Flower Arranging

March and April were busy months, especially Easter with flower arrangements to do for two churches, my own home, a Wedding and before that a very special visit to London.
Looking back the events seem to have been dominated by the same colour scheme, Yellow and white.
Now well into May, the two colours still stand out in my garden and a walk around it on a sunny but blustery day easily produced enough material for this traditional design. Flower Arranging june 2015 039

The container is a shape much loved by flower arrangers in the 1950s and 60s and I am sure I picked it up at our Club sales table when another arranger had tired of it. I was teaching Period Flower Arranging at the time and was delighted to get ‘a period piece’ for teaching Twentieth Century styles.
The Dolphin has a receptacle for the wet foam and as it is a raised container I looked for plant material that would drip downwards into the space created by the height.
I tried to keep the design light and airy. We worry about hiding the foam when arranging but a much better photo is produced when limiting the amount of plant material used.
Photographers often remove material from a successful design before it is photographed.
The plant material used includes Tellima Grandiflora, a great favourite with Flower Arrangers because of its slender stems of small bell-like flowers and its ability to seed all over the garden producing new plants each year.
Canary Bird Rose, green and white Tulips, Caltha (the Marsh Marigold of my childhood walks by the river) which grows in my tiny pool. Spirea Aguta with its foaming white flowers, Physocarpus and the yellow Bowles Golden Grass. I moved slightly out of the colour group by adding a couple of stems of the new growth on the Pieris (Fire of the Forest) which is pink/ yellow at this time of the year.
In February I was contacted by NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arranging Societies) and asked to do a pedestal in Westminster Abbey for the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of (Lord) Richard Attenborough in March. The request had been for Flower Arrangers from Leicester since Lord Attenborough had spent his early years growing up in the City. I was delighted to accept along with another arranger from Melton Mowbray. We had to produce a matching pair of pedestals on the high altar. The colour scheme? Yellow and white.
These colours are usually chosen because they stand out well in dark venues of large scale.
All the flowers were provided but we also took along some additional foliage and I had the idea of taking some lichen covered branches (which were acid yellow) from the Leicestershire countryside. A little bit of Leicester in Westminster Abbey.
We had about three hours to do the designs which sounds like a lot of time, but we had to avoid stepping onto the main floor of the altar, so moving about was difficult and the finished designs measured over nine feet tall.
We had an audience of tourists throughout which fazed my partner (Pat Stanley) a little but I have been a Flower Arranging Demonstrator and so did not mind at all.Gayle's Flower arranging
When we were finished, on realising that we intended to stay for a few days in the capital, the Flower Arranging co-ordinator said she would get us tickets for the service the following day – What a privilege! A beautiful service with wonderful music and readings by Tom Hiddleston, Sir Ben Kingsley and David Attenborough and eulogy by Lord Puttnam. The members of the congregation read like a BAFTA ceremony and we were thrilled to have been included.
So the photo above is of this five feet nothing flower arranger in front of a towering pedestal at Westminister Abbey. Look what going to Flower Arranging classes can lead to!
Gayle Shell