A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to help organise a birthday party for a friend. The date was to be June 1st and the venue her beautiful walled cottage garden. Of course I jumped at the chance to do the flowers for a summer party and what fun I have had! My friend turned out to have the most wonderful array of vintage accessories – it seemed that whatever I wished for could be provided. After a trip to my favourite flower market stall (I had to visit his home this time as the quantities were too large to carry to the car), I arrived at her home to find a beautiful spot set up under the marquee to start my arrangements.
As I didn’t know her garden very well and had no control over the flowers available, it was a case of looking at what I had and getting stuck in. I started by making five hand tied posies to fill the urns that I had brought with me. I had purchased the lisianthus and veronica and cut lots of cow parsley from my garden. I needed something else though and had hoped to use white lilac, but the tree outside her home was going brown. Then I noticed the snowball tree – probably the biggest I have ever seen and dripping with snowballs! I set to work with my secateurs and finished the arrangements.
I then needed a plan to display them. I had previously asked if there happened to be a large cupboard that I could use in the garden to which the answer, amazingly, had been yes, an old cupboard did live in the garden. Imagine my delight and excitement when I realised the ‘old cupboard’ was an enormous victorian school cupboard! This was manovered into place at the back of the marquee and provided the perfect home for the urns and various other goodies we had gathered together.
As evening fell the cupboard looked stunning lit by many candles and tea lights.
I also spotted an old rusty cauldron lying about the garden, which I brought into use to provide the perfect home for bunches of stocks.
Did she have any old luggage I asked and maybe a suitable chair or two? Out came an old cabin trunk and some Lloyd Loom chairs.
I had originally envisaged using lots of cream roses for the party, but Mothers Day in France the previous Sunday had meant that the market stall was very short of roses. The few I had managed to buy made a lovely centrepiece for the food table, bulked out with quite a lot of cow parsley.
Perhaps a silver tea set would add to the atmosphere I said. Such a tea set appeared, along with some very pretty teacups to hold the violas I had bought.
My friend had said she was disappointed that the roses on her rose arches would not be in flower in time for the party, so I made some small posies and wired them to the arches. Together with the fairy lights and lanterns the arches looked stunning.
Likewise the trellis was bare, so I added some chrysanthemums for a cost effective wall of flowers (sorry about the blurry photo, but you can get the feel of it).
The party was an absolute delight – the heavy clouds that had marred our preparations earlier in the day lifted late in the afternoon to reveal a warm and sunny evening. The food was delicious and we all managed to wear our frocks (although there were a lot of cardigans in evidence). I spent the evening chatting with a mixture of old friends and strangers and we sat outside until midnight. As the evening drew in the twinkle of the numerous tealights and fairy lights cast a magical glow over the event.
All in all it was a beautiful start to the summer season and a whole lot of fun for this flower loving girl to help organise!