Happy New Year and happy foraging from Stems of Holborn

Happy New Year to you all and happy foraging from Stems of Holborn. The news of two vaccines now available has shed a new light on 2021, and as we should be at the start of a new year, we can start to feel hopeful. Foraged by @stemsfloral……

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Just before lockdown last March, I was asked to supply some mossy branches for a photo shoot for Vogue. Still at the shop in London, I had to make it home before dusk to forage the best mossy branches. This hawthorn, growing on a damp, windy corner of a lane, fitted the bill perfectly.

Foraging

One of my favourite pastimes in the whole world is foraging, and there has been plenty of time for it during the pandemic. I love to look at the countryside close up – like through a magnifying glass – and discover buds beside brown, dried seedheads, mossy patches, ivy clinging to tree trunks, blossoms, berries and grasses.

This is actually blackberry and sloe jam!

Sloe berries grow by the river here, on the beautiful blackthorn trees with their long thorns and spectacular, white blossom in spring. You can pick the sloes, then the blackberries along the lane towards home. We made this lovely jam in the summer. The sloes give it a sharp note.

Blackberry and sloe jam recipe

1kg fruit and 1kg jam sugar

Freeze the sloes, as this will soften the skin and allow the juices to run out. Use two-thirds blackerries and one-third sloes. Put the fruit in a stainless steel saucepan on a low heat and pour in the sugar. Melt very slowly till the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to get a slow bubble, stirring all the time. Heat your jars in a 120 degrees c oven to sterilise for a few minutes. Put a plate in the freezer to cool. When you can see creases in the jam, ( after about 30 minutes), smear a teaspoon of jam on the cold plate. If it hardens, it’s ready.

Foraging in winter is also fun. I have found tall dried teasel, berried ivy, trailing ivy, mosses, cones and branches Soon, the tiny snowdrops will be pusing their way up through the earth, followed by crocuses in gold and purple.

Happy 2021 to you all!

Jan is a florist and has a shop in Sicilian Avenue, Bloomsbury, London.

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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.

Florist in central London


As a florist in central London for the past 32 years, ( we are in Sicilian Avenue, Bloomsbury), I’ve seen many changes in the flower industry.
The biggest changes have been the supermarkets taking a larger share of flower sales, and of course, the internet.
Many shops used to survive on orders from a relay company, such as Interflora or Teleflorist, but with the help of Google, people can now contact a shop direct in any given area.
A good florist will always do something far better than anything you will find in a supermarket. Most florists are passionate about flowers, and you’ll end up with something special.
With the big day, (Valentine’s) approaching, make sure you place your order in plenty of time. We can source almost any flower, grade A1, and deliver a beautiful bouquet to your loved one.
Call us on 020 7831 6776 or 07932 052411 or email janet@stemsfloraldesign.com