Misty Blue (limonium) wreath created by Carousel Flora celebrating a new baby’s arrival
I have to admit that I didn’t gather this beautiful limonium myself but discovered it displayed at a local growers’. Thrilled to bits, I snapped up three huge bundles (extravagant I know!) and rushed home with the design for a wreath formulating as I was driving.
I already had a wreath base modelled from wisteria vine culled during earthquake renovations that would probably be perfect. This simple honey coloured base was something quite special even in its bare, undecorated form and I felt strangely attached to it. But a baby had been born and I needed a large and elegant base to attach the limonium to. So I swept my sentimentality aside and set to work.
Three bunches of limonium later and here it is. Despite my original plan to retain one bunch and hang upside down in my bedroom it was not to be! It’s often the way making a wreath. You can never imagine quite how much material it will take!
I kept the long stems visible to accentuate the wreath’s flow and I found this made the wreath look really contemporary and not reminiscent of something you’d find in your grandmother’s bathroom!
Autumnal arrangement created by passionate forager Teena Shield
Teena is a true gatherer and loyal Carousel Flora advocate whose only rule when it comes to creating floral designs is ‘never get stuck on limiting the ingredients just because they’re not traditionally considered a ‘flower’. Yay to that.
For this arrangement she has rescued Black Boy peaches and wild grapes (munching as she went!), crab apples thrown to the ground after recent strong winds and combined these with deep chocolate succulents, flowering akeake, dahlias and gum nuts from obliging neighbour’s gardens.
She told us she drew her inspiration from the wonderful ‘Old Dutch Masters’ still life paintings she so loves with their traditionally rich and contrasted colour palettes, but kept her ingredient list strictly to materials that were available and gathered.
The Crassula Girl Illustration by Rachel Thornton
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.
Crassula & Crassula Girl illustrations by Rachel Thornton
Steve Carr Transpiration 2014 screen capture detail. Courtesy of Steve Carr and Michael Lett
This floral image has been on my mind ever since I picked up the LOG20 booklet last week at my favourite city cafe C1 Espresso. I love the subtle combination of colours featured within these giant suspended dianthus so much that I am tempted to hop in my car and drive down to Dunedin to see for myself Steve Carr’s Stretching Time Exhibition at the Public Art Gallery.
Alas my garden dahlias are almost over. Not that I have many to start with which means that I can never quite bring myself to cut any, despite my longing to experiment with these dramatic blooms in grand pedestal-type arrangements.
I particularly love textured arrangements which combine lots of flowers exhibiting a similar (ish) but not precisely the same, colour palette. Varieties of giant burnt-orange dahlias sitting with their paler peach companions, salmon-coloured David Austin roses and leaves with a hint of autumn at their edges, trailing virginia creeper and stems of spikey lime-green horse-chestnut shells.
The Little Flower School in Brooklyn do this kind of arrangement to perfection. And they run classes sometimes in Australia – so check out their schedule in case they are headed over this way sometime soon.