Country Wedding in Magherally

Take a peak at these beautiful memories as Ruth & Thomas celebrate their first anniversary today. They were married in Magherally Presbyterian Church just outside Banbridge and celebrated at The Culloden Estate & Spa. Ruth chose a rich burgundy red colour for her bridesmaids dresses and I absolutely love the rich and velvety black baccara rose we chose to tone with the dresses as well as thistles and berries for autumnal texture. Photos by Peter Mackey Photography, thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with me xx.

Advertisements

Vintage, Rustic Real Wedding L&G

Lauren & Gareth are celebrating their first anniversary today and it’s the perfect excuse to share some happy memories of their wedding day by my fav Signature Photography.

They were married in Glengormley Baptist Church and celebrated at The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena afterwards. The bridesmaids wore deep purple dresses, which introduced lovely autumnal shades of purple, aubergine and lilac into the bride’s wildflower style bouquet including the dark and sultry vibernum berry.

The wedding theme had a distinctly rustic feel with lots of vintage props, hessian and decoupage, so we kept it simple for the bridesmaids with posies of white baby’s breath. The church was dressed with my vintage ladder and rustic vintage apple crates with a free-form wild floral arrangement.

Happy Anniversary Mr & Mrs Mornin and thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with me xx

#themornins #realwedding #northernirelandwedding #autumnwedding #octoberwedding #weddingflowers #weddingflorist #wildflowerbouquet #rusticwedding #vintagewedding #weddingprophire #ditsyfloraldesign

A Decadent November Wedding

Danielle and Kyle were married on a windy November day last year in a lovely local to me country church, Brookvale Presbyterian. The celebrations continued in the elegant surrounds of Bellingham Castle. This wedding presented one of my biggest challenges in 2015 as Danielle and I came up with the quirky idea of whimsical & wild foliage hoops adorning the outside wall of the church (pinched from Pinterest obviously), my challenge was ensuring they stayed on the wall during one of the first winter storms to hit land last winter!! It was all fine and definitely a challenge I’d be up for again! The church window ledges were decorated with painted wooden crates filled with flowers which moved to the table centres in the venue. The church communion table was adorned with a decadent hydrangea and amaranthus garland and the bouquets were winter posies of soft pink and blush roses, king protea, garden grown dahlias, berries, thistles, wax flower and dramatic trailing red amaranthus. The boys wore rustic exposed stem buttonholes of thistles, spray roses and wax flower. Danielle and Kyle are celebrating their first anniversary on the 12 November 2016 and sent me these gorgeous memories of their special day taken by Colin Tuff A Higher Love Photography.

Danielle also shared these kind words with me:

“Words cannot describe how grateful I am for all your hard work and attention to detail. Out of all the things that I planned for the wedding talking to you about the flowers was my favourite. Everything was so perfect and more than I could have ever imagined. I couldn’t recommend you enough. As soon as anyone tells me they are getting married, you are the first person I recommend. Thank you so much again for making our day so perfect. You are an amazingly talented lady.”

 Awh it really was an absolute pleasure…I love that I get to be involved in one of most special days of someone’s life! x

Ditsy Floral on #WhisperingWillowNI

IMG_1789

It’s #WeddingWednesday and I’m so pleased to share that Ditsy Floral Design was featured on Whispering Willow NI, a fab wedding blog for Northern Ireland.

Check out the feature here: http://www.whisperingwillowni.com/ditsyfloraldesign/

Ditsy Floral Design – floral designs using seasonal, homegrown flowers and foliage.

We do #weddingflowers #wildfowerweddings #naturalweddingflowers #vintageweddingflowers #countryweddingflowers #justpickedweddingflowers #cottagegardenflowers #vintagewedding #naturalwedding

#britishflowers #niflowers #irishflowers #seasonalflowers #naturalflowers

#weddingflowersbanbridge #weddingflowersni

Seed Saving & Autumn Sowing

Sweet Pea Seed Pods on the plant
Sweet Pea Seed Pods on the plant

#growerflorist #artisanflorist #homegrownflowers #britishflowers #niflowers #irishflowers

This is my first year growing seasonal #cutflowers on the #DitsyFloral cutting patch and its certainly peak harvest time in the garden. I have a glut of dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, rudbeckia, scabiosa, cosmos, hydrangea and cornflowers. Armfuls of flowers each time I cut and whilst I’m enjoying the rewards of this year’s garden, there’s no time to rest on my laurels, as it’s time to think about next year. Leaving a few flowers to fully mature and go to seed is all part of the plan, and I spent part of my weekend harvesting these sweet pea pods. This is my first attempt at seed harvesting, so it may or may not work! I’ve popped the seed pods to open a gap to allow air in and then placed them in the hot press to dry out for 1-2 days, then they will be opened and the seeds sorted into envelopes and stored in the garage (cool and dark).

