thornton
That said, let me introduce a series of drawings that Rachel has been developing. The Carousel Girls. These darling, elegantly-attired girls were created whilst Rachel was confined to her bed recovering from exhaustion post earthquake. With only a pen and paper in her hand, she began to create these fantasy girls. Beautiful, thoughtful girls who love gathering and love nature. Dressed rather romantically and femininely, the Carousel Girls offer us an escape from the asethically-challenging environment in which we Cantabrians are currently living.
Each month a new girl will be launched celebrating a seasonal material. Check out the illustration gallery to see the Carousel Girls to date. Prints and series of stationery to follow.