I love flowers. In my opinion, like chocolate, hugs and fresh fruit and vegetables you simply cannot ever have too many.
My love of flowers comes, I think, from my lovely mother. I remember that growing up in Karori we always had a big English Country garden. It was full of hydrangeas, magnolias and roses. We used to run around and play all afternoon, while mum gardened and then, around 4, would bring out a big tray of lemonade and something to have to eat so we could sit down. From dawn until dusk, we would follow the sun. Inside, my mum would always have big bunches of stock or more hydrangeas in a vase. Even when we moved from the house with a garden, the flowers moved with her.
"My love of flowers comes, I think, from my lovely mother. I remember that growing up in Karori we always had a big English Country garden. It was full of hydrangeas, magnolias and roses."
So I was thrilled to be invited by Yvette Edwards to the latest in a series of workshops they are running at Sally Eagle Bridal on lower Cuba Street. It was all about hand picked bouquets. I love Yvette Edwards flowers because they have a real English feel to them. Yvette loves all the same flowers my mother, and now I, do - and she loves the same type of foliage filled bunches. Yvette is an amazing talent, who does styling and events as well as flowers, so obviously I leapt at the chance.
I arrived and - grabbing a Six Barrel Soda (celery is my favourite) I mingled a bit with the other people who had come along. Sitting down, I was opposite a vivacious and funny woman who I recognised as the owner of the beautiful store Madam Fancy Pants on Cuba Street (her Instagram account is on point!) and a small brunette girl, who it turned out was the wondrously skilled designer, Sally Eagle. While scoffing chippies and cheese and crackers, we waited for Yvette to start weaving her magic.
"After selecting her bunch, she explained how to put it all together, arrange the flowers and everything from trimming the stems to stripping the leaves in the correct fashion"
Yvette explained how to make a bouquet - similar to hers - from selecting the flowers through to weaving wiring of pinecones to tying it with ribbon over brown paper. She began by explaining which flowers she had selected for us to work with and then talking us through the quantities.
After selecting her bunch, she explained how to put it all together, arrange the flowers and everything from trimming the stems to stripping the leaves in the correct fashion. I had always wondered what was the best way to put together the perfect bunch of flowers. You can read so many different theories online, it really helped me to have an expert explain it, step by step.
The class went at a good, reasonable pace. While putting my bunch together, I had a great time getting to know Sally and Claire (Claire is Madam Fancy Pants). It was lovely and sociable and relaxed. There were also a group for a upcoming wedding at the class, making bouquets together which I thought was divine.
My favourite things about the class were getting to know Sally and Claire (they were so nice and friendly), watching my bouquet come together - but also hearing Yvette's stories from Yvette herself. Even when I am not interviewing someone, I really love asking questions! It's becoming an ingrained habit...but Yvette was kind enough to answer as many of my questions as she could.
Yvette explained to me that she was originally from Buckinghamshire. While working at a recruitment agency after completing a degree in psychology she realised that she was not passionate about her job. She desperately wanted to do something more rewarding, like working with flowers. So she ended up getting a Saturday job at a florist. Eventually she transitioned into doing floristry full time. She notes that she was lucky because her training at that florist was in very tasteful flowers (as she puts it). This has lead to the evolution of Yvette's current elegant, English inspired aesthetic.
"Yvette hand picks all the flowers herself, following the seasons in New Zealand so she can use as many locally grown plants as possible"
Yvette hand picks all the flowers herself, following the seasons in New Zealand so she can use as many locally grown plants as possible. Standing in the room was heavily as all the smells were so fresh and light. It was like being in the most delicious perfumery of all time.
When we had all completed bouquet arranging, Yvette showed us how to tie our bunches together correctly. Finally we all were given a choice of ribbon and brown paper to tie it all together. Yvette also explained her tips for making a bunch of flowers last a long time (perfect for me because I really want to get the life out of a bunch when I have one in the house!) Of course, the brown paper barely stayed on for 5 minutes because I wanted to keep them all for myself so I took it off when I got home!
"Finally we all were given a choice of ribbon and brown paper to tie it all together!"
I absolutely 100% recommend taking one of Yvette's classes if you get the chance. I love Yvette's style and pure passion and enthusiasm for flowers. You will have a lovely evening, learn lots about flowers and meet some wonderful new people, most of all Yvette herself.
You can find out more about Yvette here. You can also order her flowers online, including signing up for a regular subscription of her flowers. She also has a great blog she co-founded called 'Well Travelled Bride'. Thanks Yvette. I am so glad you came from England to New Zealand to sprinkle a little of your sweet scented magic here in Wellington. Be quick to book in for one of tow upcoming Mother's Day classes. You can find out more by going to her Facebook Page.