With the party season approaching and the delightfully impending dinner parties, my thoughts have turned to table settings. It’s an area of my life I’ve not felt mature enough yet to conquer, but as the nights draw in and I willingly become a home body, making my home welcoming and beautiful has become my focus again.
So I set upon researching table settings and I found that the one thing that really caught my eye were the decadent flower arrangements on the tables, it seems we’re moving into a time where floral arrangements are not solely reserved for weddings or very upmarket homes. My quest took me to the glorious Covent Garden Academy of Flowers - where better a place to absorb the art of floral arranging.
The heady scents of flowers is quite overpowering in the academy; my nostrils guided me down the stairs to the class.
We began with a short tutorial on the basics of using Oasis, which turned out to be not that basic at all; you need to soak them for a certain time and not a second longer, they absorb a serious amount of water and contain lots of nutritious food for the plants.
Once we were clear on how to treat our base, we began the process with foliage such as eucalyptus (my favourite).
Classical music was played loudly, which gave the whole experience an edge of drama!
A couple of key points that I will happily pass on are to cut stems at an angle and at the desired height and width of your table piece. Also make sure that you keep turning your ring so that the flowers and foliage are placed equally.
The next part was inserting the flowers, we had the options of some beautiful plump roses and many other smaller flowers to guide the eye around.
Once we had completed our wreaths we experimented with the display of them by using different vessels such as vases, candle holders and candelabras. These brought them to life rather spectacularly.
The whole experience was extremely therapeutic, it reminded me of the meditative state I get from painting or drawing, as you’re building up a piece bit by bit, adding layers. It takes time and focus but that’s the pleasure you get from creating something that’s truly yours.
I left with a new skill that was so easy to learn, yet difficult to perfect without the class; I think there are certain things you can’t master through YouTube videos.
I would highly recommend taking a class at the Academy, there are lots of one off day and evening courses or you can go for a block of lessons. The people I met were lovely, most had come alone and so it was a great way to interact with others or you could simply absorb yourself in your masterpiece, if you’re the quiet type.
When I got home I experimented with some neon candles and Moroccan fairy lights. I still have my wreath three weeks on; I've removed the flowers and now it’s a dried foliage wreath, just in time to wrap some ribbon around it and hang it on my door for Christmas.
You can find a wide range of courses here: http://www.academyofflowers.com/all-courses
Elizabeth Danon is an interior designer with a passion for integrating vintage pieces into modern interiors. She works at a London based architects practice and in her spare time writes about all things interior design; from luxury spas and lighting to floral arrangements and local artists.