I started the tale of my day with the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers last week, when I shared my photographs from the New Covent Garden Flower Market. Today, I’m going to continue with Part Two; making a hand-tied bouquet.
On leaving the market, we returned to the beautiful Academy where the learning commenced. Gillian Wheeler, the Academy Principal, left us in the skilled and experienced hands of Madeleine Mukherjee and Justina, who were to be our teachers. Madeleine has decades’ worth of floristry knowledge (and has made floral arrangements for The Queen, no less) and is a gentle, encouraging teacher who managed to impart masses of knowledge to her students through the day and never made me feel as though I was failing, even when I struggled. She’s incredible. Justina is equally lovely and caring in her approach to the students, and was really helpful in helping my shape my bouquet. They made a great team.
We learnt how to ‘condition’ the incredible range of flowers and foliage so they were ready for arrangement, and then how to create a hand-tied bouquet by holding each stem in our hand, choosing one piece at a time and ‘spiralling’ the bouquet around. The foliage, a vital backdrop to the floral stars of the bouquet, is decided upon first, and then once that is perfected, each flower is placed through the bouquet, before finishing with wired string and grosgrain ribbon. Although it look me much longer than other people on the course, I was completely engrossed in what I was doing. Although it’s harder work than people imagine. it’s easy to see how people fall in love with floristry, and the day definitely ignited a desire in me to continue learning.
After our bouquets were finished, they were all displayed together and it was fascinating to see how everyone had created something similar, yet unique. Sisters, not twins, as Madeleine perfectly stated. We then went on to create a buttonhole; a fascinating construction involving several different types of wire and green tape, which I loved making. I think buttonholes will be the first thing I attempt to make at home.
I could go on at length about this course, and in fact, I shall definitely be writing at least one more post; with some of my key pieces of learning. But suffice to say, if you’re interested in learning floristry for fun or perhaps to change career, then The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers is exactly the place for you. It’s undoubtedly inspiring and educational, but more importantly, it seems to be a place with a huge heart too, which is so important when you’re choosing somewhere to study. I am already trying to work out how I might go back, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
And, you want to see my finished bouquet, don’t you? Here it is. I’m rather proud of my creation…
Huge thanks to everyone at the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers for my place on the course and the incredible tuition.
All transport and accommodation paid for separately.