"Here's One I Made Earlier"

It must be in the genes. Both my daughter Libby and I grew up wanting to be Blue Peter presenters. And now when we are gathered together with friends, the day before my best friend Pip's birthday, she is one of the first to step up to have a go at making flower arrangements for the party. That's my girl!
Luckily, as we have quite a few to do, she is not the only one. We are staying with a crowd of friends in a hotel in Nothumberland. On the morning of the party some decided on a walk in the driving rain, whilst a few of us decide on some extreme flower arranging. Well, it is not really extreme; lots of coffee and gossip, as I run a very informal workshop.
If you are unsure of what colour scheme to go for (as I was, not having seen the venue) I think you cannot go wrong with white and cream flowers. These look particularly good in candlelight, as does waxy foliage as it reflects the light -as you can see from this glossy ivy leaf.
It is not long after this that I am back running another workshop, this time for some ladies in Solihull. On this occasion I decide to work with lots of vibrant colour. But again I get to see the effect of different light on flowers. As the afternoon stretches out the flowers are beautifully lit by slanting shafts of winter sunshine.
Such an easy idea. A small gift bag, lined with cellophane. Pop in a small bit of Oasis and add three roses and some foliage. In this case a rose called Sudoku and some Australian waxflower.
Perfect for a lunchtime thank you or as favour for a wedding party table.
For colourful hand-ties I chose cerise ranunculus, pale pink parrot tulips and plum anemones.
Even the jug I fill with left over stems makes me smile. This rose is called Upper Secret and reminds me of raspberry ripple ice cream.
Taking french-grey enamel buckets, the ladies of Solihull fill them with crimson spray roses and aubergine coloured astrantia.
By the end of the afternoon everyone seems pleased and proud of what they have made and decide we should all get together for a Christmas workshop. They ask if it is too soon to book me - but I am now used to being booked sometimes as much as 2 years ahead by gardening and flower clubs. At first I was startled into laughing when I was rung by a local club looking for a date in June 2013. I rather wondered whether I would still be here, let alone the rather wobbly elderly gardener on the end of the phone!

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