Seed harvest end of Aug 2014
Seed harvest end of Aug 2014

But the main job in the next few weeks is an #autumnsowing, Mr Higgledy at HiggledyGarden highly recommends an autumn sowing of some annuals. The main reason is to get much earlier flowers than sowing the same seeds in spring. The plants will also be bigger, stronger and more productive – yes, yes and yes please! The second reason is quite simply that it saves time in spring – sowing and weeding. An autumn sown bed can be mulched in spring as the plants will be big enough to work around, then it can be pretty much left to get on with it – multitasking #growerflorist!

Fingers crossed the saved seeds germinate! Maybe someday, if I keep up the learning, I’ll be able to stop calling myself a beginning gardener!

Thanks for reading

Elaine x

#BritishFlowerWeek and Locally Grown Seasonal Flowers for your Wedding

I couldn’t let ‪#‎Britishflowersweek pass by without a post. This is the second year of the celebration of British grown flowers, an idea devised by the New Covent Garden Flower Market, the main hub of flower trading in the UK. The idea is to raise awareness about the choice and availability of home-grown blooms and foliage in a market dominated by imports.

Wildflower Posy Jar
Wildflower Posy Jar by Ditsy Floral Design

My own cut flower patch is starting to be quite productive. There’s love-in-a-mist, cornflowers, larkspur, cosmos, scabiosa, sweetpea, sweet william, candytuft and ammi. At home there aren’t many surfaces left which don’t have vases on them! Even so my scale of production, a polytunnel and a few raised beds, is tiny compared to the new breed of artisan flower farmers springing up across the water in GB. There seems to be a renewed interest in locally grown flowers, particularly with couples planning their wedding, so here’s my top reasons for choosing locally grown seasonal flowers for your wedding:

Why buy Locally Grown Seasonal Flowers for your wedding?

  • Flowers are grown, not flown!  Nearly 90% of the flowers sold in the UK are imported and many travel over 3000 miles.  The average flower miles of my bouquets are much less, as well as the plant material I supply from my own garden, I source from NI flower farmers and British growers as much as possible.
  • Flowers are hand picked the day before your wedding, ensuring they are at their freshest, most scented and will last longer in your vase.
  • Seasonal, locally grown flowers are very much ‘on trend’ at the moment with a move to supporting the local economy, local producers, as well as a shift back to more traditional native flowers such as Sweet Pea, Nigella and Cornflowers, flowers that would have been used by florists in years gone by, therefore a genuine nod to Vintage styling.
  • Seasonal flowers can be more cost effective for the budget conscious bride.
  • Local or home grown flowers help biodiversity, providing food and habitat to a variety of butterflies, bugs and bees.
Peony Bouquet, peonies locally grown by Moorfield Flowers and arranged by Ditsy Floral Design
Peony Bouquet, peonies locally grown by Moorfield Flowers and arranged by Ditsy Floral Design

Happy wedding planning and remember, you can also support local flower farmers and growers when you buy flowers from the supermarket or florist, always check for an origin sticker on supermarket flowers or ask your florist!

Thanks for reading xx

I’m back…

Hello and apologies for my absolute disgraceful lack of blog posts in recent weeks and months! I think this might be one of my worst kept resolutions ever!! And the guilt I’ve experienced every time wordpress reminded me to blog!!

But not to worry, I have actually been doing loads to build my business recently – with weddings and bridal consultations to my gardening discoveries and learnings.  I have lots of content to update you on in coming posts.  In the meantime, a quick update of me and some photos from a recent shoot in my garden…

Elaine Groves, a freelance florist and home grown flower grower in Banbridge, Co Down, Northern Ireland.  From my small cut flower patch and polytunnel outside Banbridge, I grow my own flowers, herbs and foliages for a truly traditional ‘country chic’ or ‘wild romantic’ style.  All my creations are hand made with love and dedication at my peaceful floral studio in the heart of the countryside.

Photography credit to Oliver McKeown.

Florist Friday

I’m currently devouring all flower related blog content and I love the flower inspired blog flowerona by Rona Wheeldon. I came across her concept of Florist Friday and that’s certainly suits me as I only ever seem to have time to write my blog on a Friday!!

I must apologise for the delay in my posts this month. I have been very busy #tiredflorist. Firstly, a house move at the start of the month set the pace. More space for the toddler and the bouncy dog – but most importantly, a garage that has been very quickly adopted as a floral studio!!

Surrounded by a sea of boxes and jam jars and only two days into the new house I found myself working on a bouquet for my first bridal photo shoot with Grace & Saviour for Rock the Frock Wedding Fair!! I’m very excited! The styling brief was pastel pinks, peach and silvery green tones in a natural and wild hand tie. I haven’t seen the official shots yet, but here is a taster…

935152_785829908097774_1994600614_n

Ditsy Floral Rustic Hand Tie Locally Grown Eucalyptus

My style is very natural and a lot of my inspiration is drawn from nature and the countryside around me…nothing too formal. My work is more organic than that of a traditional florist. Working in this way gives my designs a variety in texture, form, colour and scent.  Here I’ve used locally grown Eucalyptus from Barbara Erwin of Foliage Works and foraged ivy from the garden with Spring flowers Tulips and Ranunculus.  My mum has always been a keen gardener and growing up in the countryside a love of plants and flowers was instilled in me from a very young age.  I love working with material from my own cutting garden and seasonal locally grown flowers whenever possible.

