Flower & Plant meanings series | Honeysuckle

Introducing a new series that I will be writing for my blog; the meanings of flowers and plants particularly those that inspire and interest me. I have had a long fascination with the natural world especially flowers, plants and trees. They capture my imagination, emotions and inspire all forms of my work; at school I often turned to nature as form of inspiration during my art classes producing watercolour studies of leaves and rural landscapes through the seasons.

I have recently been dipping in and out of one of my favourite books Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo, its a gentle read full of detail and exquisite photography. Whilst reading it recently I was struck by how much I wanted to know about the history of flowers and plants, this extract in particular caught my attention.

'Throughout history flowers have commanded admiration and symbolised complex emotions for people of all cultures. The ephemeral nature of flowers whose blooms come fleeting once a year to claim our admiration only adds to their enchantment. Flowers and plants are dulcet emblems of the natural world - messengers from the landscape to herald the seasons. Through the ages, people have brought flowers and foliage into their homes for different reasons: to cheer up a dark corner, to fill a room with fragrance, or simply to enjoy up close the complex architecture of a flower or the intricately varying hues on the autumn leaves.'

'The simple act of cutting flowers to bring into one's home comes naturally to anyone who has ever gathered a bouquet of dandelions as a child'.

I was that child - the one who would happily snip a rose from the garden or gather a few stems of lavender when no one was looking. It is only now that I feel I would like to truly understand the history of each British bloom I am lucky enough to work with and grow. My decision to start with Honeysuckle is an easy one, not only is it at the height of its growing season but it happens to be one of my favourite Summer blooms, trailing tendrils of long green foliage and the sweet heady scent of the delicate trumpet flowers unfurling in the golden Summer sunshine, nestled amongst hedgerows that snake through a variety of green foliage along arable fields and country lanes. I distinctly remember as a child seeing and smelling honeysuckle in the hedgerows on Dartmoor.

honeysuckle .jpg

The honeysuckle flower contains sweet nectar, but the fruit is poisonous. It is believed that the sturdy stems were used to make rope as far back as the Bronze Age, and in parts of Britain it is still used to this day to make into bridles and harnesses for pack ponies.

Honeysuckle appears to have a strong connection to love and marriage. In Geoffrey Chaucer's work, 'wodebyne' is a symbol of steadfastness in love, and Shakespeare wrote of it in Act IV, Scene i of A Midsummer's Nights Dream:

Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms…
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle
Gently entwist;

The vines of the honeysuckle plant symbolically twined together to bind two lovers to ensure fidelity and desire for each other and it is also believed that if honeysuckle was brought into a home will help ensure a good marriage for the people who live there. It is also believed that if you grow honeysuckle near your home it will attract love, luck and wealth and protect your garden from negative influences. It is a nice sentiment to think if you could include honeysuckle into your wedding flowers there is a symbolic connection to love and marriage. It is also considered to have medicinal benefits.

I find it fascinating to think that our appreciation for a plant can change upon learning of its history and meaning. So here's to learning more about plants and flowers.

 

Why I do what I do....

Flowers evoke a personal emotion, they have such a beautiful fleeting quality and for me my biggest aim is to create floral designs that reflect this. I love working with colours and textures that harmoniously interplay with one another to produce a design that is both unique but with a sense of familiarity.

'Slightly wild, humble in nature, intimate, untamed, seasonal and always beautiful'

I am inspired by the beauty found in imperfections within nature and working with it to generate an overall aesthetic bespoke to every brief I work on. The entire process of developing my floral designs from the initial idea inspired by a wealth of sources to making sketches and notes, colour palette references and mood boards is an enjoyable one for me. When I work on a wedding or event I will always make sure every detail is considered and understood fully.

Simplicity and appreciating nature as it is are two elements I strive to achieve within my work. There is a particular artist that I often refer to for inspiration because his work really encapsulates my philosophy; the artist is Ellsworth Kelly, his art focuses on the dynamic relationship between shape, form and colour. So many of his pieces and his quotes resonate with me when I apply them to my floral design work, particularly the plant drawings series

'I have worked to free shape from its ground, and then to work the shape so that it has a definite relationship to the space around it; so that it has a clarity and a measure within itself of its parts (angles, curves, edges and mass); and so that, with color and tonality, the shape finds its own space and always demands its freedom and separateness.'  - Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly, Philodendron II, from Series of Plant and Flower, 1983-85

Ellsworth Kelly, Philodendron II, from Series of Plant and Flower, 1983-85

I truly believe it is important for me to create a cohesive vision for my business in order for me to go in the direction I would like it to go and for everyone I am fortunate to meet through Gather & Bloom to really believe and understand my aesthetic and approach.

