How to choose the best autumn flowers to warm you up!

Autumn flowers
Thistle, eryngium

The best autumn flowers are now available – summer dahlias and all year round picture perfect gerbera are mixed with physalis, nutans, lisianthus and gentian to create amazingly colourful bouquets that make you feel warm inside. It’s like a celebration of the end of summer, glowing colours like an autumn bonfire.
Many flowers are now available all year round, but most do have a time when they are at their best. At Stems we tend to reflect the season not only by that, but also by our colour combinations. The oranges, golds, reds and browns reflect the colours we see in nature in the autumn, so autumn flowers, to us, are about the colours.
The reappearance of Chinese lanterns and gourds are a lovely reminder of the proximity of Bonfire Night and Halloween.
So how to find the best autumn flowers? Go and visit your local florist and remember that only a small proportion of what is available can be found in supermarkets. You can also add to your choices by foraging yourself. Who knows – you might even find something edible too!
There is so much foliage to choose from, and it’s a great way to produce a large display at low cost. It can also add height to a displays. We stock pistache, eucalyptus, fern, aspidistra, fatsia, oak and other seasonal folige, depending on what looks good.

Rainbows, autumn leaves, bonfires, the golden sunshine of autumn are all reflected in our new range of bouquets in-store and the online shop.
If you’re looking for weekly office flowers, you’d be surprised at the choice of flowers available. Too often it seems that only exotic flowers are used in office displays. There are many indigenous flowers that can be used if displayed in the right way. Some of them can ecen be dried – Chinese lanterns, twisted willow..
We also incorporate gourds and pumpkins in our displays. Images to follow in other posts!
I haven’t been foraging this week, but I have been photographing the flowers and foliage in the countryside which are mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, compiling a gallery for future reference. It’s a beautiful book – Botanical Shakespeare, by Gerit Quealy. Great for a birthday or Christmas gift for flower lovers!
Talking of foraging, go out and pick up some conkers if you get the chance. Put them in a bowl, and apparently they keep spiders away! You can also find sweet chestnuts, acorns and masses of muti-coloured leaves form the plane trees and chestnuts.
You can also harvest lavender and hydrangea from the garden for drying, pick rosehips to add to vases of flowers in the house, and pick herbs to freeze for the winter months.
I’m picking myrtle and mint from the garden to add to the bouquets and make them scented. Thay are at their strongest at this time of year.
When the sky looks grey and outside looks uninviting from the cosiness of your home, try throwing on a waterproof jacket and going out anyway. The sky looks less grey, the autumn winds are exhilarating and you may well find some interesting things to forage. I love the way the moss becomes a vibrant green and the grass recovers.
We made an interesting display at The Italian Embassy in London for Ferrero Rocher a while back, using the best autumn flowers, and incorporated moss and conkers with orange roses, physalis and cymbidium orchids. It really reflected the colour and delicious nuttiness of Ferrero Rocher!
During the hot, summer months we crave coolness and I love the soft pinks, mauves and whites that belong with this time. But now I want warmth and golden sunshine in my flowers.
With globalisation comes better availability. Just as we have adopted the Curry, we have adopted the exotic Bird of Paradise (strelitzia) flowers. Orange plumes with a stripe of indigo, tall stems and a stately appearance, they go beautifully with the autumn flowers. When the plumes die, cut them off, then carefully tease out a new plume from inside the beak. THis is a great tip for keeping them twice as long!
You can varnish gourds so that they keep for longer. They are beautiful shapes, and look great in a bowl in the middle of the table.
So if you’d like a bouquet with the best of autumn flowers, email or phone 020 7831 6776. WE will make you something beautiful!

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Jan founded Stems in London WC1 in 1985, after changing her career as a teacher/translator, & training as a florist in Sweden. Her unique style, inspired by country walks, has been described as natural & wild, but with depth & sophistication. From a simple, tiny posy to grand events at St. James's Palace, Jan loves creating beautiful arrangements.