Thursday, 19 December 2013

Flowers, and all the trimmings

 I have recently been doing some work experience, some days in a shop, some days delivering corporate vases, and some days setting up weddings. Amazing! 

On one Monday morning corporate delivery run I actually walked into Gayle Kelly's office to place a couple of vases of hydrangeas on her desk. Her desk! Amazing!

One Saturday morning I squelched through some serious mud in my wellies to deliver flowers to a tent at a polo match. Slightly pretentious, but amazing!

The places that floristry might take you are seemingly endless.

One thing I have discovered about floristry that I hadn't anticipated was the extent to which florists are actually stylists. Wedding work is a perfect example of this. A florist's job doesn't end when the bouquets and buttonholes are made, that's exactly when the real detailed work begins. Florists are generally required to 'bump in'. This involves taking the flowers to the venue. The church, reception, or both. Then they style the set up. It seems to me that the decor the bride and groom have asked for is realised by the florist, not the venue. So table cloths are smoothed, table runners rolled out, centrepieces arranged, vases put in place. Then attention turns to the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. So far I have been involved in hanging hessian drapes, paper lanterns, glass baubles, tea light candles, and trees! Well, branches to be exact.

That's right. I climbed inside a scissor lift and attached branches to a venue ceiling. Let me tell you, styling is labour intensive. It takes hours to attach things to a ceiling. The flowers are all arranged and made ahead of time, they are the thing that requires the least attention on the day. It is really very surprising how much of the budget goes to flowers and how much is directed to the sourcing + labour involved with the decor. The flowers are not the costly element when you (the bride) want your reception to involve trees on the ceiling above your merry guests.

When we're done, we snap a few quick photos on our phones and high-tail it out of the venue. Sometimes there is a wait time applied to the proceedings, meaning the florist needs to return to the church to remove the flowers from there once the ceremony is complete. And of course the next day brings with it the 'bump out'. The florist will return to undo all of the hard styling work from the previous day. All of this adds up. Like I said, it's labour intensive, and accounts for some of the reason why the wedding industry is a lucrative one.

The talented team behind the above weddings push creativity and hard work out of the stratosphere! They are Pod Floral Design. I'm feeling very grateful and brimming with inspiration from my time learning from them. Here's to many more weddings in 2014.

K xx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Flower love

There are flowers I went into floristry expecting to love, and flowers I couldn't care less about. What surprised me more than flower preference was  how easily I could give my flowers away after class. My Mum, my Grandmother, and my Mother in Law, they all received flowers, some of them more than once. I had so many blooms to 'babysit' each week that I readily gave them away. I formed no attachment to my first ever King Protea, or the second for that matter. Both went to new homes, happily. A whole stem of Cymbidium Orchids was plucked from a makeshift vase and sent to my flower-loving Grandmother, who I am sure has never resented cut flowers. My Mum received my first ever spiralled posy, probably the best posy I've ever made. And yet I was eager to share my flowers with her.

It turns out you can resent flowers. I was short on space, short on vases, and changing the water in each vase/drinking glass was low on my to do list. I had anthuriums hanging out on my coffee table for weeks, and I was willing them to just die. It seemed like every time I went to class there would be more anthuriums in my bucket. Inevitably they'd join the other anthuriums still going strong in my living room. Don't even get me started on monsterea leaves...

There are flowers I love. Ranunculus are my current favourite. I'll never say no to a rose, especially the flawless David Austin varieties. So, here I thought i'd list the flower types that I am surprised I took a liking to:

Hydrangea- which can be devilishly difficult to keep looking 'happy' in the vase. But it's most endearing quality? It's BIG. Which means it fills a vase quickly, but most of all it's a dream flower to have when putting together a spiralled bouquet, hiding gaps, and just generally looking very pretty.

Magnolia Leaves- you only need to rub one of these beauties between your thumb and finger in order to fall in love. The velvet brown underside is magnificent. They are my absolute favourite leaf to wire for bouquets.

Berzelia- is striking, and oh-so-textured. This baby adds interest wherever you use it. It can jazz up a posy, be wired onto a hair circlet, or fill out a buttonhole. It adds serious interest wherever it goes.

Do you have a favourite flower?

K xx

Monday, 9 December 2013

Watch this space!

I was recently part of a creative collaboration involving some of the coolest creatives I know. The end result was a beautiful collection of images for my floristry portfolio.

A massive thank you from the depths of my gratitude reserves goes out to Erin Black, the dizzyingly talented photographer, who brought the whole thing together with faultless professionalism. And to the stunning singer songwriter, Sarah Bird, who put her model hat on for the occasion. And while I attempt to conquer technology and get these photographs up on Moss & Vine, here is a tiny sneak peek.

This is a wired posy bouquet of roses and hypericum berry (also known as St John's wort, also known as a noxious weed, and at $10-$12 per bunch wholesale at the markets, it is a rather expensive weed). This design is characterised by the formal and even placements of the flowers and its perfect dome shape. It is 'dressed' with camelia leaves ringing the base of the dome, and a decorative handle bound with a complementary ribbon. It is a popular choice as a wedding posy as it won't lose it's shape. Each flower, leaf and bunch of berry is individually cut from it's natural stem, wired onto an artificial stem, and then taped with special floristry tape. All of the individual elements are taped into this final arrangement.

More images to follow.

K xx

***P.S Erin was also behind the header and footer pics here on Moss & Vine.
Contact her at
You can check out Sarah Bird's music at
Flowers by Moss & Vine

Friday, 6 December 2013

Bow down

"For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived -- a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace."

- President Obama

The King Protea is the King of all flowers. It is also the national flower emblem of South Africa.

K xx

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


As soon as my floral career had begun it was very clear I lacked a necessary tool: a large stash of vases. I was attending two classes per week and coming home with fresh flowers after each class. I very quickly exhausted my modest vase collection.

And so countless blooms and leaves were stripped, snipped and plonked into various drinking glasses each week. My problem was now two-fold. Too few vases and too few tumblers for drinking from.

This is the first new vase I bought to address my vase deficit. Whilst not a large vase, it is dramatic to say the least.

Needless to say, vase numbers have increased in this household recently.

K xx

A floral feeling

Around the middle of the year I acknowledged a 'feeling' that I had spent the best part of eight or nine years dismissing. The feeling that I might like to be a florist. When I was around 16 years old I thought that I'd really like to be a florist. That was, if I didn't adore school and learning, and wasn't planning on pursuing a university degree and a career in...something. But those things, were in fact, my biggest priorities. I loved history and literature. I was a diligent student. And I know this because 'diligence' was a word that was used frequently by my teachers on my report cards. And so, floristry was well and truly buried. Floristry was a career path for girls who dropped out of school mid-way through. Not for me. I had a university degree to obtain in...something.

I did get that university degree (and it wasn't a fun, or fast ride). But it meant nothing to me. It still doesn't. University was quite simply put: a disappointment. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, what jobs I might be best suited to, and what career path I was capable of tackling. I have a degree in something. Something I struggle to articulate when faced with the questions, "what is anthropology?" and, "what can you do with a degree in anthropology?".

Floristry. That's what I've decided to do with my degree in anthropology. And in September I took the first step. I started attending floristry school.

So, read along as I document my progress from floristry student to florist extraordinaire! I hope to grow Moss & Vine from simply a student's blog spot, to extra-curricular creative outlet, to flourishing business that will pay my bills and leave a little left over to fill my house with ranunculus every Spring.

Warm regards from a ranunculus lover,

Kate  xx