A very February Wedding

This is a photo shoot i flowered at the fantastic Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire, this February. As we all know the summer wedding is most sought after, with the huge array of colourful summer blooms and the promise of sunshine gracing your day. But with 2 thirds of this years weddings being postponed and a lot of venues diary’s already booked for the following summer, couples will be looking at different seasons to configure their big day. SO, here is my example of a very February wedding day!

Photographer – Eneka Stewart, Props – Beryl Vintage, Macrame – Loubelle, Models – my wonderful friends Lana and Charles

The flowers I used for Lana’s headdress and bouquet were all grown locally and they included Hellebores, Chaenomele, Mahonia, Magnolia and Blossom. These are just a few of the gorgeous blooms which you can use in February for a super seasonal display!

To hang from the thatched roof i created a dried flower cloud, bringing a huge natural aura to the barn while demonstrating the winter season.

I took an essence from this centerpiece when designing the rest of the florals which spread the style throughout this whimsical day. Wooden stumps filled with elegant grasses and feathers decorated the entrance to the Round House which is situated amougst woodland. Dotted around Aborefield were horseshoes adorned with an array of dried flowers.

That wraps up my February wedding shoot! Hopefully this brings some inspiration for late winter weddings using only British Flowers!

If you have any questions about what seasonal flowers can be grown at The Nagundo Tree Flower Farm then please do let me know!

Sending lots of love to all the couples out there who have had to postpone their big day.

Love Ash x

April – welcome the weeds

Good Morning Flower, Plant and Earth Lovers!

Here i am going to be sharing with you my life of growing flowers and how i take care of my own little eco-system, my personal paradise.

The power of nature has shone so brightly into our lives these past weeks. Having been forced to slow down our busy lives, the connection between us and mother earth has been profoundly appreciated. You may have found sanctuary in your garden or local green space, listening to the birds and the bee’s or watching the blossoms pop. Having my hands in the soil and trying to learn what seedling is what has been a wonderfully calming activity : can i eat you? are you a self seeded flower? or were you destined for the compost? Getting to know my weeds has been one of my personal tasks this week and it has been far more rewarding than i expected.

A flower arrangement using the best of April’s weeds – listed below with their uses.

DandelionTaraxacum officinale – all parts of our common dandelion are edible, pop the new leaves in a salad for a bitter taste or use the flowers for to make dandelion wine.

White Dead NettleLamium album – the dead nettle’s have no sting and are not actually related to their lookalike. Instead these little ones reside in the Mint family, with little bell flowers which grow in circles above each set of hairy leaf. The flowers and young growth is edible when eaten raw or cooked!

NettleUrtica dioica – I always used to despise this weed, but since putting it to use I’ve learnt to welcome the fresh shoots with a quick snip! The Nettle has long been used in Tea’s or Soup but my favourite use is one I came across only last week. Anna Greenland’s recipe for a Nettle and Rosemary Hair Tonic left my hair feeling fantastic the next day.

Sticky Weed/CleaversGalium aparine – the weed of everyone’s childhood. Harvest while the growth is young to use in a nourishing tea – it will help clear the toxins from your body and is also good if you are prone to cystitis. When the sticky weed goes to seed you can use them to make a very popular wild coffee.

Cow Parsley Anthriscus sylvestris – this common beauty floods our roadsides from April to June and can be used as a whimsical addition to seasonal flower displays. Don’t forget to sear the stems to avoid fast wilting. Our native orange tipped butterflies love Cow Parsley too!

White CloverTrifolium repens – i have picked this before they have come into flower, at this stage they are good to throw into a salad or garnish a soup. Once the flowers have arrived, collect these or the seed pods, grind and use as flour!

Hopefully this insight into some of Britain most common weeds will help you turn these often unwanted garden lodgers into welcome ingredients for wholesome recipes and remedies.

Please do let me know if you have any questions or comments about this piece! With this weeks rain the weeds are sure to be thriving, so happy weeding everyone!!!

Love Ash x

Bloom’s in season

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Nagundo Tree’s blog, its good to have you here!

I really hope you enjoyed last weeks blog and hopefully some of you tried out drying your own flowers. With valentines getting near there might be some roses coming your way which you just might not want to let go of … if not, nothing wrong with buying your own!

What flowers are in season for my wedding?’ is a common question spanning the entire 12 months. There is plenty going on through out each season and even though it may seem that you get the best of the bunch in the summer months there is much to be seen all year long. I have broken up the flowers grown through the year into the season where they really shine! Some have extended flowering periods which may continue blooming into the next quarter, or show its face a little earlier when the British weather gives it a little glimpse of the future. None the less there are flowers to appreciate ALL YEAR LONG. During our colder months, there are plenty of indoor bulbs, hardy shrubs and winding branches which compliment your greenhouse and polytunnel aided florals.

Whether you have chosen your date because of the flowers you love, or if you simply don’t know yet what flowers there are to love, then this should hopefully give you some exciting inspiration. These blooming periods are based on the British seasons which even though may be unpredictable, its bloody marvellous watching them develop. After the cold winter months the blossoms and bulbs start popping or down the line and the tree’s rupture into rustic tone, there are colours and textures for all of your wedding visions to come alive.

Enjoy exploring the bounty of flowers amidst each season and if anyone has any questions or queries about your flowering wedding month then do not hesitate to let me know.

