Monday, March 16, 2015

Flower Power and Fleurish

As much as I love fresh flowers in the house, I'm not so great at arranging them. 

My usual MO is  to just buy a bunch of whatever's in season from the farmer's market on Sundays, cut the stems, and stick 'em in a vase filled with water.

Or, when someone gives me arrangements that I'm not too keen on, ahem, carnations...

I'll try to do my own editing to keep what I like and edit out what I don't.

But lately, on Instagram, I've been very inspired by @swallowsanddamsons, a beautiful little flower shop in England run by florist Anna Potter. Here's some of the eye candy she gives out on Instagram:

It's the stuff of Shakespearean dreams.

There's something so dark and lovely - so British! - about these arrangements. I'm hard pressed to find floral arrangements like that in Los Angeles. So ever the DIYer, I set out last weekend to try my own hand at flower arranging in the style of Swallows and Damsons.

Problem #1: The farmers market doesn't have all those beautiful dusty green cabbages and blood purple tulips that abound in their stuff. It's all Yeesh, California. I'm trying to be emo here.

But I tried. Here's my bounty:

After some squishing and's okay, but I just couldn't make it look so nice and full!

Afterwards, A. laughed at me because I was all bummed about my flowers turning out ugly. He's like, "You're sad you weren't able to make a flower arrangement like an internationally known professional florist on the FIRST TRY?"  Well, yes. Yes I am.

Attempt #2: Yesterday, my friend Cyn had a floral arranging party for her birthday at this cute little flower shop in Brentwood, Fleurish.  You can go to buy some stems, or an arrangement, or you can sign up to take a little in-shop tutorial where they guide you in how to arrange flowers so you can become a pro yourself at home.

It's the Drybar of florists!

There's a bar where you can take a seat to play with your blooms, and a giant walk-in fridge where all the flowers are kept.

They even have drinks, or you can bring your own pick of drinketty drank.

Wine in hand, we took a seat at the bar...

...and were handed our personal fleur-kits, containing what we needed to create our own bouquet (which we pre-ordered). You can also opt to do your own custom arrangement, and they charge you by the stem.

I chose "Snow Drift," since it seemed sort of reminiscent of a wintry English garden. Can't you just imagine The Dowager Countess walking through her garden in the snow, being all, "First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I'm living in an H.G. Wells novel!" Inside my kit were these tools:

And armed with an iPad and the guidance of our Fleurish helper, I went step by step.

Once we got our vases set up, we braved the frigid flower case to choose our own blooms. Mine included hydrangeas, roses, cymbidium orchids, and this fuzzy looking leaf.

One of our party chose to do a terrarium, so she got her pick of succulents. She (rightly) chose an adorable panda plant, among others.

Let the fun begin!

Here's my final product. Not exactly Swallows and Damsons, but not too shabby! Plus you get to keep the vase.

And here are the other arrangements made by some of the other girls:

All in all, it's not a bad way to spend a Sunday, chatting with girlfriends, drinking wine, and surrounded by beautiful flowers. Fleurish is a great place to get drunk learn more about flower arranging, have a bridal shower party, a birthday party, or just hang with friends. Their available arrangement kits vary with the seasons, so you can keep going back with different offerings. I wouldn't mind returning and trying out a custom arrangement to really test my skills. Prices for arrangement kits run from roughly $30-60. Check out more about Fleurish here.

International professional floral design, here I come!