Believe me when I say I could have easily spent the whole of Sunday filming and snapping the toing and froing of London’s second most famous flower market. I’m used to heading off in the small wee hours to Covent Garden Flower Market, but haven’t ventured up on a Sunday jaunt to Columbia Road Flower Market for some time. Its not that I haven’t wanted to, its just time runs away!
For me Columbia Road has a lot more soul than Covent Garden, and although its not geared up towards florists, it really captures everything that I think a flower market should be about.
When I first visited Covent Garden, goodness, about 16 years ago I was expecting this mecca of creative hustle and bustle, bright lights, bright colours, independent retailers and amazing sights and sounds. A vibrant barter atmosphere! And it was in some respect like that, but it just felt a bit ‘grey’. The building was old. It felt unloved. Whilst the produce you could buy and the traders are amazing, it didn’t have the amazing mecca buzz I was expecting. Covent Garden have made huge improvements over the years and next month the new flower market opens. I cannot wait to visit, I hope the new building does all the amazing produce and retailers that they sell there justice.
Columbia Road on the other hand, had that buzz I was expecting. Perhaps its because its not the middle of the night when its open. Its amazing what a difference daylight makes to the whole experience! Columbia Road feels like a true market experience – the shouting, the crowds, the smells. The scattering of independent shops seling all manner of things lined on either side of the road.
If you love to buy flowers and don’t fancy the early alarm clock of Covent Garden, I would totally urge you to take a Sunday out and head up to Columbia Road Flower Market.
Watch our 2 minute tour of Columbia Road Flower Market below
Whether you go to market or buy your flowers online, how on earth do you decide what flowers you want to sell. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of varieties available and tons of different colours.
Some florists go for the scatter gun approach – a little bit of this and a little bit of that until they have every colour under the rainbow in their arms or virtual trolley. Sure this is the way you can work, and indeed this is the way loads of florists shops around the country have run for decades, but we like to think of ourselves as a fine artists picking our paints very carefully so we can blend and get depth.
I call it a ‘currated’ colour palette which sums up whats happening not only in the floral world but also in fashion and lifestyle. We’re constantly looking around, gathering inspiration and then transporting it to our flower stand in tints and tones that blend together beautifully.
What do you get when you leave three florists with a bucket of leftover flowers…. dress up time of course! It was flower crown central on Monday afternoon in the shop much to the surprise of our visiting customers – i think secretly they all wanted to join in!
With a few wayward stems left over from Mother’s Day we totally and unashamedly indulged our creative sides. It was such a pleasure to just go wild. Flower crowns are all over pinterest and instagram right now and it was the perfect excuse to do some in-house training with our lovely trainee Brittany, developing her own ideas and core floristry skills such as wiring and taping.
Perhaps daydreaming of warmer climes, I went for a somewhat tropical design. Vibrant apricot toned Tulips, a soft marshmallow pink blousey statement Rose and a helping of cerise Rose buds for good measure went into my asymmetric number, finished of course with neon green ribbon! All I needed to complete the look was a grass skirt and a pina colada!
Emma’s design had much more of a refined and vintage air. With textures of Sweet Williams, threaded Hyacinth pips and cloudy Gypsophila, not forgetting the beautiful open Anemones. I think her headdress was very elegant and wouldn’t have looked at all out of place on set in a 1920’s film.
And last but definitely not least – what a stunning piece from Brittany! And a first attempt to boot! She was inspired by the electric blue Delphiniums running through her crown. The Anastacia bloom is used like a living pompom with romantic swirly Lisianthus and Rose buds clustered above – I think it looks great and she wears it so well!
Donning our floral masterpieces I think we were all pretty chuffed with the results and a mini photo shoot ensued. Well it would have been rude not to!
I wonder what next weeks leftover blooms will bring….
We were lucky enough to work with the super talented (and also very lovely) Hannah McClune back in May 2013. I know, its taken us forever to blog the amazing images she took of Tracey and Simon’s big day, but, we’re sure you’ll agree they are worth the wait!
We know once you take a look at Hannah’s images below you’ll be hooked. As well as shooting fabulous weddings, she also takes baby portraits and family shots. Hannah’s definately one to watch, after scooping the Wedding Industry Expert award for ” Best new photographer, Berkshire” we’re pretty sure she’ll be on to even greater things in 2014.
The men wore succulent and herb buttonholes. Here’s simon getting pinned, the succulent is the perfect match next to his charcoal/blue suit. I love playing with textures on buttonholes, for any regular readers of our blog you’ll know I’ve done an extensive post on boutonniers … get the lowdown here
Tracey’s bouquet was filled with Sweet Avalanche roses, peonies, Majolika spray roses, scented eucalyptus, succulents and heavily scented sweet peas. Gorgeous soft pastel colours were chosen to compliment the flowers girl dresses. Each wore a different pastel tone from soft powder blue, through to pink and a subtle lilac. Beautiful!
I think you’ll all agree, Hannah’s photographs are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing them with us. We’re really looking forward to working with you again in 2014
Style Me Pretty have done it again featuring my favourite wedding cake, possibly ever! Made by the super talented folks at Charm City Cakes (I’ve been browsing their site for at least 2 hours looking at all the deliciousness, its filled with tons of inspiration) and shot by Evelyn Alas Photography for a Peter Pan inspired photo shoot.
Get ready for your goldspiration wedding cake extravaganza …
Trend alert! If your planning your wedding over the next few months you’d be mad not to consider peach and gold as your colour theme. It is going to be 2014’s biggest wedding trend, with glitzy cakes, lots of sequins and beautiful blown English grown roses.
