THE COVENT GARDEN ACADEMY OF FLOWERS
We were so excited to get an invitation from The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers to visit their London studio in the creative and dynamic heart of the West End.
For centuries flowers have traditionally been a decorative expression for celebrating special occasions as well as being used to showcase love.
Under the direction of Gillian Wheeler the Academy of Flowers’ course team offer a variety of expertise in Flower Design. You can choose from a Classic Flower Design Diploma which lasts for 30 weeks, to a one day Hand Ties and Posies course, to an evening course learning how to decorate tables with an eye-catching centerpiece for home and events. The Academy studio boasts a range of facilities, studio spaces, presentation and preparation areas, flower chill rooms, workshops, as well as a library and study area.
“Flowers to me are the most amazing and beautiful creations. Nothing on earth can match their colours, textures, and fragrances. In my career I have worked with precious objects, textiles and antiques, but flowers and foliage are living things. Some say that this is their failing, the fact that they are transient, but to me this is their strength; continually renewing, evolving and changing. Imagine the seasons if it were perpetually autumn – how tired we would be of orange, red and gold!” – Gillian Wheeler, Principal
The Academy courses provide students with the fundamentals needed for their imagination to create - learning all the tricks of the trade and skills of a professional florist.
With a skip in our step, we headed to vibrant, creative and cosmopolitan Covent Garden, home to the iconic film and story of My Fair Lady where flower girl Eliza Doolittle sold violets. We were signed on for the Hand Ties and Posy course in The Academy’s studio located in St Martin’s Courtyard.
The first things we learnt was that 80% of time is spent conditioning the foliage and flowers, and only 20% of the remaining time is spent making an arrangement or bouquet.
With that, we each chose a selection of beautiful blooms and foliage from a paint box of colours, and resumed to condition our stems by carefully removing stray leaves and thorns below the binding point of our spiral hand-tied bouquet.
We were then shown how to prepare our spiral bouquet by using our left hands to hold the flowers and foliage, and adding each individual stem across our bodies with our right hand - mimicking the stroke of a violin – from our top left shoulder to our right hip.
Finally, we were taught how to wrap our masterfully created spiral hand-tied bouquet in cellophane for safe transit.
Next, we were given instructions on how to make the perfect little posy of flowers for a bridesmaid or flower girl by wiring some pretty orchids, roses and foliage. This was quite a finicky process – but a skill we are proud to now know about! The same wiring process can be used to prepare fabulous buttonholes for the Groom and his groomsmen, as well as Fathers of the Bride and Groom.
If you have an interest in flowers, you may enjoy visiting the Academy either to advance your skills of floral design, or perhaps if you’re a Bride, you could attend a course with your mum or bridesmaids as a bonding experience and learn new techniques in advance of your special day.
That said, if you’re a Bride that doesn’t have the time, inclination or creative eye to learn and prepare the flowers for your special day, The Academy of Flowers can also help with floral design for your wedding or event! You can hire their fabulously creative and professional floristry team to design and decorate your venue, transforming the space into a beautifully memorable event.
Thank you to Gillian and the team at The Academy for a brilliant day!