Summer is in full swing. Or one might say in full bloom. And there is nothing better than gathering a few stems from the garden, or selecting some favourites at your local florists. But, if like me, you struggle to put them together in a perfectly balanced arrangement or rustic bouquet, it can leave your pretty blooms lacking a little in the style stakes.
But there is no issue that Instagram (or YouTube) can’t fix. Which is why we’ve turned to the real experts on the platform – the florists, floral stylists and designers and their feeds – blossoming with flower arrangement inspiration. With so many amazing sources of flower power inspiration on Instagram, we couldn’t just pick one or even five accounts; so instead, we bring you 15 and even that is just scratching the surface of the wonderful floral niche on the ‘gram. We hope you will feel inspired and reaching for your snips in no time….
Bloom & Burn
As it is with many wonderful things in life, Kent-based Graeme Corbett became a floral stylist by chance. Originally a TV casting producer, Graeme craved more creativity in his life and after having a go at a pickle business and vintage furniture selling, a friend suggested flower arranging seeing his natural talent when putting together a few bouquets for a birthday party. A two-week floristry course later, he never looked back.
And we are so glad, as now his Instagram account Bloom & Burn graces us with images of flower arrangements in vibrant colour combinations that are pretty as a picture, yet possessing a wild natural look. The arrangements are matched by equally vibrant vessels such as the iconic bowls and jugs from Danish brand Raawii. Using only locally grown flowers, Graeme is often challenged by nature and what it offers each season.
On his account, Graeme often pops on to give live lessons and advice on flower arranging. His biggest advice for newbies? Invest in a few tools such as a pin frog that will turn any vessel into a vase and will help you in making your flowers into little works of art.
While most find inspiration in the first blossoms of spring or summer gardens in full bloom, London-based florist Frida Kim is most inspired by winter gardens, a different face of plants and flowers combined with naked tree branches. It is perhaps the tendency towards minimalism informed by Frida’s Korean background that could explain her fascination with winter gardens. Frida’s creations, documented on her Instagram page, walk the line between flower arrangement and art installations as her designs are often reminiscent of sculpture and contemporary art.
Frida herself calls her aesthetic contemporary and organic, combining the east with the west as she fuses her Korean roots with her love for English gardens and uniquely English flowers. It is important to her that every piece she creates is personal, that among the petals and the branches, Frida’s own personal story can be found and decoded. And she advises everyone else to do the same – create your own stories, experiment with different materials like branches, fruits and even weeds.
A few months ago, Frida added a YouTube channel to her repertoire where she shows and explains the process behind her arrangements and installations which is almost therapeutic to watch.
Sophia Kaplan Studio
For Sydney-based floral stylist Sophia Kaplan flower arrangement is a medium through which she doesn’t only express her creativity but also her mood. So her creations can be anything from very minimalistic small single-stem sets to big wild rambling arrangements. However, the Aussie loves to work with seasonal produce which is a constant in her work. And that doesn’t involve only flowers, but also seasonal fruits and vegetables which Sophia incorporates into her arrangements, giving them an unexpected and even more wild element. Sophia also shares her gardening endeavours with her Instagram followers as nature and the act of growing something from a seed was what always fascinated the stylist and in the end attracted her to flower arrangement. As she puts it, flowers are “the most special expression of the weird and wonderful natural world around us.”
Her style has earned her commissions from the likes of Vogue and L’Oréal. Sophia’s tip is to have a colour palette that works well together and then add something unexpected to it. Don’t be afraid of negative space and play with various heights and textures. That and avoid floral foam.
Catherine Foxwell is a qualified florist from London who started her flower journey by taking short courses at her local adult education centre. She swiftly moved on to do a two-year diploma course in floristry and launch her company, Floral Evolution, in 2015. She set up her Instagram account to showcase her work and along the way, started to inspire the masses, us included.
Catherine describes her style as classic, to which we would add elegant and sometimes even majestic, with an element of surprise, whether that’s a bold colour, an unexpected combination or choice of a flower. That is something that she advises everyone to do – try new combinations and styles and experiment. Sometimes Catherine’s arrangements are extremely polished, other days a wild element or two is growing out of the vase. For her sophisticated but individualistic approach to flower arrangement, it is no surprise that Catherine is a wedding favourite making that special day even more special and beautiful for many couples.
Aesme Flower Studio
For sisters Alex Nutting and Jess Lister – owners of Aesme Flower Studio – it is equally important where their flowers come from and how they’ve been grown as it is how they look in their final arrangement. That is why they grow their own flowers in Hampshire using organic growing methods. The sisters compare this approach to cooking where quality of the ingredients affects the resulting meal as they are firm believers that naturally grown flowers are far more beautiful and scented than ones chemically enhanced and mass grown. With their work, they want to reconnect with the land the flowers come from and they aim to do the same for their customers which is why they regularly host online workshops with themes like table or bridal flowers.
