Garden Day is back on Sunday, 9th May, whatever the weather, with a flower-filled day to celebrate the life-enhancing power of gardens. Plant-lovers everywhere are invited to down their gardening tools, make a flower crown and share their gardens with friends and family over an alfresco cup of tea, bite to eat or a glass or two (adhering to government guidelines, of course). Full details below.
The flower crown has become the symbol of support for the Garden Day movement. This ancient celebration of spring takes on a new life in the hands of talented florists, when given the chance to let their creative urges run wild!
Here five top florists give us their take on the vital components for the ultimate flower crown (and don’t miss the video below too).
Floral designer and Garden Day Ambassador, Hazel Gardiner, grew up amongst a family of garden enthusiasts, and her love of the garden informs her style. Hazel has a love for fresh, seasonal flowers and also for using dried flowers and foliages in a contemporary way.
“This crown is about combining the unexpected. I knew I wanted to work with a mix of fresh and dried flowers and to play around with the structure. I wanted to give it a striking and editorial edge through an asymmetrical design. My flower crown is very much about tone and colour, and the colours that I am drawn to – lavender, whites and pink. I wanted to create an ombre effect. Lots of the elements will dry really nicely. I’m really into designing ‘forever flowers’.
In her Garden Day crown, Hazel has worked with lilac lisianthus, white scabious, chrysanthemums and frothy gypsophila.
Follow her on Instagram @hazelgardinerdesign
Gardener, florist and poultry fancier, Arthur Parkinson is a Garden Day ambassador and no stranger to the theatricality of the flower crown.
“I think we’ve had eccentricity and flamboyance beaten out of us by peer pressure or society. Flowers take us back to nature and make us a bit bolder and more dramatic. Considering what’s happening in the world, flower crowns are a way of being a little bit free and expressing ourselves.
You don’t have to strip a garden to make a flower crown. You can pick billowy cow parsley by the road – and you can make a flower crown very quickly out of cow parsley. Use willow or flexible branches to form the base, and stuff it closely to make a full look. Or take a peony and put it in your hair with a clothes peg! I’ve not always got time to do flower crowns.
Arthur created his Garden Day flower crown (pictured) from honeysuckle, roses, ammi, grasses, nerines, buddleia, dahlias.
Follow him on Instagram @arthurparkinson_
When she’s in her garden in Sussex surrounded by her four precious dogs rescued from across the globe, Nikki Tibbles, the founder of both Wild at Heart and the Wild at Heart Foundation, and a Garden Day Ambassador, is clearly in her element.
“I love being outside whatever the weather. I’m at my happiest when I’m outside in plain jeans, a big old baggy shirt and jumper. At my home in Sussex, I’ve planted most of what’s in the garden. I love things that look overgrown, wild and natural. My garden is not formal – like my flowers and my life! I like things that do not go together. Nature provides a constant source of surprise and generosity, colour and texture.”
Nikki’s delicate wired Garden Day crown of garden roses, clematis and wax flower complements the exquisite flower collars of her faithful hounds. On a base of eucalyptus and rosemary, the dogs’ collars are a stunning combination of garden roses, spray roses, bouvardia, phlox and wax flower.
Wolves Lane Flower Company
Urban flower farmers, Marianne Mogendorff and Camilla Klich of Wolves Lane Flower Company, grow their seasonal, sustainable blooms in a horticultural centre tucked away in North London. As professional farmer-florists, do they ever stop to spend a little downtime on their plot?
“Flower farming is very physical work and we can easily get to the end of a nine hour day and realise we’ve sat down for all of 20 minutes cumulatively! It’s very easy to stop and immediately notice 20 jobs that need doing! Spring mornings and summer evenings are one of our favourite times of year to wander with less purpose to observe and appreciate how our plants are growing and changing. The morning light or evening dusk can make even our shambolic glasshouse look golden and romantic and definitely causes you to pause and reflect.”
Naturally enough, Marianne and Camilla handpicked the flowers and foliage for their vibrant festival-style flower crowns from their glasshouse and outdoor plots. Sunshine in a flower crown: a warm mix of zinnias, grasses, dahlias, rudbeckia, brachyglottis, eucalyptus, achillea and ivy.
Follow them on Instagram @wolveslaneflowercompany
Sophie Powell of McQueens
As principal tutor at McQueens Flower School in London, the talented Sophie Powell has created a fair few flower crowns using dozens of different techniques, and taught hundreds of budding florists how to make their own.
“The most wonderful thing about flower crowns is that you can be very resourceful in terms of the ingredients that you can use. You don’t need to have a garden filled with lots of foliage – you could go foraging, use dried flowers or even herbs from the supermarket! You also don’t need to go to a specialist shop for wire or a base – you can use a metal coat hanger.”
“Creating flower crowns is a great sociable activity with friends. Get a group together in the garden and get creative! Flower Crowns can really showcase personalities and personal style – whether it’s through flower choices or colour. They’re a great way to stand out – in my opinion, the bigger, the better!”
And for Garden Day, Sophie certainly chose to go bigger combining the very best of the spring garden in a sensational flower crown design: lilac, Crown Imperial fritillaries, pansies, rosemary, frilled tulips, alchemilla mollis, icelandic poppies, ranunculus, olive and bay leaves and scented lily of the valley.
Follow McQueens Flower School @mcqueensflowers
Now find out how Sophie made her magnificent crown in this step-by-step video, and try making your own for Garden Day on Sunday, 9th May. Share your flower crown photos online using #GardenDayUK and you may win one of 10 £100 National Garden Gift vouchers.
And for more videos and information on Garden Day and inspirational ideas for how to celebrate on Sunday 9 May, don’t forget to visit gardenday.co.uk