Kokedama Workshop Fun!

Hello! A long time has passed since the last post so I have decided to show up here and tell you all about kokedamas and share the love for this beautiful hanging plants!

If you don’t know what kokedama balls are, well, they are a form of bonsai which is also known as Japanese ‘moss balls’, or string garden and it literally translates as moss (koke) ball (dama). The plant root is encased in soil which is covered in moss and the plant leaves are coming out of the top creating beautiful and funky silhouettes. 

This beautiful plants add  a bit of interest, texture and greenery to your home and that are also a great space saver, as these hanging gardens don’t take up valuable shelf or floor space and you can just hang them off anything that comes to mind (wall lights, posts, hooks, shelves…) and most importantly, you don’t need an environmentally unfriendly plastic container or yet another expensive plant pot!

I tend to hang my kokedama balls around various rooms across the house. They seem to appreciate a warmish but not too sunny environment, when I notice them going a bit yellow, I move them to a less sunny spot and when the moss is getting dry I just dunk them into a bucket of water for half a day. The ‘moss ball’ should ideally remain moist therefore I spray them every couple of days and during the growing season I tend to add a little all-purpose fertiliser to the water and I leave them to soak all the good nutrients for an entire day.

Moss likes shady spots with indirect sunlight, so  it is important to pick a plant that thrives in these conditions (Ivy, Ferns, Peace Lily, Spider plants to mention but a few!). These hanging plants are so easy to look after and they’re becoming ever so popular so that I decided to run a few classes last year and the response was very good! 

I ran a few fantastic kokedama sessions form The Old Library and also couple of private sessions, from which participants all walked out proudly holding their beautiful creations! When making these moss balls participants have reported to experiencing a sense of calmness, focus and gratification all at once.

I’ll be running more kokedamas workshop in the next few months so if you are interested in taking part a nd learn how to make your own string garden make sure you book into one of the available dates!

I ran a few fantastic kokedama sessions form The Old Library and also couple of private sessions, from which participants all walked out proudly holding their beautiful creations! When making these moss balls participants have reported to experiencing a sense of calmness, focus and gratification all at once.

I’ll be running more kokedamas workshop in the next few months so if you are interested in taking part and learn how to make your own string garden make sure you book into one of the available dates on here!

Autumnal Wreath Making

Creating a wreath is extremely pleasant and is something that can be made all year round. It is certainly a lovely way of bringing the outdoor in or simply adorning your front door during the winter festive season. 

The wreath pictured here is made of foraged foliage. When foraging the main thing to be concerned about is to take a little of what you need, without damaging the plant that remains.

When cutting from a branch, always ensure you cut near a nodule on the plant so to encourage regrowth. In some places like woodlands you may need permission, so make sure you seek for permission and be respectful with where you go and what you take.

Here is what you will need to make your very own wreath:

-A wreath hoop -mine is a wooden one and about 25mm in diameter (hoops can be found online or from hardware stores which have a floristry section).

-Secateurs, Florist Scissors & wire cutters
-Reel wire (green is ideal but you can use metal 1mm wire too)
-Fine floristry wires (for wiring details like chosen flowers, dried fruit or pine cones)
-A selection of dried ingredients like pine cones, thistle, dried seed heads, dried fruit, lavender, etc. (your choice!)

-Ribbon or twine to hang your wreath (not necessary if wanting to hang it straight from the hoop like mine)

How to make your wreath:

Arrange small bundles of foliage and wrap the wire around it to secure them. You can then repeat this around the entire wreath ring, always working in the same direction. I actually did only half of mine so the wooden hoop is showing!

Once you have placed foliage round the hoop, trim the wire again to one inch, and wrap around onto the frame to secure.

Now add any extra bits like dried fruit, pine cones etc. to add the finishing touches to your creation by wrapping fine florists wire around the base of the items and use this to secure onto the main wreath.

If you have any gaps of wire showing, cover it by attaching pieces of denser greenery and make sure to tuck it under other foliage to hide that wire!

Lastly, if desired add twine or ribbon to hang or decorate. Hang it up in your desired place or give it to a friend or family as an early pressie for their home!

