You've taken down the Christmas tree, the sparkly lights are but a memory and your living room is looking as drab and depressing as the sky outside. Why not make a resolution this year to up your flower arranging game, and learn the skills to brighten up your living space whatever the season?
I was lucky enough to take the 'Winter Whites' floral class at The London Plane which proved that, even in the depths of January, some gorgeous flowers, a bit of creative inspiration and a glass of wine can provide the perfect seasonal antidote to those midwinter blues.
It's inspiring just walking into the stunningly beautiful little London Plane space in Occidental Square and even more so when it's filled with bucket after bucket of glorious flowers - huge fat roses, sprays of smaller roses in shades of ivory and cream, branches of quince, tiny narcissi, bunches of eucalyptus and bay, and every size of carnation.
The quality and amount of floral material available to play with was truly exceptional. A selection of vases was also provided, and everyone is given a pair of professional flower shears to keep. The $150 price of the class also includes delectable snacks from London Plane, wine, tea and coffee, and, of course, you end up with your own stunning arrangement to take home.
Class started with a discussion about sourcing, caring for and preparing different types of flowers and then Katherine Anderson, the owner of London Plane, and florists Brita Fisher and Jeni Nelson each demonstrated different ways of using the materials available. These are not your grandma's flower arrangements. Their' style is relaxed and informal with a loose, romantic, contemporary feel and the arrangements they came up with were just gorgeous.
Then it was our turn to choose from the vast selection of flowers and foliage and create our own designs, while the deliberately small class size meant that there was plenty of opportunity to grab the London Plane girls for personalized help and instruction.
Here are some of the top tips from the London Plane ladies for creating your own winter white arrangements.
Source Interesting Flowers
A beautiful arrangement starts with beautiful flowers and the women suggested that we get to know our local flower farmers to source some of the more unusual varieties. The London Plane is obviously a fabulous source - owner Katherine has her own flower farm in Carnation - and they also suggest going to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in Georgetown, which is open to retail customers on Fridays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., or just befriending the flower growers at your local farmers' market.
Working with White Flowers Throughout the Year
Every season brings its own white flowers, so you should have plenty of choice throughout the year, especially if you include shades of palest blush pink, buttery yellow, creams and ivories. Think about how you want to use green in your arrangement - maybe choose silver leaves or strip most of the foliage to create a predominately white arrangement or emphasize the green by including plenty of leaves among your flowers.
Creating Interest Using a Monochrome Palette
Sticking to a single color, such as white, gives you lots of scope to mix different varieties of flowers and leaves into your arrangement for texture and interest. Keeping the color palette simple also means that this a great opportunity to dig out that ornate or colorful vase inherited from your great aunt, which would be too much paired with a busier, brighter arrangement.
And my arrangement? Well I was thrilled and amazed by what I was able to create - a professional-looking arrangement, stuffed with all my favorite flowers, that is currently brightening up my dining table. I haven't missed my Christmas tree one little bit.
The florists from the London Plane hold seasonal floral classes throughout the year. With the exception of July and August, when the team is busy with weddings, they aim to hold two classes a month either featuring seasonal flowers such as peonies or hellebores, or helping students to create seasonal floral arrangements such as Thanksgiving table settings, Easter baskets or Christmas wreaths. Private classes can be organized upon request.