Last Friday I had a great day at Alma House in Ripon on a WI workshop for festive flower arrangements. There were three different arrangements being demonstrated and we could choose to make two of them. We had a list of things to take together with the more specialist things the tutor would bring. This also gave us a bit of a clue on what the final arrangement might be like and helped me decide what to make; I was travelling to Ripon by bus (or rather 2-3 buses) so when one arrangement would include three amaryllis I knew I had very little chance of getting it home in one piece, I was a bit dubious about the miniature Christmas tree too so I chose to make two table decorations.
On Thursday night, in the dark, I went round the garden collecting foliage such as osmanthus, cherry laurel, eunonymous, ivy and eucalyptus. I have a big wicker basket on wheels which I use for market shopping, I decided that would be the easiest mode of transport! I took a box of wired fir cones etc too and anything else I thought might be useful. In Ripon I bought a bunch of orange, red and yellow roses and some orange and lemon spray carnations.
Our tutor was great, she made it look so easy!! She showed us the three different arrangements, then we were free to attempt them ourselves. The tree was very cute, basically it was a cone of oasis with sprigs of blue spruce inserted like branches, you could then decorate it with little fir cones, or baubles, anything you fancy really. Her table decoration was absolutely beautiful, she used calla lillies and gorgeous pale peach roses. The amaryllis arrangement was stunning, three stems stood tall above a froth of silver gypsophillia, red roses and white carnations. We did have the discussion about red and white flowers together and I must admit as a bit of an old-fashioned nurse, it’s not a colour scheme I would ever choose but it did look stunning. By the time I took the photo the amaryllis had been replaced with a pretty spray of frosted berries, it looked just as lovely.
She also gave us useful tips, two in particular I remembered; if you get flower food with your flowers, add it to the water you soak the oasis in, then the oasis will soak it up and feed them slowly. To water flower arrangements in oasis just tuck three ice-cubes on the oasis every couple of days, not only will they slowly melt and soak into where you want it, they also keep the flowers cool, which they like.
After the demonstration it was our turn, which for some of us with little flower arranging experience was a bit scary, but our tutor kept coming round to help and advise. I kept popping over to look again at the demo, trying to remember the order she had placed them in.
I’m really chuffed with how my table decoration came out, I love the colour of the roses and the shape of the arrangement is lovely. The lime green wire adds a bit of interest and matches the chiffon ribbon which ruches around the base and also makes the big bow at the back. I struggled to make a neat bow so the tutor did one for me! At home I have stood it on a Christmas cake-stand to give it a bit of height when it graces our table on Christmas Day.
After lunch I made a second arrangement from my leftovers. I had lots of lemon spray carnations, I decided to make an arrangement on a little plastic saucer which once home I could swop onto a tall wrought iron candle-stick I have at home. It’s mainly variegated eunonymous and blue spruce with lots of carnations. At home I sellotaped some cocktail sticks to the base of a wide candle and popped it in the centre. It looks pretty good in our lounge.
I had it all organised in my mind how I was going to get my arrangements home, basically one in the basket and one on my arm. Then they drew the raffle….there were only twelve of us at the workshop, so the odds of winning were much better than usual and yes, you guessed it, I won the big amaryllis arrangement!!! Luckily there was a shortage of amaryllis so they had been replaced with a pretty frosted twig of berries, but even so, I now had three arrangements to get home on a three bus journey!!!
Luckily there was a lady there I knew from a nearby village, she volunteered to take one of the arrangements back to Addingham and then to bring them to me later. Eventually I managed to position my box of goodies so it was fairly level in the basket and basically plonked the big arrangement on top! I could then carry my rose arrangement. It worked a treat, I only broke one flower on the way home, I received lots of admiring comments too as I waited at the bus-stations in Ripon, Harrogate and Otley.
All in all it was a lovely day out, I learnt new tricks and hopefully gained a bit more confidence in my flower arranging skills.
Yesterday was the last Sunday in Advent, so I could light all the candles on my wreath. Some of the foliage was beginning to look a bit sad, it’s been there three weeks, so it hasn’t done bad, it probably doesn’t help that this is about the third time I’ve used this oasis wreath so it didn’t hold water as well. I took out the really sad bits and then added lots of wired fir cones, poppy heads, baubles, cinammon sticks, dried clementines…hopefully people see the extra bits and not the dead foliage. I think it’s refreshed it nicely, it will last till Christmas Day now 🙂