Good luck with it all and remember I run workshops throughout the year and there are some living wreath sessions taking place at The Old Library during the winter season! Hopefully see you there!

A trip to Organic Blooms, Bristol

Back in September I spent one sunny weekend morning with a dear friend strolling through the most gorgeous flower farm at the fabulous Organic Blooms.

Organic Blooms is an organic cut flower farm nestled in the outskirts of Bristol. At Organic Blooms they grow and sell seasonal British cut flowers sustainably and without the use of artificial chemicals and they achieved the  Soil Association organic certification in February 2017. They are a Social Enterprise, helping people achieve their potential and to overcome barriers that they face when considering training and work. People can be referred to Organic Blooms by a health professional and a person can spend up to 3 days a week with them, learning all the seasonal tasks needed in a working flower nursery and florist business. They are also one of the very first Soil Association certified organic flower growers in the UK, just amazing!

We absolutely adored the all experience.  If you haven’t visited them before it’s definitely worth a visit, especially during the Spring/Summer month when everything is out in full bloom.

They offered us a guided tours which I definitely recommend if you would like to get a better understanding of flower farming in the UK and find out more about how they work. Alongside giving you plenty of information about the various flower beds they served the most delicious homemade cakes and people were on hand to answer any questions. They also gave us the opportunity to pick their fresh flowers, certainly a real treat if you are in love with freshly grown English Country Flowers!

A well spent weekend, wouldn’t you agree? Have you visited any flower garden or farm this year or is it on your to do list? Do you have any other must see flower gardens? Would love to know what you recommend.

About me and my work

Hello! If you want to know a bit more about me you have landed on the right blog post. Here’s a little bio about me, and the journey that has led to Amaranto Flower Design (as well as the business’ journey so far!).

I moved to the UK in 2003 and instantly fell in love with the English culture (tea and crumpets topped with scrambled eggs and salmon, yum!). I also adore the English countryside – everything is so green and lush here! I do love my country and miss it at times, so I try to go home regularly to see family and eat some delicious Italian food.

I moved to beautiful Bristol in 2011 and after working for several years in adult education, teaching creative workshops, I found myself wondering if I could use my artistic flair for something I personally love: flowers and plants. So, in 2017, a year after having had my baby boy, I decided to take the plunge and enrolled at the Tallulah Rose Flower School. After just a couple of classes I had fallen in love with all things floral. So, in early 2018 I set up Amaranto Flower Design and I have never look back since!

I think flowers hold some kind of special powers, they make people happy and I am extremely fortunate to work with such naturally gorgeous materials. My style is luxurious, bold and lively. I love combining contrasting colours and textures to create eye-catching compositions that are inspired by multiple elements; art, music, nature and the seasons. I also run several affordable workshops in floral craft and I absolutely love doing this – I get a real pleasure in teaching other people about flowers and how to be creative with them!

When I’m not busy working with flowers I like to go for long walks with my partner and little one, cooking (I am Italian after all!) and growing vegetables in my garden.

Some of my favourite flowers are: Peonies, Dahlias, Blushing Bride Protea , Cosmos, Anemones and Ranunculus

Some of my favourite foliage: Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, Hedera and Pittosporum Variegatum

Well, in a nutshell, that’s me! I hope you’re enjoying what I have to offer on my website – why not get in touch if you’re interested in doing a workshop, or need some beautiful blooms for your wedding or event?

From Adult Education To Teaching My Own Floristry Workshops

I’m so excited right now! After many years spent working in adult education teaching all sorts of creative classes, I have finally taken the leap and decided it’s about time for me to run my very own floristry workshops here in beautiful Bristol.

My style of floristry is non traditional. Nothing is perfect in nature, so why create perfect bouquets? I want to motivate people to find their ways of playing around with flowers so if you come to one of my workshop you can expect to have fun learning a loose and contemporary style of floristry.

I am offering a range of classes that are open to people of all level and are also affordable. Working with fresh cut flowers is extremely therapeutic and inspiring. So why don’t you take a look here and book your space to one of my lovely workshop? I can’t wait to meet you!

