The garden roses are blooming in abundance and the bees are busy wriggling their way in and out of the foxglove. It must be June.
Those frilly May days full of cow parsley and blossom have now given way to a balmy and still June, heavy with the scent of rose and philadephus. I can often be found barefoot in the garden, basket and scissors in hand, titting about with the roses this time of the year (am I allowed to say titting?). I would like to say to anyone who follows my personal social media that I do have friends, its just they aren't around at 6am in the morning when my head is spinning with ideas, that early morning light is spilling onto the borders in the garden and I have my phone in hand. Each morning there seems to be a new bloom to capture; which I do so to bring a little daily joy to start the day as well as creating a visual seasonal diary when suggesting blooms to my brides for future weddings. With such abundance (and very generous family members), I pick for weddings, for my desk to cheer up long admin afternoons, and plenty this time of year seem to make it onto cakes and puddings. I can assure you that my dad was thrilled when his Father's Day ginger and rhubarb cheesecake appeared adorned with frilly garden roses. Offset by the mass of bud vases placed on the table in the garden that I filled with cerise and lilac flowers picked from the garden that morning. He is a good sport.
The wild rose 'Rosa Canina' has become my latest obsession, having filled an arch with its dainty pink flowers for a freelance job with the lovely Juliet of Bablyon Flowers the other week. This rose is one prickly mistress, and my dungarees and I became uncomfortably attached to said arch several times throughout the morning, but it didn't half steal the show. I have been pulling up in lanes and stalking friends gardens trying to find that gorgeously pale blush rose to adorn my next kitchen experiment (there is always one brewing) but with little luck so far. I have just walked into dog rose petal confetti on the floor of the studio as my second vase of rosa canina pickings has turned (they shatter in the blink of an eye) and with no time this week to spend in the kitchen, I feel I may be about to loose another idea to the sketchbook. One for next June perhaps.
Back to May however, and the two beautiful weddings and a family celebrations I happily flowered up. I always become a touch nervous in the few days leading up to a wedding. Before the flowers arrive you will often find me writing a thousand lists; tools, contact numbers and timings, and my desk will be a tangle of ribbon and 'must not forget' notes. Those last minute peonies are popped into my basket (because who can resist) and an obscene amount of vase/urn washing takes place in preparation for the task ahead. There is always homemade cake ready, always, for nothing is more restorative than hot tea and cake when working on your feet from dawn till dusk. Last minute timings and loose ends are tied up by email, as I know once I get going there is no time to address admin.
And then the flowers arrive, and all worries are banished on their arrival at the workbench. As I start conditioning and syphoning off blooms into buckets for their individual roles, that creative switch is triggered and my hands are itching to make a start. What proceeds for the next 24-48 hours is a flurry of floral activity, where I am happiest, as all the months of planning and decision making come together.
So on that second of the two May bank holidays, armed with a studio of the most delicious flowers, I created an abundance of May beauty for Rachel and Pete. I have been lucky to know Rachel for a long time, with her sister Lucy (also bridesmaid and her daughter one of the flower girls) a friend for nearly 20 years. Rachel and Pete, the loveliest couple you could ever meet, simply asked for seasonal flowers in white and greens.
We brought the outside into the beautiful St Giles Church in Stoke Poges, with a selection of large floor standing urns filled with foxglove, peony, cow parsley, philadelphus and blossoming hawthorn. These urns welcomed guests into the church, framed Rachel and Pete standing in the aisle as they said their vows to one another, and sat peacefully on the altar (kindly left by the bride and groom to welcome the Sunday congregation the following day).
At Lillibrooke Manor, a favourite venue of mine, we welcomed guests into the walled garden with more urns full of May bounty, and reception drinks were enjoyed in the sunshine with smaller white and green flower filled table urns for guests to enjoy. The table plan, a large mirror, was framed with a meadow style garland, full of sweetly scented sweetpea, frothy spirea, bobbling heads of Orlaya and Nigella and plenty of seasonal foliage. In the centre of each round guest table, I placed an antique silver urn full of delicate white blooms nestled amongst foliage. These asymmetric arrangements held scented garden roses, wisps of spirea, curling foxglove, an abundance of purest white sweetpea, and a tangle of others such as orlaya, cow parsley and blossom. Their lightness and wispiness added that final romantic flourish to the beautiful old barn at Lillibrooke.
Rachel and her maids carried all the beauty of the May with them down the aisle at St Giles, their natural and asymmetric bouquets complimented by the gents individually designed buttonholes and flower girls in their dainty floral circlets. The quaint Buckinghamshire church in which they chose to marry and the simplicity of their colour palette made for a truly beautiful ceremony, and I know they were surrounded by the love and laughter of loved ones throughout the day. It was a May wedding to remember and I cannot thank Rachel and Pete enough for being such a joy to work with.
Having placed the last urn in situ at Lillibrooke, I headed back to the studio to make a start on Jess & Liam's beautiful garden wedding for the following day (coming soon). It is safe to say I might need to find a bigger studio, having made use of every available surface over that May bank holiday. The neighbours were most intrigued. One can dream for now, at least.