From Ash

Preservation Experimentation

Friday 25th January 2019

To collect, print, photograph and all other means of documenting florals and nature, was my big aim for the year ahead. This is to be the start of my blog where I share with you my exploration into all things nature.

I really enjoy working with the changing seasons, making the most of what’s around me at the time. Winter is a spectacular time of year where you can appreciate what’s under the beautiful face of most shrubs and tree’s. We see the twisting stems of a Corylus avellane ‘Contorta’, or when the blood red leaves of a Euonymus alatus finally give in and fall away the cork ridged stems get their time in the limelight.

You can go out and appreciate these wonders in the woodland or hopefully in your own garden but sometimes when its feeling awfully cold I do miss the bright florals and dainty petals. When we have flowers in abundance during warmer times, why not keep some preserved in perfection for those rainy days. As the seed pods are in profusion and the ferns are turning golden brown, I think that the dried flowers sit more than comfortably in a winter arrangement. So now I’m going to share with you the beginnings of my preservation experimentation and create flowers which defy the seasons.

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Hang and Dry Method

For a long time now I have been saving all left over flowers, hanging them up and letting them dry with a prolific result. Using this very simple method you can save your birthday flowers and begin your own dried flora collection.

For smaller flowers you can hang them up in bunches and for a large rose, like in my examples below, I prefer to hang individually. Tie them with a wire or an elastic so that when the stems reduce during the drying process they wont fall free. Find yourself a small attic space, closet or darker area of the house to prepare your hanging garden. Plenty of air ventilation and making sure its on the warmer side are both useful tips to creating the perfect spot. If you hang your flowers in direct sunlight they are much more likely to fade ! Now that you have your area simply attach lengths of string across from wall to wall using hooks or nails and hang your flowers at intervals about a hands width apart. Usually the process takes a couple of weeks but they are ready when the stems and flower become rigid.

Below is a selection of my roses which I have photographed every few days for just over a fortnight.

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The hang and dry method works well with grasses, heathers, seed pods including Lunaria annua (honesty), herbs and Gypsophlia. Many other flowers sometimes appear too ridged, this isn’t helped by its tendency to point downwards as it is in the upside down position whilst drying.

The aim for preserving flowers is for the specimen to resemble the original characteristics it was given to us with. Which leads me to part 2 of my preservation experimentation.

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Kiln Dry Sand Method

For the flower to be held in its own unique form and structure, it needs to have support. This support should be evenly distributed and need to fall in between petals and into the smallest cavities. After much research and reading i’ve found that a number of drying mediums have been trialled and tested, from silica gel to sawdust. I’ve read in a fantastic preservation book from 1971 that sand is the best drying media, but not just any sand, ‘the best variety comes from the shores of Great Salt Lake in Utah’. I wont go into detail now but the general consensus is that sand is often jagged and even though miniscule, its tiny sharp edges could prick and damage the delicate petals. The sand from the salt lake however, is smooth and very absorbent! As I live in the UK and would like as many of you to try out preserving flowers for your own, I needed to come up with a local and more readily available media.

Kiln dry sand is a very clean, dry and fine sand, which means so far it fits my criteria! It should apply even pressure around the entire flower head whilst making its way into all its tiniest pockets. Below you can see I have filled containers with sand concealing my flowers, both up right and upside down (simply to see the difference) and now I must wait 2 weeks before I expose the preserved florals and see the outcome of my experiment!

 

Thank you for reading the first blog post of 2019, I hope you enjoyed it! If any of you have any of their own points and tips on flower preservation, or if you decide to give either of these methods a go, then I would love to hear about it!

Happy Flower Preserving !

Love Ash

 

Red Rooster

‘Only Fools and Flowers’ are back for the summer of ’17 and we kicked it off with our all swinging and dancing, rhythm and blues festival – Red Rooster!

We love it at Red Rooster and it seems like the Red Roosters love flowers! The sun shined down every day and we loved decorating the many heads with luscious halo’s of fresh flowers.

Children and Adults alike took part in our hands on workshops where each person involved learnt to create their very own headdress in their very own style! My favourite of the weekend had to be this lovely little one who found these feathers to give her head dress that extra spectacular look!

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Here are a colourful selection of snaps from the fantastic weekend we had at our favourite festival!

 

 

Kings Chapel Vintage Opening Evening

The most recent Wedding Fair held at the Kings Chapel, Old Amersham, took place on a perfect summers evening. Surrounded by suppliers basing their designs and decorations on a vintage theme, I created a summery floral display with that in mind.

Using a mixture of summer flowers in bright, bold colours, enhanced by an eclectic mix of foliage’s, I used my natural style to create a display suited to a country inspired wild wedding.

Flowers include Peony, Dahlia, Ranunculus, Aguiligia, Antirrhinum, Spray Rose

 

Chelsea Flower Show

I was lucky enough to go to the wonderful flower show in Chelsea last week. I was so inspired & felt like it was important to share it with you all! I would definitely recommend going next year if flowers are, or are not your thing, either way it is a creatively stimulating day for everyone. Here are a few of my favourite images from the day & a bit about what they are & why I like them:

The Wild Horse Welfare Garden was definitely one of my favourite gardens, with its wild style and clever horse shoe sculpture. The contrast in poisonous plants to beautiful wildflowers help tell the story of a horse named Clippy, rescued by Wild Horse Welfare.

 

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This year at Chelsea a very popular flower seemed to be the iris which appeared in most of the gardens, the stunning ice blue colour was a star of the show.