Next, I was lucky enough to secure a slot at the Belmont Hotel Bridal Fayre, my local in Banbridge!  I was the only florist in attendance and totally delighted with the response from brides-to-be.  Here are some pics from the night…

Ditsy Floral Button Hole

Groom’s Buttonhole

Ditsy Floral Rustic hand tied bouquet tulips roses eucalytus

Rustic Spring Hand Tied Bouquet

Ditsy Floral Trailing Bouquet

Wild and Romantic Rose, Lisanthus and Ivy Trailing Bouquet

Vintage Tea Cup Posy

Vintage Tea Cup Posy

1902912_788992557781509_1311220220_n

Mini floral topiary tree with Carnations and Chrysanthemums – perfect for table centres or larger versions for entrance doors!

The tail end of the month has been busy with enquires and consultations for 2014 and 2015…so lots more exciting and beautiful weddings are in the pipeline.  Ditsy Floral is really taking off!

Thanks for reading.

Choosing Seeds for Cut Flowers

This week, I have been deciding on the cut flower crops that I want to grow this Summer. I have already planted an Autumn sowing of seedlings in the tunnel, all these seeds were all purchased from Higgledy Garden . These seedlings are doing well and I hope they will bloom earlier than the winter/spring sowings. I also need to sow more of these seeds in March he as it is useful to stagger the sowing and planting out to get the longest possible growing season from each crop.

The first seeds I’m going to sow this year are Sweet Peas. I sourced my Sweet Pea seeds from Sarah Raven, picking a spectrum of pink colours. Perfect for weddings and in old-fashioned, highly scented varieties – ‘Painted Lady’, ‘Mrs Collier’, ‘Anniversary’, ‘Matucana’, ‘Lord Nelson’ and ‘Prince Edward of York’.

sweet pea1   sweet pea2

Sweet Peas don’t like root disruption, so I’m going to make seedling tubes from old newspaper that once the seedlings are big enough can be planted straight into the ground.  You can also use toilet roll inners or even cut up egg boxes, although the egg boxes don’t allow the seedlings much growth.  Basically the paper or cardboard will degrade in the soil allowing the root ball to break through and continue growing.

Zinnia

Zinnia Giant Mix – I trialled growing Zinnias in window boxes last year with great success and at the moment they are my favourite cut flower – they have a long cutting season and excellent vase life, you will easily get 3 weeks from a freshly cut Zinnia.  The flowers of the giant variety are spectacular, huge and long-lasting.  For a florist used to more traditional flowers, Zinnias can replace Gerbera very easily, but will need to be wired as a Gerbera for extra support.  Some of the varieties also resemble Dahlias and others Chrysants, so they are very versatile.  They can be a little tricky to grow as they are prone to botrytis, but I didn’t have a problem last year.  I’ve also ordered Zinnia Elegans Envy an acid green variety that will add a pop of colour to a bouquet or work really well in an achromatic colour scheme.

Most florists will be familiar with Moluccella laevis or Bells of Ireland – these tall spikes of fresh apple-green bells are stunning in a simple vase arrangement. You need to put the seed in the freezer for a week before you sow it to guarantee good germination.  So, this one could prove a little tricky and they will definitely need staking when they grow!

Cosmos

Cosmos are pretty and bright, and give you plenty of color for a small investment. I haven’t grown them before but apparently they are very easy to grow from seed and make beautiful cut flowers.  Most cosmos are annuals, but there are perennial varieties. Popular tall choices include Bright Lights, Cosmic Orange and Cosmic Yellow; dwarf plants include Sunny Red, Sunny Gold and Lady Bird. Cosmos bloom all summer, and you can usually get a second bloom from them by cutting back the early blooms. When they go to seed, I hope to collect and save seeds for next year, who knows I might even have surplus to sell!

I have also ordered Eryngium, a funky decorative thistle that adds texture and last well into Autumn for seasonal designs.

I’ve also ordered some Dahlia tubers from Peter Nyssen who sell a wide range of bulbs online.  Dahlias are a must in the cutting garden as they provide colour well into the Autumn and long after other summer flowers have died away.  The more they cut the more they flower which is exactly what a grower florist desires.  The Karma range have been bred specially as a cut flower variety as they have strong stems and a good vase life.

Karma Serena
Karma Serena

 

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison

 

Karma Naomi
Karma Naomi

 

Karma Fiesta
Karma Fiesta

 

Karma Choc
Karma Choc

 

Gerrie Hoek
Gerrie Hoek

 

Downham Royal Pom Pom
Downham Royal Pom Pom

 

Cafe Au Lait Dahlia
Cafe Au Lait Dahlia

While I wait for my seeds and Dahlia tubers to be delivered, I need to turn my attention to preparing the ground.  I have a lot of new beds to dig; I’m going to need lots of free labour (retired dad – tick), lots of strong tea (Punjana – tick) and some chocolate biccies (tick).  Now for a baby sitter…