Spring is here, so we’re chatting with Kat from Petal & Fern about all things floral, including some awesome tips for when doing DIY.
How did Petal & Fern get started?
After I finished floristry at TAFE, I started doing flowers for friends’ weddings, then for friends of friends – it really just grew from there. Today my work still focuses on weddings but I also do flowers for a lot of other events such as flower crown workshops for hens parties, which are heaps of fun.
Do you have any advice for people who would like to make their own flower arrangements for a party?
Proportions are really important in floristry, so take a close look at the vase you’ll be using. The height of your arrangement depends on the shape of the vase, but as a general rule the height of your arrangement from the top of the vase to the tallest flowers should at least be the same height as the vase, if not be a bit taller.
It takes a surprising amount of plant material to create an arrangement that looks really lush and full, so make sure you stock up on plenty of flowers and foliage! Pay close attention to the size of the opening of the vessel; the bigger the opening the more flowers you’ll usually need. If you’re on a budget, consider putting flowers in bottles – you can fill them quickly and won’t need to buy tons of blooms.
If you’re going to be running around organising a lot of other things on the day of the party, you probably don’t want to be arranging flowers too – consider using native or tropical flowers and you can make the arrangements a few days in advance.
We hear you’re a bit of a compulsive vase collector – do you have any tips for picking vases?
I love cut glass vases and the glazes on Australian pottery but I encourage people to think broadly about what you could put arrangements in, especially if you’re working to a theme.
Vintage drinking glasses and decanters, Campbell’s soup cans, teapots – if it holds water it can probably hold a flower arrangement!
Do you have any tips for keeping flowers alive for longer?
Keeping flowers in a cooler part of the house and away from direct sunlight always helps, and I definitely recommend replacing the water regularly and re-trimming the ends of the stems.
Remove leaves from the parts of the stems that will be sitting in water, as they’ll otherwise go off really quickly, which reduces the life of the arrangement.
A lot of florists sell sachets of flower food, but you can make your own by adding a tiny bit of sugar, lemon juice and bleach to the water.
What floral trends stand out for you?
At the moment flower arrangements tend to have a more free-flowing, unstructured shape to them. When you think about the ‘90s, wedding bouquets tended to be perfectly round, but now we’re seeing a lot more natural, even wild shapes, which I love.
As a general rule flowers don’t grow with perfectly straight stems or look absolutely identical to each other, so the style we’re seeing right now is really about embracing the natural beauty of the individual plants we work with, rather than trying to make the flowers fit a mold.
Do you have a favourite flower?
That’s a tough one, because every time I go to the flower markets I’m seeing something new, but I’ve loved dahlias for as long as I can remember. There’s so much variation and they always make a statement.
But so many flowers that come a close second: blushing bride proteas, sweet pea, hydrangea, delphinium, poppies, hellebores… I could go on for ages!