For me gold and peach is a more grown up version of the vintage vibe thats been growing in popularity and shows no signs of stopping. Golds bring a touch of classic 1940’s Hollywood glamour to the occasion and peach has had a refresh too, forget 1980’s blancmange tones, were taking soft nudes, deeper oranges and cerise pink tones.
You don’t have to go all out and wear a gold sequinned wedding dress (although this is a look I’m totally thinking about for my wedding!) you can achieve the look subtly. Add some gold to your cake, or one of my favourite ways to achieve subtle colour is by tying your flowers with beautiful ribbons. This is expertly demonstrated in images 3 and 4 above by Calie Rose. Such a simple idea, and with gorgeous trailing gold ribbons your flowers have beautiful movement. In my experience men try to avoid the glitz and glam, but I love the buttonhole detailing in image 4, its subtle enough so you don’t have to worry about the Christmas cracker look.
Have you fallen for peach and gold as much as we have?
Our top 10 summer flowers – the floral equivalent to our summer soundtrack at Green Parlour.
We are completely spoilt at this time of year, so many gorgeous blooms available and so many delicious varieties. Although my heart lies in Spring, I have to admit my heart flutters slightly when I start to think about vases filled with delphiniums, the scent of flowering mint!
Each of the above flowers has a special place in my heart. I know there are a few marmite flowers on there, dahlias in particular seem to have a bad rep, but I cant understand how people don’t fall for them in all there multicoloured glory. I’ll have them over sunflowers any day of the week.
Scabious and later on in the season their gorgeous seed pod heads, are perfect for a summer wedding with a country vibe. Fill a jug with seeded grass and scabiosa for a lovely addition to your table.
Hydrangeas with their brash bold heads work perfectly in a vase on their own. I may even go as far to say that they are my favourite flower of all time. A bold statement from a florist!
A vase filled with some more of our favourite summer flowers including astrantia, nigella, lemon balm, veronica, scabiosa seed pod heads and Memory Lane roses.
I love the simplicity of the glass cylinder vase, perfect for a pretty hand tied arrangement of flowers. Everyone gets worried about arranging in vases, we can arrange a bouquet in any vase you have lying about the house. Pop one into the shop for some expert advise on what would bring your vase to life.
Always so cheery- spring flowers rarely fail to make me smile. With Valentines days seeming like a distant memory- who needs Roses when you’ve Ranunculus and Tulips!
There’s nothing I love more than Ranunculus! (other half, parents and siblings aside)
Note to self- I must try and grow these beauties! I heard said the other day that the Ranunculus is one of the few flowers that gets better by the day until it falls apart! I love love love them! Their layers and layers of papery thin vibrant petals and quite reminiscent of Peonies which are yet a distant summer dream!
I sent my boyfriend flowers once – a Kilner jar full of bright yellow Ranunculus (to match his car) and I remember careful attaching a cardboard tag with some gardening string and in black marker pen scrawling ‘incredibly thirsty! top me up with water every day but don’t put me in the pond!’. The latter a nod to his not so ideal approach to disguarding dead flowers! Also known as a Persian Buttercup- I was sweetly amused to discover that the gift had prompted much research on the subject.
I love the quirks that the individual flowers present- as mentioned above, Ranunculus can happily drink their way through a vase of water. Tulips – to use the scientific terminology have a ‘positive photo-tropism’ in simple terms they grow towards the light and in fact they continue to grow despite being a cut stem. I love to watch them creep up through a bouquet after several days, as if they are vying for attention!
And such beautiful colours too! We had Tulips in at the weekend which I can only describe as Apricots on stems – not the dried variety that you might find lurking in a Morrocan Tagine but fresh, plump, and inexpressibly beautiful! Its funny actually that as I refer to the invoice to share with you the variety that the actual name is ‘Mango Charm’. They got the charm bit right- but someone should check out the fruit aisle in their nearest Waitrose because they’re definitely Apricots – not Mango’s!
Stealing ten minutes with a coffee – a much needed aid to post-Valentine’s Day recovery, and I thought I’d share a little snap shot to remind us what lies ahead… yes I mean Summer! I know, we’ve Spring to come in between but I’m an optimist!
In the midst of the busy-ness that engulfs Green Parlour on v-day as we refer to it ‘in the trade’ we had some pretty Pinks dotted throughout the shop lodged in these lovely zinc containers. I love them and just looking at them makes me happy!
Updating the chalk boards is on our ‘to do’ list today! Valentine’s is so last season, it’s Mother’s Day next don’t you know! Peeping it’s head around the corner – Mothering Sunday falls on the 10th March this year- three weeks away tomorrow! Ahh… where does the time go!
As a treat for all my hard work this week, tomorrow I will assign the day to be spent in garden. There’s nothing quite like the first day you spend in the garden. It looked positively pretty in the snow until it melted! And I feel quite inspired with all our new ‘Burgeon and Ball’ goodies we had delivered in to the shop, I might even buy myself some new Gardening Gloves for the occasion. …Something about a new broom sweeping clean – does that translate into new gloves – greener fingers?? I do hope so!
All the lights are shining So brightly everywhere And the sound of children’s Laughter fills the air And everyone is singing I hear those sleigh bells ringing Santa won’t you bring me the one I really need Won’t you please bring my baby to me..
We like Mariah a little too much. Its bordering on obsessional.
Her picture is yet to join the likes of Anton du Beke, The Queen and a giraffe in our “all the things we love” board. Bide your time Mariah, perhaps this will be your year.
We are the busy elves of the flower world, clusters of these gorgeous baubles have finally filled every corner of the shop. I cannot wait to decorate our tree.
I love buying one special bauble every year, wrapped (beautifully of course) and presented in what should be, some sort of glamourous ceremony. It is duly unwrapped and placed in prime position on the chosen tree.