Words by ElainaRose
Photography by Katie Spicer
It has been many years since I was blessed with the light bulb idea to become a florist. Since then I have spent many an hour looking at photographs of great floral creations wondering to myself "how did they do that?" This would, almost always, end up with my next visit to B&Q to buy anything from plumbing pipes to timber and hand tools… Since then I have spent my time teaching myself the do's and don’ts (many a withered stem) of floral masterpieces.
So, you can imagine my uncontrollable excitement when the Little Bee team sat me down and told me they were sending me to meet Sabine Darrall (ONE OF THE FLORISTS I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT FOR ALL THESE YEARS) to get inspired for our 2018 wedding season!
After hopping on a quick flight to Bristol I was met by a man wearing a black suit, freshly polished shoes and sunglasses, actually resembling 007, holding a sign marked with my name. To say the least, I felt a bit like a movie star!
James Bond then drove me through the picturesque English countryside and to Holbrook House where I would be spending the next four days.
Upon arrival a wonderfully petite lady came running up to me asking if I was ElainaRose, it was Sabine! Her energy was infectious, we were surrounded by enough flowers to open a wholesaler! We were all to have supper together at 7 pm until then I was to hit the spa and relax "before tomorrows hard work starts!”. No more needed to be said - I was off to the Spa!
Day 1 - Autumnal purples and reds
The desks were set up with a little goodie bag of floristry essentials for us: a new apron, a new pair of really good scissors and a notebook for all the new tips I was about to learn!
Sabine took her place at the top of the table and began with a demonstration of the “egg” bouquet… The egg? My facial expression was enough for her to start the demonstration before I got any more confused!
The "egg" my friends, is a scrunched up blob of chicken wire, which can be shaped to any size or angle and can be used to form your bouquet without the need for as much foliage. Now, Little Botanica fans I know we all LOVE foliage but when a bride asks for an ‘oversized’ bouquet (you see them all the time on our Instagram and Pinterest) people forget how much they weigh! I was soooooo impressed with this new knowledge and when we created our first ‘egg’ bouquet I fell in love with the shape, the form, the weight and I cannot wait to show all you lucky 2018 brides this fabby creation!
Following a half hour wander around the manor grounds, we were split into two groups… Why? To create the most dramatic natural archway, that's why!
Sabine showed us all the structures and mechanics of the arch (designed by herself and fabricated by a friend). This was one of the most interesting parts for me.
The group of amazing women who were on the course made this team project more an enjoyable game than anything else. A number of foraging exercises and strategically placed groupings of flowers later we had created something magical!
It was then on to creating tall, and inventive, table centers for an alfresco table styling and photo shoot.
This creation was then relocated to the dining room for our own dinner that evening.
I have to say one of the aspects I was truly looking forward to was sitting and eating with one of my own floral creations. As florists we are constantly designing, planning, choosing the right flowers, creating and setting up the final designs to then get a quick photo on site before we have to run away prior to the event beginning. We never get the time to sit, look and enjoy the beauty in our designs. Combine this with a beautiful meal, wonderful conversation and a glass of bubbles I was fully immersed in Sabine’s beautifully executed course.