Christmas Garland Workshops At Heartfelt Vintage

We certainly are in the middle of a lovely scorching summer at the moment! But I thought I’d post about my Christmas workshops coming up at the end of this year because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like a Christmas garland or wreath workshop inclusive of a super delicious afternoon tea?

Come and join me and the amazing team of friendly people at Heartfelt Vintage for a two-hour workshop experience you won’t regret. The workshops will take place throughout November and December at Heartfelt Vintage. Participants will learn how to make and decorate stylish, eco-friendly festive garlands and wreaths.

These workshops are perfect for groups of friends or coworkers alike. Info on costs can be found on the Heartfelt Vintage website from September 2018!

An Italian wedding

That’s it, the title says it all; I had the great opportunity to be booked to work on a wedding in Italy! Mic and Mic tied the knot in beautiful Milan back in June 2018.

They contacted me only a few months before their wedding was taking place and thanks to the amazing Gambin Flowers Market and one of my great auntie and uncle who let me work in their workshop space and most importantly let me use their cellar to store flowers I was able to come up with a bespoke plan for their big day.

The flowers included delightful angel cheeks peonies, amazing delphiniums, great looking huge scabiosa, glorious dahlias, fragrant stocks, dainty lisianthus and plenty of the freshest wax flowers and eucalyptus amongst some other of mother’s nature bountiful beauties!

The all experience was incredible and it taught me a lot! I had never worked in Italy as a florist before and, oh boy if it was hot! I now know why Italian florists use specific types of flowers when it comes to wedding works and why they stay away from some of the most popular choices here in the UK.

So if anyone is thinking of getting married in Italy make sure you do your research before enquiring about your wedding flowers and that you carefully plan everything with your florists, which obviously will be able to help you in choosing the perfect flowers for your big day as you wouldn’t want for the flowers to wilt by the end of the day because of the heat!

Think roses, dahlias, gerberas, gypsophilla, hydrangea’s, calla lily, peonies, carnation, amaranthus and Freesia to name a few… and remember, a non seasonal flower won’t be fresh and lasting as a seasonal one, especially when the weather is hot as it usually is during the summer months somewhere like in Italy, so for instance don’t go for something like lily of the valley which blooms in April and May and loves fresh air as it cannot stay under the heat of summer season and keep in mind that all seasons has different flowers to offer for a wonderful wedding and you do have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing the perfect flowers for your important day!

Bride and groom with baby pink wedding bouquet and peacock feathers

A Photo Shoot On The Coldest Day Of The Year

The post title says it all! Myself and a bunch of other creative people decided to go ahead and work on a photo shoot on the coldest, snowiest day of the year on 1st March 2018! We must have been mad: at one point we didn’t think we were going to be able to leave our cosy venue for the day!

The shoot was promoting and celebrating all of the brides that opt for colours, rather than the more traditional white, ivory and cream wedding dresses. The shoot took place at The Spin Bar by the Bristol Harbourside.

I worked on the Jackie O’ inspired look, delivering brightly coloured fresh flowers. I certainly loved working on this shoot! The day was pleasantly shared with the following team:

Check out a few pictures of the behind the scenes shoot and do get in touch if you’re looking for brightly coloured flowers for a wedding or special event!

My Time At The Tallulah Rose Flower School

I was so thrilled (and nervous!) the day I started the two-week Career Change Course at the Tallulah Rose Flower School back in October 2017. After a year spent on maternity leave looking after my amazing boy, it was finally time to get back to doing something creative and fun.

I still remember the morning when I approached the school doors. I was greeted by Rachel, founder and owner of this amazing school, and I instantly felt at home! A fabulous home in fact, full of the freshest, most fragrant blooms and delicious teas and cookies – a real treat for me, since I was still breastfeeding at night and certainly needed that extra bit of sugar intake in the morning!

Meeting the other girls was great. It was like meeting seven other versions of me! We were all there for the same reason: to delve into the wonderful world of flowers. Every day, it felt that the room was full of hope and excitement, and by the end of two fantastic weeks we all felt much more confident and hopeful about the future. 

I certainly felt less nervous by the end of it, and I have not looked back a single second since leaving the school! If you are looking to train to become a florist, do not hesitate to enrol at this amazing school – it’s worth every single penny!