Sustainability in general is very important to the sisters as they use recycled packaging, compost organic waste from events and never use floral foam. Instead, they recommend using tools like chicken wire or pin frogs to support the stems of your flowers. Allowing them space is another tip from Alex and Jess as they say a common rookie mistake is cramming in too much. Less is more is what Aesme is all about which is evident from the account’s feed, filled with paired back arrangements but with a wild look.
The ephemeral beauty and delicacy of flowers is what attracted all of the four ladies behind JamJar Flowers to floristry, as most of them made the leap from fashion which values beauty just as much. Led by founder Melissa Richardson, who in former life worked as a model agent, JamJar Flowers primarily focuses on events and fantastic installations, with clients including Mulberry and Sketch London.
However, its Instagram account showcases many achievable arrangements that we can all take inspiration from, with emphasis put on working with nature rather than against it and always championing naturally grown British flowers. JamJar’s advice for anyone having a go at flower arranging – let the flowers lead you with their natural shape, use freshly picked flowers and don’t underestimate beautiful foliage which is just as important to add as the flowers themselves.
JamJar Flowers has a sister account called JamJar Edit which is a shop selling flower pressings that are made in-house and botanically inspired gifts and homewares.
Floristry was a way for Erin Trezise-Wallace, a Canadian in North Somerset, to escape staring at a screen all day in an office job and to be more creative and hands on. Working her way through all the forms floral design can take, from retail to weddings to workshop hosting. She now fuses all of these under her own brand and design studio, Ecru Floral, which came to existence during lockdown last year. For her Instagram account of the same name, Erin photographs her creations which has been a learning curve, she admits, as translating all of the elements that go into making an arrangement what it is like colours, textures and shapes, into a single image can be a challenge. These photographs are joined and complemented by images of her inspirations, landscapes and her family.
Flower arranging is a personal meditative and creative practise for Erin and it is evident in her style, distinguishable for its delicacy, minimalism and balance. Negative space and unusual shapes and materials also play a role in her work, something that she advises everyone to do as she uses everything from weeds by the side of the road to stems from the garden. Not being afraid to cut stems short is another tip, to create depth and different levels, something that Erin certainly puts into practise.
Erin is no stranger to 91 Magazine as we have previously interviewed her on the blog for our Love What You Do series. Read the full interview by clicking below…
91 Magazine chats to Bristol florist Erin of Ecru Floral
Love of nature, flowers and plants started early on for LA-based Schentell Nunn, spending a big chunk of her childhood in her grandmother’s garden in Vermont. Then as a teenager, she had a go at floristry at her local grocery store. But it wasn’t until years later after completing her studies in interior architecture and design and creating her own jewellery brand inspired by natural forms that Schentell fully embraced her path. She believes her career in floral design was meant to be.
Schentell’s aesthetic can be described as whimsical garden style as she hopes to bring joy to her customers and brighten their day through this form of beauty that has been celebrated for centuries. Her design studio called Offerings now counts Chanel, Kanye West and Kosas among its clients.
Colour-paletting is key to Schentell’s work as her large multi-levelled creations favour pastels and ‘pretty’ colours that naturally work together. And it is this that she considers the most important aspect for anyone else having a go at flower arrangement – grouping colours and creating dimensions with highs and lows.
The Prettiest Posy
Styling comes as a second nature to West Yorkshire-based Sophie Warren-Smith. Trained in surface pattern and print, Sophie then spent 20 years as an interior stylist, all of which she utilised (and still does) when deciding to pursue her lifelong fascination with flowers and enrolling in an intensive floristry course. Being a stylist, Sophie already knew about composition, mixing colours and textures but seeing how creative one can be with flowers was mind-blowing.
As the name of her account and company suggests, the aesthetic of Sophie’s arrangements can be summed up as very pretty. She describes her approach as happy and joyful and seeing the look on her customers’ faces when she hands them their bouquet feels amazing to her as she creates arrangements for many weddings, as well as offering personal deliveries around Leeds, Halifax and Bradford. She loves using colour but in a very calm and relaxed way, rather than being too bold. Flowers always take centre stage as Sophie doesn’t often use fillers like foliage. A pro tip from Sophie is to have a good balance of flower varieties and heights. For more unusual arrangements, she recommends using wiggly stems with more movement.
When detailing her floristry style and inspirations, even the language that Pearl Watt chooses to use could only be described as floral. Reminiscent of a poem, I can picture the “dappled woods where wild foxgloves hide”, “dancing butterflies aloft pale pink musk mallow” and “tangled hedgerow vines that jostle with their cultivated cousins lupins” that she speaks of. That poetry is also felt through the imagery her Instagram account Millefleur is filled with, many of which are shot by her husband Jason Watt, as well as Pearl herself.
As with many others in the floristry world, Pearl had a different life before turning to this creative medium. In her case it was fashion design and her eye for all things beautiful, as well as for movement, flow and texture, has perfectly transferred from one design practice to the other. One tip is to create multiple levels by cutting stems into different lengths and use arching branches and sweeping vines to bring the eye low.
