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Hand-tied bouquets made … well, maybe not *easy*

Calling flowers ‘hand-tied’ – rather than ‘arranged’ – sort of makes it all sound deceptively simple.  Like you just threw them together and – ta da! – they looked fabulous, dahhling.  Thing is, anyone who’s actually tried it with more than a bunch of daffs will know that, well, it’s trickier than it looks.

flower 3

In my never-ending quest to find something I’m actually good at, I was super-pleased when I was invited to go to the Petals ‘flower school’ recently and learn how to make a hand-tied bouquet that would amaze my family and friends.

David Round, who owns the Berkhamsted florist and who has been in the business for more than 20 years (since trying to impress a girlfriend’s father, who happened to be a florist), runs the flower school – and he’s reassuringly cheerful about the whole thing.  We’d be fine, he kept telling us.  And he was right.

 flower 1

And then we saw the heap of flowers – 5 different varieties (species?  brands?) – laid out in front of each one of us.  Quite frankly, had Mr C come home with any one of the 5, I’d have been happy (albeit suspicious).  But putting the 5 together to resemble, even a little bit, the gorgeous bouquet that David had ‘prepared earlier’ – well, that seemed like a bit of an ask.

flower target

This is what we were aiming for…

What flowers did we use?  Roses, lilies, chrysanthemums, lisianthus and veronica, which looked fab together.  And there was even someone called Daisy taking the class with me — how appropriate is that?

flower 5

‘Just a few blooms I’ve thrown together, darlings…’

The classes are really popular.  Apparently, David has one recurring attendee who comes every time she’s invited to dinner at a friend’s house.  She whips up a gorgeous bouquet in the morning, for about what it would cost her to buy one, and then turns up in the evening with ‘just a little something I threw together’ in hand.  Genius.


We started off watching David make a bouquet start to finish, which was great – and then he let us loose on the flowers in front of us.  We started off stripping off extraneous leaves and stems, as well as taking off the thorns from the roses with a really handy little tool.

flower 2

It’s a… um… a thing for getting thorns off the stems of roses, but I can’t help thinking it’d be handy for working on that cellulite, too…

And once we were stripped and ready for action (oo-er, missus), we had to start the actual ‘hand tying’ bit.  I’m not really a flower arranging person – or very coordinated, to be frank – but once I’d got the technique (in from the side, on an angle, twist as you go) more or less down, it started to make sense.

flower my bouquet

That’s my one! I made that!

And you know what?  Mine wasn’t half bad.  In fact, the whole group produced beautiful bouquets – and, weirdly, they all looked just a little bit different even though we all used the same flowers and followed the same instructions.

flower 4

Even though I’m not sure I can see myself carefully crafting hand-tied bouquets that often – I prefer my flowers delivered, to be fair – I can definitely see how the tips and tricks David shared (including one very useful one about keeping your water clean and your flowers alive for longer — clean your vases with bleach, and then add a tiny drop to the water too) will mean that the ones I do get sent (c’mon, Mr C – I’m hinting my socks off here) don’t look like I’ve shoved them into any old pot without thinking about it at all.  And I was inordinately proud of the bouquet I produced – and which is still gracing our living room. Fun morning, and a gorgeous bunch of flowers to take home. What’s not to like?

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