Hello strangers. I am not going to berate myself, for once, for neglecting the journal for so long. It has simply been the most flower filled summer season to date for Verity & Thyme and for that I am so grateful. I sit here writing at my desk mid September, favourite jumper pulled somewhat reluctantly from the bottom of the cupboard and hot mug of tea to hand, exhausted but elated following another lovely summer creating florals for weddings and happy celebrations. I seem to waffle on about autumn an awful lot in this journal; the heartbreak of waving goodbye to those sun drenched summer months coupled with the joys of a new season, new flowers, and time to spend in the kitchen. Easing into this slower season gives me chance to write, to reflect, and to update you faithful readers (thank you) on what actually happens here at Verity & Thyme. All whilst eating copious bowls of apple crumble and custard. Autumn has its perks. I noted the mist hugging the fields on a very early morning drive through the Chiltern Hills on the way back from London the other day, and it soothed a tired mind. Just when you think you haven't got a creative ounce left in you, I was suddenly excited by thoughts of pale honey hued roses & wisps of old man's beard in hedgerow foraged wreaths. The paler shade of autumn I have always been drawn to.
However, let us not get ahead just yet, as I wish to walk you through a truly romantic wedding at Danesfield House this August for the lovely Mark & Kat. Captured predominantly on film, a rare occurrence in the height of wedding season, this one was a particular beauty. A palette of palest blush pink, white and green was happily agreed with lovely bride Kat, allowing me to suggest the best blooms of the late summer season. Garden rose, hydrangea, scabious, jasmine, ammi, Japanese anemone and those forever favourite Cafe Au Lait dahlia, with plenty of seasonal foliage and trailing tendrils to give that 'simply grown there' aesthetic. I knew this would look rather spectacular sitting pretty in the powder pink Versailles suite at Danesfield House with its twinkling chandeliers, antique gold mirrors and hand painted murals.
Kat and her bridesmaid carried late summer posies, light in foliage to showcase those blousy dahlia and endless ruffles of favourite roses. Finished with streams of hand dyed silk ribbon (naturally dyed with avocado - more on this to come), wisps of sweetly scented jasmine and clouds of ammi provided both movement and romance. Mark and his best men wore palest pink rose buttonholes to compliment the bride, peppered with sprigs of rosemary and finished with a signature spray of variegated thyme. Bound with the silk ribbon offcuts from the bride's bouquet, the natural style buttonholes softened the dapper top hat and tails.
Choosing the pretty Versailles Suite for their wedding ceremony, asymmetric natural style floral arrangements were placed at specific focal points to bring the outside into this grand room. With the Cafe Au Lait dahlia taking centre stage as usual, grown just up the road in Henley by my favourite Bosely Patch, I created natural style low ceremony urns with an abundance of August bounty. Wild curls of clematis vine and bobbing Japanese anemone added shape and movement, whilst scented garden rose, apple green hydrangea and palest pink pom pom dahlia were framed with curling stems of scabious. The urns were placed on tall white plinths for maximum impact as you entered the ceremony space, bringing the flowers closer to both the eye and the nose.
The towering black marble fireplace at the far end of the room, where Mark & Kat stood to read their vows to one another, received what I am now coining the 'V&T meadow treatment'. Provide me with a level surface, preferably above a large fireplace, and I will joyfully bring together a freeform arrangement to look as if a meadow has simply grown in situ. It softens a large feature, bringing a sense of interest and intimacy to the space and creating a beautiful focal backdrop to the ceremony. I collected great armfuls of curled, twisting, misbehaving boughs of late summer foliage and let them do their unruly thing across the mantle. Plenty of ammi, anemone and scabious were added next to create a wildflower meadow base, with the dahlia, clusters of spray rose and lengths of jasmine adding the final romantic flourish. Placed in front of the large gold gild mirror above the mantle, it doubled in size in situ as it sat under the sparkling chandelier.
Following the ceremony, whilst the newlyweds and loved ones enjoyed champagne on the terrace overlooking the Thames, I carried the fireplace meadow and urns across the hallway and into the Oak Room for the wedding breakfast celebrations. A large oval table ran the length of the room, on which I placed the floral urns and peppered with clusters of cut glass candlesticks & blush pink dinner candles. The intricately carved fireplace mantle behind Mark & Kat's chairs received the mantle meadow, which looked as at home here as it did in the Versailles Suite. Leaving the room to allow the celebrations to continue, I can only imagine how special that room looked as the sun set and the candles were lit that night. Flickering candlelight, an abundance of blooms, good food and plenty of wine. Congratulations lovely Kat & Mark.
I have been lucky to dress Danesfield House for lovely weddings both big and small, choosing flowers and creating arrangements that compliment both the grandeur of the Versailles Suite and the softer elegance of the wood panelled Oak Room. It is always a joy to be invited into such a beautiful space with my blooms, and I happily have many more in the diary to come. If you are thinking of celebrating your wedding (or event) at Danesfield House then don't hesitate to drop me a note and we can pop a date in the diary to meet up in the coming weeks to talk through your ideas. Preferably over a cup of tea and a freshly baked biscuit by the roaring log fire in the Grand Hall. See you there...