Paris Styled Shoot by Vicky Lamburn

I met Vicky Lamburn back in the Spring at the Brighton Wedding Fair we were both exhibiting and got chatting, with our shared love of natural light and exquisite styling we set about making plans to work on a styled shoot together. Vicky emailed me at the beginning of the Summer to say that she had decided to carry out a life long dream of styling and photographing a shoot in Paris.........yes Paris!! I instantly jumped at the chance to design a natural foliage filled bridal bouquet with lots of garden roses and seasonal flowers.

We decided to work with a very muted colour palette, touches of soft blush tones and hints of purple.

I was so excited when an email landed in my inbox titled 'Sneaky peeks from Paris Shoot'........the email didn't disappoint!

Vicky captured the light of Paris effortlessly, they are simply beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing the film photographs and working on more exciting shoots with the lovely Vicky.

 

Photographer & Stylist - Victoria JK Lamburn

Floral Design - Gather & Bloom

Bridal Gowns - This Modern Love

Stationery - Calligraphy for Weddings

Rings - The London Victorian Ring co.

Ribbons - Lancaster & Cornish and Fleuropean

 

 

 

A Summer's morning spent wandering Nymans....

I spent the beginning of last week working on a beautiful bouquet that was to be used for a photo shoot in Paris of all places organised by the ever so talented Vicky Lamburn, her photography is just beautiful, she plays with natural light in such a magical way. I have seen a few sneak peeks of the photographs and I can't wait to share them. Keep your eyes pealed for a flurry of photographs hitting my social media in the next few weeks.

I delivered the bouquet to the lovely Vicky in Sussex ready for her to travel across the channel to Paris, so this meant I had the late morning and afternoon free to spend time wandering around the herbaceous borders of Nymans in the beautiful Sussex Weald with my sister. I had visited this particular National Trust property and gardens many moons ago so it was a real treat to go back and having been a member of the National Trust since I was a small child I have spent many a perfect Summer's day with family visiting lots of NT properties and gardens throughout the English countryside. With it being now mid August the rose garden wasn't as fruitful but that being said there were still plenty to marvel at and take notes on the ones I would like to grow (watch this space).

It was lovely and peaceful strolling around the intimate gardens chatting with my sister and stopping to admire the colourful herbaceous borders packed full with bold groupings of dahlias, snapdragons salvias to name just a few. I am always drawn to gardens with imperfections and a natural style I like to see climbing roses scrambling over stone walls and natural plant supports fashioned cleverly out of hazel.

So all I can say is if you are looking for something to do in the Sussex Weald be sure to pay a visit to Nymans. Also if you are a bride to be looking for a wedding venue then perhaps add this to your shortlist - imagine your backdrop being a ruin covered in climbing roses and lush magnolias......simply beautiful.

The Seaside Spring Spectacular Wedding Fair...

Last Saturday I tootled off down the motorway to Brighton, the car jam packed with all my floral creations and styling props in preparation for The quirky Seaside Spring Spectacular Wedding Fair. The fair took place in the wonderful Brighton Dome café, with its fabulous high ceilings and lots of natural light the room was full of amazing suppliers and small businesses.

My vision for my floral designs was spring abundance, I knew I had to incorporate garden roses and their beautiful scent certainly drew a lot of people over! I decided to work with quite an unusual colour palette to show all the brides to be that you don't just have to have pinks (don't get me wrong I'm not adverse to a pink palette). It was a good move as a lot of people commented on how lovely the colour combinations were.

It was a great day, I met some wonderful wedding suppliers, small business owners and of course lots of brides to be.

Wedding Fair countdown

I have lined up a few Wedding Fairs to exhibit at this year, my aim was to find those that were slightly alternative and I'm glad to say I have come across a great variety. The first of the year I will be exhibiting at is Belle's Events 'Seaside Spring Spectacular Wedding Fair' in Brighton on Saturday 16th April, described as vintage, quirky ,retro, unique, festival, whimsical, boho; it can't disappoint. I have read great things about this fair and I am so excited to be a part of it this coming Spring, I have started to brainstorm, scribble notes and make visual mood boards with my thoughts and plans for my stand. I am thinking lots of delicate garden roses, branches of blossom and lots of foliage; to say I am giddy with excitement would be an understatement!

Be sure not to miss it....I hope to see you there.


Looking forward to 2016

I started Gather & Bloom during the latter months of 2015. My workshop is now fully finished, the enamel jugs and recycled glassware sit neatly waiting to be used on the newly built shelving. I am looking forward to working on new projects and collaborations. It seems fitting to write this on the eve of a new year, I am feeling excited by the prospect of making my small business a success and there is still a number of jobs to do on my to do list.

So 2016...here is to going on new journeys and taking Gather & Bloom out into the big wide world.