Mrs. C says: It’s time to make a few arrangements.
Ed Elf: Would that be social arrangements or maybe a dental appointment?
Mrs. C: No Ed, we’re in the Christmas Flowers section.
Ed Elf: Oh, right. You’ve got to arrange to send some Christmas flowers. Who to?
Mrs. C: When they were handing out brains in Santa’s workshop, I fear you were at the back of the queue my little friend. I’m talking flower arrangements.
Ed Elf: Exactly. Where do you want me to send them?
Mrs. C: This could take some time. Why don’t you read on to discover our How to Christmas tips for flower & plant arrangements outside of the normal vase displays – including a steer on the necessary paraphernalia and how to avoid stems drooping. Now that’s one conversation I won’t be having with Ed. But to please him, at the bottom of this page, I’ve added some of my favourite places from which to order flower arrangements for your home or as gifts.
Tools of the Trade
Any job is made easier if you have the right equipment to help you. For simple arrangements, florist wire, florist tape and secateurs are generally sufficient. Florist wire is invaluable at Christmas and has many uses as well as providing quick and simple anchorage for flower displays and individual flower heads, such as Gerberas. You can insert florist wire down the centres of Hyacinths to stop them from growing at a rakish angle or drooping. Sharp secateurs will cut stems cleanly. Scissors will serve a similar purpose. But where secateurs really become necessary is for cutting through tougher, woodier stems. Green florist tape secures oasis in the saucer and can used for binding flowers together (such as spray of Chrysanthemums), as well as creating the criss-cross support structure in vases.
A Shot of Inspiration
Group together an odd number of shot glasses – maybe five or seven. Place them in a simple round glass container with a flat base or on a flat plate. Both the shot glasses and plain container can be bought from many major stores. The shot glasses will take pretty much any small to medium headed flower. This is a great way, for example, of making cheap spray carnations punch above their weight. Group them tightly and cut them down so that just the heads appear over the top of the shots glasses. This is a useful method for extending the life of flowers from taller vases that are coming towards the end of their blooming best.
Try our twig board for size. Using a plain canvas from a high street discount bookshop or craft shop, you can create a striking display to hang on a wall or prop against a wall or on top of a sideboard. You will need several small, clear vases with a neck. The key here is they should be lightweight. And the other main element in the design is the use of natural branches. We suggest branches from a silver birch because the twigs are slender and flexible. But please experiment with whatever is to hand. Twist the branches into whatever shape appeals – or perhaps more pertinently the form they naturally want to take – and secure them with fine florist wire to hold them in place. Push two fine holes in the canvas around 20-40mm apart. This allows you to thread through further wire to attach the twigs that spread from the main branches onto the canvas. Finish off by doing the same again to attach your vases. The distance between holes will depend on the size of the neck of each vase. You can put water in each vase and drop in fresh flowers and greenery. But should you get tired of trying to carefully top them up, empty them out or clean them out you can always opt for artificial berries and fresh ivy. The ivy doesn’t require water and it will be a good few days before it needs freshening up. This twig board can also be used throughout the year to ring in the seasons by substituting daffodils, summer flowers or autumn berries.
Elf Helper: Want to keep flower heads together so they don’t drop to one side of the vase? Apply sticky tape in a criss-cross pattern over the top of the vase and then slot the flower heads between the invisible supports. Also, hyacinths work splendidly through the season but the stems can droop. However, a piece of slender garden wire gently inserted into and down the stem can solve that problem and will not damage the plant.
Sending Flowers at Christmas
Mrs. C says: My heart always skips a beat when I take delivery of a beautiful bouquet. Whatever the occasion, whatever the time of year, receiving flowers is wonderful. But at Christmas, when I like to fill the house with plants, greenery and aroma, flowers are the most welcome of gifts.
Ed Elf: Are you dropping a non-too-subtle hint here, Mrs. C?
Mrs. C: There are so many different companies offering flower delivery, including supermarkets and stores like Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. You’ll doubtless be well aware of Interflora and are likely to have come across online companies like Zing Flowers, eflorist and iflorist.
Ed Elf: All this “e” and “I” stuff makes you sound right Yorkshire, Mrs. C. All you need is a bye-gum and you’ve cracked it.
Mrs. C: Please don’t forget your local florist either. Try to order well in advance as most businesses will be very busy in the week leading up to the big day. We have also discovered a couple of companies that offer something a little different. See what you think.
UK Wide Wow
Bloom & Wild: Some of the best ideas are the most simple – while at the same time begging the question: ‘Why has no one thought to do that before?’ Bloom & Wild deliver beautiful, freshly cut flowers in specially designed packaging that will fit through a standard letterbox (18.4cm x 3.8cm) so there is no need for the recipient to be at home. If the letterbox is too small or has a mail cage behind it then it is possible to send the flowers by Royal Mail Tracked instead for a small, additional fee. This will allow the recipient to leave the postal worker an instruction as to where to leave the flowers if they won’t fit through the letterbox.
As Bloom & Wild explains via a very informative video on its website, its flowers are cut to order so are guaranteed to be as fresh as possible. Prices start around £15 per bouquet for subscription deliveries. Delivery costs are included in these prices and most addresses within the UK are covered. There’s a range of collections to choose from and customers can contact Bloom & Wild’s Customer Delight section if they have a preference – for example to request a delivery contain no lilies.
For 2018, we expect Bloom & Wild to bring back letterbox-friendly mini Christmas trees, which have proved perfect business gifts for many. This year’s trees arrive in November with beautiful new pots. Contact the company at bloomandwild.com or download the app.
London’s Pretty Petals
Petalon: This London-based florist was born out of a love for flowers and cycling. It delivers gorgeous flowers Monday to Friday for as little as £28…by bicycle! Petalon offers two different bouquets every week, depending what’s in season and available at the flower market. Keeping it simple like this means Petalon reduces unnecessary waste, keeps costs down and can afford to donate £1 from the cost of every bunch to a conservation programme called Capital Bee – designed to boost the bee population in the city. Excellent! We also like the clever cycling-infused title. Contact the company at petalon.co.uk.
We love local shops with great style and service to match. The Potting Shed in the Cheshire village of Alderley Edge falls in to that category. It offers a fine array of candles, furniture, garden items and more – but for the purposes of this page we want to point you in the direction of their exquisite hand bouquets of all sizes and floral, orchid or plant arrangements in a variety of containers for indoors or out. The Potting Shed delivers flowers locally Monday to Friday and can supply restaurants, shops or offices to suit individual requirements. The Christmas collection is always so desirable. Visit pottingsheduk.com for more.
Points to Ponder
While most people love to receive flowers, it may not always be possible for recipients to suddenly produce a vase large enough to accommodate the beautiful bouquet that has just arrived – so it’s worth considering sending the arrangement in a vase. You could also send a seasonal plant instead: a traditional Poinsettia or a classic white orchid will fit in well with most colour schemes and will require a minimum of maintenance during the festive period. Try to ensure plants arrive in a suitable container as a plain, brown plastic plant pot may require covering or replacing to blend in with the recipient’s seasonal decor – and will also need a saucer to enable it to be watered. On the rare occasions the quality of delivered flowers disappoint, most businesses appreciate feedback and often replace flowers or arrangements if you photograph the lacklustre blooms and email the photos to them.