4 flower arranging tips from Hampton Court flower show

Have you ever been to Hampton Court flower show? I went at the weekend.  Flower shows are great places for flower arranging inspiration.  There are ideas to pick up when you’re watching flower arranging demonstrations, spending time looking at the competitive flower arranging exhibits and seeing how the traders and exhibitors are decorating their stands with cut flowers.

I was fortunate enough to watch Jonathan Moseley’s flower arranging demonstration in the Rose Theatre at Hampton Court. You might know Jonathan from the BBC show Allotment Challenge. He passed on lots of hints and tips which I’m going to share with you.

Flower arranging ideas from Hampton Court flower show

There were four main themes I took away from Hampton Court. I’m sure you’ll find them helpful when you’re arranging flowers to enjoy at home.

  1. Use one colour
  2. Build your arrangement in layers
  3. Think about contrasting textures and shapes
  4. Don’t forget to buy British
arranging flowers Hampton Court flower show
arranging flowers Hampton Court flower show

Use one colour

Jonathan shared how to create a bowl arrangement, suitable for your dining or coffee table. The flowers he chose were all white, set against green foliage.  This is a really sophisticated colour scheme - suitable for any occasion and is very soothing to the eye. When you’re arranging flowers at home settling on one colour makes buying your flowers at lot easier – for more tips on buying flowers take a look at this blog post.

The whites in Jonathan’s arrangement were gladioli, stocks, alstromeria, longiflorum lilies and peonies

Build your arrangement in layers

I love watching other people arrange flowers.  I don’t know about you but I find it therapeutic. Watching someone else effortlessly put an arrangement together is right up there with taking time out to be mindful and in the moment.

Jonathan’s advice when you’re arranging flowers at home is to build your arrangement in layers. He started by covering his floral foam with hosta leaves. Next Jonathan added lengths of climbing hydrangea, and then gladioli. From there he went on to add stachys (lamb’s ears), allium seedheads, artichokes, green trailing amaranthus, stocks, longiflorum lilies and finally peonies.

This is a really simple idea to bear in mind for your next arrangement at home. Work methodically by layering up your flowers and greenery. Once finished your arrangement will have flowers interspersed throughout. The secret is to work with each of your flowers in turn, rather than adding a bit of this and then a bit of that – and getting yourself muddled and stressed in the process. Give it a go next time you’re buying flowers and let me know how you get on.

arranging flowers Hampton Court flower show
arranging flowers Hampton Court flower show

Think about contrasting shapes and textures

Having a vase of flowers at home can be made even more appealing – and score you more compliments on your arranging skills – by incorporating contrasting colours and textures.

Looking at the arrangement Jonathan made he placed rounded forms (peonies and artichokes) next to pointed flowers (gladioli and stocks). Trailing forms (hydrangea foliage and amaranthus) next to trumpet-shaped lilies and alstromeria. These contrasting combinations made his table arrangement look really pleasing to the eye.

This thoughtfulness in selecting your plant materials in terms of their shape can also be applied to textural contrast as well.  Think about how prickly artichokes provide a contrast with smooth hosta leaves; and how velvety stachys contrasts in appearance with porcelain-like lilies and ruffled peony heads.

Incorporating contrasting shapes and textures in your next arrangement is a great way of developing your flower arranging skills.

Don’t forget to buy British

As well as demonstrating to flower clubs across the country, Johnathan is also an ambassador to the British flower growing industry. He talked knowledgeable about flower growers across the country – from Lincoln grown gladioli; British-grown stocks; peonies from Norfolk and alstromeria from Hampshire.

Jonathan favours British stocks over Dutch varieties as they have a stronger stem and are more heavily perfumed. He also reckons that a stem of British alstromeria will last a month in a vase – provided you remove the straggly leaves on its stem (leaving a crown of flowers at the top). Buying British not only supports the UK economy – but it offers value for money in terms of the vase length you can expect from your flowers.

If you’re buying British this week I’d love to know what’s caught your eye – do leave me a comment below.

Until next time, happy flowers!




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I’m an award-winning florist. I run an online flower arranging course you can fit around your busy life whilst creating beautiful arrangements to gift to your friends or family (or don’t tell anyone, keep for yourself). You’ll have something Instagramworthy in no time.

If you’d like to join #FlowerStart my 4-week online flower arranging class you can find out more about it here - click through to my post on Frequently Asked Questions - or email me julie@juliedaviesflowerworkshops.co.uk

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arranging flowers Hampton Court flower show
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