LOOKING at all the nostalgic images of the Coronation that were around at the beginning of June, there appeared to be one thing missing… flowers! The Queen wasn’t carrying any and unlike the royal weddings, there didn’t appear to be many in Westminster Abbey. However, I’ve discovered that Elizabeth did have flowers; the Worshipful Company of Gardeners presented her with a bouquet comprising orchids and lilies-of-the-valley from England, stephanotis from Scotland, carnations from Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and orchids from Wales.
And the Abbey and Buckingham Palace were decorated for the occasion under the guidance of the extraordinary Constance Spry, the woman who turned floral arranging into the art it is seen as today.
It’s hard to believe now but BC (Before Constance), flower arranging was seen as just another service performed by those in trade. Constance was having none of that! She regarded herself as a floral artist; she only entered her clients’ homes via the front door and her vision turned the floral world upside down.
Her design featuring autumn berries and leaves mixed with green orchids actually drew crowds to the London perfumery where she displayed it. During WWII - I love this - she even decorated the sandbags outside her London shop. Absolutely brilliant! Sadly, finding good quality photographs that I could use proved too difficult, so you will have to make do with a few images of mine.
She died in 1960 but I think she showed that floral art; whether it’s a posy for your table or an entire wedding, is something that must be fresh and imaginative and above all, personal.
I know from talking to my customers that this is what they want from their flowers. Like Constance, they want to experiment and so, with that in mind, I am now running workshops; Bridal Blooms - Flowers for the Handmade Wedding and Floral Fun - Flowers for the Home.
If you are interested in finding out more about Constance Spry and her revolutionary take on floristry, then please visit the Design Museum here or English Heritage here. And if you want to read more about the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation, then click through to the Telegraph here.
Love and blue skies
Words: Louise Bowditch
Photographs: BlueCloud Photography