Nature is Pearl’s endless source of inspiration and living in the middle of rural Cotswolds with meadows, woods and gardens abundant with natural beauty on her doorstep, we can understand why. However, Millefleur doesn’t claim to improve the perfection that nature has composed, only to re-create and perhaps match it. Pearl loves to celebrate seasons and only uses locally grown seasonal flowers.
Hazel Gardiner Design
With a design studio based in East London and growing her own flowers in Wales, Hazel Gardiner loves to push and challenge herself creatively and technically when making her floral designs and installations, whether it is for weddings, people’s homes or clients like Channel 4 and Space NK. Hazel has always loved gardening and nature, partly because her mother was a gardener. That love has led her to reconsider her career in television production and turn to floristry instead which she finds deeply therapeutic with many mental health benefits.
As someone of dual heritage, British and Caribbean that is, Hazel loves to combine classical garden style with vibrant colours and experimental techniques. Including other unexpected materials like silk and textures such as dried flowers are also elements that can often be found in Hazel’s work. For anyone starting out, she points out focus on layering so that eyes can easily travel over an arrangement. Choosing large focal flowers and complementing them with smaller lighter blooms to create depth is more advice from Hazel. This and more she shares on her Instagram account where you can find reels and IGTV lives filled with tips and tricks.
If you’d like to explore Hazels work further, check out our Love What You Do interview with her. Click below….
Love What You Do interview with London floral designer Hazel Gardiner
Emily Avenson of Fleuropean describes her style as wildly romantic as she favours dark backdrops from which beautiful flower arrangements emerge and quotes the old Dutch masters as her direct inspiration. The Californian is now settled in rural Belgium, a move which has brought her closer to mother nature, and where she grows an array of flower varieties in her own garden in which she hosts one-to-one or small group workshops on natural floral design.
The florist-farmer also makes plant-dyed silk ribbons which often take part in her arrangements and uses her garden-grown flowers to put together her arrangements, always directly influenced by the current seasons, which she then puts on Instagram to inspire the masses and track her artistic growth. She encourages others to also have appreciation for seasonal blooms and find inspiration in what is currently growing. She advices not to get overwhelmed, focus on one element, whether it’s a flower, a fruit or foliage, and build your design around it.
Petalon started out in London with founder Florence Kennedy seeing a gap in the market for a delivery service providing beautiful bouquets of interesting and unusual flowers at affordable prices. Back then, Florence did all the flower arranging and delivering on her bike all around London.
But as more people came across Petalon and its lovely bouquets of the week – each week Petalon offers two different flower bouquets delivered across Britain before changing for another two bouquets the next week – and Florence covered weddings and events, the business grew. And when the pandemic hit, it was time for Petalon to move to a new location – a flower farm in Cornwall.
Having her own flower farm and growing her own flowers has enabled the founder to work with colours and varieties she had difficulty finding before. Customers can now purchase selections of field flowers which has an ever-changing seasonal menu. And what is Florence’s pro tip? Keep large flowers low and arrange smaller and more ornamental ones above them.
Olivee Floral was founded in 2019 by Karla Smith-Brown, a Brooklyn-based Canadian of Jamaican descent. And it was Karla’s Jamaican heritage that paved the way for her career in floristry following a trip to her family’s native land, a trip filled with distinct flora and beautiful greenery, vibrant scents and tastes. It reminded Karla of her childhood love for gardening and having her hands in the dirt. Upon returning to New York, she left her job in marketing, started taking classes in floristry and working in flower shops.
Olivee Floral was named in honour of Karla’s family history after her great-grandmother Olivee. Karla’s style is also informed by her background in the form of bold colours and choosing equally striking varieties of flowers, honouring the natural and seasonal, while taking inspiration from modern art.
Karla’s tip for successful flower arranging is a practical one – keep everything clean. To make your flowers last as long as possible, it’s crucial to limit bacteria by starting off with a clean vase – Karla uses bleach to clean hers – before filling it with fresh water. Remove any leaves on stems that reach below the water line and trim each stem to a 45° angle so that the flowers stay hydrated.
Johnny Crows Garden
Lucy Slater is a grower from Devon supplying seasonal flowers to florists, couples for weddings and everyday homes from her cutting garden with an emphasis on re-wilding the land. Lucy has worked in horticulture all her life and through her Instagram account Johnny Crows Garden, she now gets to share her own complex and extravagant floral creations with the general public and like-minded flower enthusiasts. Her account is named after an illustrated children’s rhyming book by L. Leslie Brooke, telling the tale of Johnny Crow’s animal friends visiting his beautiful garden.
Lucy’s arrangements are big, wild and untamed, as well as artistic and poetic but never tidy, with blooms falling and cascading, reminiscent of 17th century Dutch still life paintings from the likes of Jan Davidsz De Heem. Pictures of her arrangements are interwoven with images taken from fashion editorials with complementing colours or natural and floral themes.