Bringing Floral Inspiration from the Countryside to the City.

Windsor Great Park

Lockdown brought a new way of life for me. I have owned Stems of Holborn for 35 years, firstly living in Islington, and then for the past 20 years, living in Old Windsor and commuting to London.

i think most of us push the long commute to the back of our minds, or tell ourselves the job makes it worthwhile. But the truth is, it eats up several precious hours. It’s often crowded and uncomfortable, or in my case, necessitates getting up at 5am.
Having had 5 months free of commuting, I see a quality of life that I want to hang on to. I miss the work, but like many other people, I’m looking for a compromise.

oak tree

Windsor Great Park

I am lucky to live very close to this amazing place where you can walk or cycle for miles. There are some very deserted areas, and others with cafes and play areas. I favour the quieter parts, where I can feel at one with nature. I find the colours and shapes inspirational.

A gift to the Queen

He ground beneath these oaks was strewn with acorns – a feast for the squirrels and wildlife. The dead oak was like a grand sculpture. The cumulo nimbus clouds looked beautiful against all the green, and the remains of Storm Francis provided a lovely breeze.

Flowers for Special Occasions

These beautiful flowers were designed to say Welcome home. We filled an apartment in the Coty with vases of colourful, scented flowers. It was a really summery, romantic selection.

summer bouquet

I love these mauve campanula – graceful and strong, they epitomise English summer flowers.

Back to the City

Schools will reopen after The Bank Holiday Weekend. Offices will reopen in the City. Retail and Hospitality in the City has suffered enormously with the absence of office workers. Hopefully, things will gradually and safely get back to some sort of normality. I think we have all learnt something, or been reminded about quality and preciousness of life during the past few months.

Wedding flowers ideas

Wild bridal bouquet in peach and white for April wedding
Wild bride
A bridal bouquet in vintage shades of pink, mauve and soft greens
Vintage pinks bouquet

Wedding flowers are a joy to design! Such an important day, and we are the right people to help create the fairy-tale look for your flowers!

The softer tones are definitely popular at the moment. We love the vintage shades in bouquets, including the gorgeous Memory Lane roses. The introduction of clematis to the cut flower collection adds the wild look, as well as Green Bell, which looks like Shepherd’s purse, with its tiny, heart-shaped leaves.

Eucalyptus is the favoured foliage, keeping the look very gentle. Astilbe is wild and wispy, and the spring ranunculae look like little peonies.

We recommend going for either the palest peaches with soft green and white, or the vintage pinks. They both have a very gentle, serene look.

If you’re having rectangular dining tables for your wedding or event, little clusters of vases look fab, perhaps interspersed with candles.

Circular tables can have a ring of flowers, surrounding a storm lantern with a candle, or filled with flowers.

It’s a good idea to create a Pinterest board for your florist, which can show the feel you want for your day – dresses, venues, flowers you love….

We have been supplying wedding flowers for over thirty years, and have seen all the changing trends – and returning trends! The best thing about now is the vast selection of flowers there are to choose from. From big Colombian roses to the tiniest, snowflake rosebuds, from indigenous, English country garden blooms to exotic orchids fron the Far East.

Meadow flowers

Meadow flowers in March
Foraging in July

There seem to be lots of corporate events taking place earlier than usual this year, possibly due to the Brexit effect, and all the uncertainty surrounding it.

Anyway, exciting for us to be given new challenges, and no time to feel the exhaustion from the week before!

Wild, natural and meadow flowers are very popular right now. If you’re looking for the natural look, but with flowers out of season, it’s a bit more tricky to recreate in the early part of the year.

Some flowers with all year round availability, like veronica and clematis, have a wild, natural look, with their delicate nature. But fresh grasses and seed heads are not available.

The first image shows the meadow bouquet we created this week, from cultivated flowers. The soft mauves, pinks, whites and yellows of a summer meadow, and the small, delicate blooms of wild flowers have been used.

This image shows what is really on offer in the garden at this time of year – wallflowers, japonica, myrtle, lavender leaves and camellia. The abundance of green, in all its various shades, is missing, and is replaced with blossom and leafless trees.

I’m working with a couple who’ll be getting married in July. I’ve seen the venue, and I know where they’d like flowers, but I hadn’t seen an image of the bride’s dress. They had described it to me. When I finally saw the dress, it was a reminder of how important it is to see the whole picture. The colours were not what I had envisaged, neither in shade nor in quantity.

My favourite time for flowers is in the summer, when we are surrounded by a profusion of green and flowers. Nature provides all the inspiration I need to create amazing designs.

My preference is always to add flowers to a backdrop of foliage, just like we see in the wild. The natural curves, gnarls – and even gaps, allow us to see the true beauty of their juxtaposition.

It’s amazing how certain flowers thrive some years, and not others. Of course it depends on the weather, but not just the recent weather. A dry winter can have an effect on what happens in summer.

The cow parsley was beautiful this year. All of a sudden, one hot day at the end of May finished off all the beautiful white clusters in my garden.

This was soon replaced with the joy of seeing the first digitalis, or foxgloves, as they are affectionately known. Tall and proud, they sway gently in the breeze.