Not your average florists.
You only have to walk into any room of my house, peer into my wardrobe, or even just inhale a whiff of me (between the hours of 8 and 10am of course!) and you’d know that flowers are a running theme throughout. My Grandparents would take it in turn to take me on tours of their garden and the latest bulbs they’d seasonally planted and my Mum would spend hours in our garden armed with a trowel, rambling on about germination of some description. Even my Dad discovered a new favourite ‘man time’ which consisted of sitting on a lawnmower for hours on end driving in methodical horizontal lines. Coming from Wales, I suppose we had all the ‘greenery’ you could dream of.
So when I came across The Flower Appreciation Society on the Toast Travels blog (a beautifully curated diary of happenings, musings and all round things of good taste), I was half expecting to see poetical verses lamenting on the beauty of Mother Nature and its offerings, but I instead uncovered the two super talented ladies behind the florists that are “not your average florists”. Having set up a studio in Hackney, they don’t operate from a traditional shop but work on rather a more personal basis whereby you simply get in touch with them, tell them what you’re after and they’ll pop out to the local flower markets that day to select the best seasonal flowers. It beats your average Interflora anyday…
Their floral flair has caught the eye of the likes of The Telegraph, The Independent, Numero Magazine, Company, and they’ve created the flowers for editorial sets, star spangled parties and who knows what’s next – they really know their periwinkles from their peonies. The Wonder Gallery caught up with Anna & Ellie, the creative minds behind the artistry….
1. How did you both come to meet and create The Flower Appreciation Society?
We actually met in a pub working behind a bar, I was doing a year long floristry course and Ellie’s mum is a florist in Wales. Not only did we both love flowers, but also had art school backgrounds (Ellie had done textiles and i did illustration) and a mutual appreciation of Neil Young! The Flower Appreciation Society slowly evolved- first was the flowers for a wedding at the pub we worked in, then weekly flowers for the pub, then more weddings, then we could buy a camera.. then came the website.
2. How did you learn your craft?
I did this year long course, and did work experience in a flower shop. Ellie helped her mum out with weddings in her summers and also interned for a London florist for a year.
3. Tell us about your floral studio…..
We’re based in Hackney, East London and have a studio that we share with friends who are prop and set makers, so someone is always making something. It is a dream of a place, and we feel very lucky as before we moved in in June we had worked on kitchen tables, pub function rooms and even car parks!
4. What are your favourite flower/s?
Lilac, peonies, helebores, garden roses, dahlias, ranunculas, anenomes, mint.. it changes all the time..
5. If you could create a floral arrangement for any event in history what would it be?
Our signature Floral headdresses for everyone at Woodstock festival, 1969
6. Have you received many weird/wonderful requests?
Someone phoned us today and asked if we knew where they could get hold of some sword fish! Making full sized animals out of flowers.. making Heston Blumenthal-esque scientific arrangements..
7. What are your favourite flower markets?
New Covent Garden, Vauxhall and Columbia Road
8. Where do you draw inspiration from?
We love looking at books and magazines (The Plant is a great one for all floral lovers), we love going to the national gallery to look at old dutch paintings and how they arranged flowers. And just living in London is so inspiring just walking around with eyes wide open.
9. What would be your tips when picking out a bouquet?
Choose seasonal flowers as much as possible, choose flowers that are closed so you can watch them open, and they’ll last for longer..
10. What’s next for The Flower Appreciation Society?
Wedding season is nearly upon us.. we’re also involved in patternity’s Power of Pattern festival in April which we’re very much looking forward to, and a collaboration with Anthropology for Chelsea Flower Show week..
You can find out more about The Flower Appreciation Society here: http://theflowerappreciationsociety.co.uk/