My very dear friend Janet told me she was marrying her
partner of 16 years Nick (also an old friend from Art school) “Would you like me to arrange the flowers?” I offered, “ I’d
love you to!” replied Janet. The slight drawback was the wedding date was set
for 9th February.
I don’t usually do winter weddings due to lack of flowers,
but there was no way I wouldn’t have done this one. I didn’t want to let Janet
down, particularly as she had asked me to be a ‘best woman’, which was an
I suggested hellebores, anemones, viburnum and pussy willow.
Thankfully she loved the sound of all of those. She is a firm believer in
British grown and had really set her heart on all the flowers coming from the
garden. All I could do was watch and hope. I watched the flooding and the snow.
I cringed at the hard frosts and gave weekly reports on their progress. Finally the weather was kind during the
first week of February and all was well. In the end it was only the delicate
little viburnum that suffered, as most had gone brown from frost.
The hellebores were stunning, but they were tricky. Mostly
due to it being so early, too early to pick them really. The heads hung down
and I knew they wouldn’t be terribly reliable out of water. They worked well in
little bud vases and nestled into the bouquet.
photography by Rachel Siegfried
I also worked them into the buttonholes with pussy willow
and rosemary. Janet and the best women all wore them in their hair (apart
from me who loves an excuse to wear a hat) I advised all the girls to keep an
eye on each others hellebore hair flowers and make sure they remove them at the
first signs of wilting. I’d say we got about 3 hours out of them, which isn’t
so bad for early February.
The pussy willow was a joy and worked brilliantly with
Janet’s fur jacket. I ran it through all of the arrangements. I used tiny
sprigs right through to some very long branches which went into an enamel
pitcher on the bar. The most important thing was Janet was really thrilled. It
was a great day and it gave me a good feeling to make a friend happy,
especially on her wedding day.
Photography by Stephanie Rushton