I always do the flowers for events that I host. Whether it’s a simple posy on the dining table, or an array of vessels throughout the apartment, I thoroughly enjoy the whole process. For work events, that process always starts at London’s commercial flower market at Nine Elms, the home of New Covent Garden Market.
I’ve been going there for years with my mother, who has immaculate taste and who taught me all about flowers. She has done numerous gorgeous weddings and parties, and we like the same things. Fortunately I have a car, so I can zoom from Camden down to Battersea/Vauxhall in about twenty minutes at 5am. (The market stays open later, but when I’ve rocked up around 630 I’ve found that the lovely things I want to buy are long snaffled up by early birds.)
For the Boden VIP trunk show I hosted here the other week, we decided on an English country theme, using blowsy peonies, sweet peas, scented stocks, snapdragons, hydrangeas, roses, cow parsley, mint and rosemary, in shades of white, blush, cream, and pink.
I think in the end my sister and I did twenty-three arrangements & posies the day before the party, using everything from jam jars to inherited cut glass decanters.
In the kitchen (above) I simply used white hydrangeas in a large pickle jar.
There were lots of tiny posies in jam jars tucked away on shelves, using sprigs of rosemary, snapdragons, sweet peas and stocks.
I borrowed every glass container my sister could rustle up. This is her pretty traditional wired rose bowl, stuffed with peonies and roses on my bath rack.
This is my hall table, with the biggest arrangement, done by my sister, and placed in the Jasper Conran vase she gave me for my birthday.
We filled my office shelves with jugs of flowers. And the hind part of my Dachshund doorstop too!
This was the entrance to Nine Elms at 530am. You have to pay a fiver at the barrier to get in. Unbelievably blue summer sky in the first week of June.
One of the push doors into the market. I love them, because they give absolutely no idea of the echoing cavernous, flower-filled place inside.
A huge wrap of scented stocks. The smell was divine.
Buckets and buckets of peonies.
My eventual haul, waiting to be stripped and dunked.