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Flower Arranging 101 with Hattie Fox

By Christopher Jury

All around spring is in full swing, with summer just around the corner: coats are coming off, garden parties are coming up and blooms are coming in. To celebrate this vibrant time we got in touch with Hattie Fox – the mind behind That Flower Shop, our favorite London florist – to get some hints and tips on achieving the perfect flower arrangements at home.

In the flower game since the age of sixteen, Hattie got her green fingers to work on some of Daniel Reynold and Ikuko Iwamoto’s vases, with stunning results!

  • Hattie starts an arrangement with color, working out what hues complement the vase and room it will be in. Done right, every aspect of a floral display will perfectly complement the others, bringing any space it’s in to life. One of Hattie’s tips is to let yourself get creative with color schemes: don’t afraid to make it personal!

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  • Different arrangements need different approaches, and Hattie takes on each project individually. She modelled the large Reynolds vase arrangements on the four seasons of the year, using different palettes with each to evoke distinct feelings. She found the collection of smaller Iwamoto vases more challenging, noting that their uniform color makes them hard to differentiate when together. When facing an arrangement like this, it’s worth taking Hattie’s approach and playing with the colors and levels to create a variated and vibrant tableau – we’re loving how well she made it work!

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  • Once the color scheme is worked out, it’s time to choose flowers. Hattie’s a big believer in sticking to the seasons and buying locally: sourcing most of her blooms in the UK, often directly from growers. Right now is the start of peony season – a firm favorite around the world – but there’s many other flowers also available. Check with your local florist to learn more about your area’s seasonal specialities.

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  • With the color scheme selected and blooms bought, Hattie gets architectural: using branches and taller flowers to give the arrangement form and structure. To get a good floral frame Hattie suggests a rule of thirds: make sure the blooms are twice the height of the vase they’re in.

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  • Having got the floral frame in place Hattie starts to flesh out the arrangement, delicately placing flowers and sprigs into the vase with wonderful effect. With her experience and expertise, she tends to flow through the process smoothly and naturally, and encourages you to improvise as the mood takes you: let your creativity loose!

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  • Once the display is done, enjoy your arrangement! Hattie notes that there’s no telling how long cut flowers will last, though none are likely to make it more than a week or two. She suggests changing the water every other day and cutting a centimeter off the bottom of the stalks each time, to ensure full flow to the head. It’s this transient nature which gives flowers their magic – here one day and gone the next!

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  • This season’s hot trends are warm colors: coral, peach, yellows and oranges: working with these hues is a sure way to get compliments from guests. Floristry’s forgotten color of the season is blue, so if you’re in the mood for bucking the trend, that’s the route to take!

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