Best. Flowers. Ever.

We’ve been doing a lot of wedding floristry planning over the last week or so at Petalon HQ. It’s always a bit of an up and down experience. Sketching ideas and working out how to make what we want to make within the architecture of the building / tent / whatever in question is great fun and a nice challenge, but inevitably trying to make those ideas fit within the budget without saying things we’ll regret like “Oh we’ll just do it for free!” is stressful at times.

When we’re developing these ideas we inevitably borrow from our experience of previous constructions. As a result, the design process is at once an exercise in originality but also a nice reminder of what we’ve made in the past. With that in mind, this week in the journal Florence, James & Becki recall their favourite ever floristry they’ve worked on with Petalon.

Florence: The Christie’s Flower Wall

I nearly turned down this last minute enquiry. I was heavily pregnant and the date of the event turned out to be on my due date with our daughter - even for me that was a little last minute. But with the reassurance from James and the team that they had it in hand if I did go into labour (and also the intriguing prospect of my waters breaking at Christie’s… Was it like Tesco’s but instead of getting free nappies they’d give me some art?!) From the start this was always going to be a winner. A lovely client who was super open about what they wanted while being relaxed about allowing us make what we thought was best, not to mention that they already had a Cherry Picker on site that we were allowed to use. The flower wall was constructed as a backdrop for a private viewing and dinner in a cavernous room at the Christie’s auction house in St James. It was two storeys tall (Will, pictured in the first picture below, is over 6 foot tall). The construction was a combination of timber, 2x2, floral foam and chicken wire. It took a day to build the wall then 6 of us about 8 hours to do the floristry. A calm, well planned process with a relaxed client, amazing florists and a really satisfying result.

James: Tori & Ollie’s arch

Though I see myself as very much on board with Petalon’s general style, there’s definitely a sub-section of work we do that I have a particularly great love for. You’ll know when I’m working on it because I’ll be repeatedly, irritatingly whispering the word “Jumanji”. Those of you who’ve seen the original Robin Williams film (not to be confused with the new, surprisingly funny one with the Rock in it) will probably know what I mean. In the film the jungle grows through the walls of buildings rapidly, and I think this may be where my soft spot for anything that makes a building look like it’s alive began. Tori & Ollie’s arch at Old Billingsgate was a perfect example of something that feels like it’s growing out of the structure around it. This is especially challenging when the building has been “modernised” as Old Billingsgate has with lots of glazing and square lines. But mainly thanks to some exceptionally talented florists (Rachael Barker & Leo Costello) we managed to create something I’m really, really proud of. It was all the more rewarding after I spend a good few hours the previous day bending clematis vines in our bathtub at home so that it looked extra windy. I even managed to sustain a cut on my forehead from where one of them resisted bending and pinged back at me!

Becki: The Von Halle Cloud

My favourite has to be the flower cloud installation we made for the Olivia Von Halle store for Chelsea Flower Show this year. The ingredients weren’t complicated - 2500 Santini spray chrysanthemums and a bit of smoke bush. The construction was more complicated; tubes of chicken wire with bundles of the Santini packed into degradable sleeves with flower gel to keep them going. The shape was really 3-D, coming in and out from the door and swooping down to create the impression of movement. Perfect evidence that a lot of this type of floristry is closer to architecture than a table arrangement in it’s design.

You can find out more about our wedding and event floristry here

Florence Hill