Pretty foliage and greenery can make for a stunning focal point at any celebration. Whether it’s an extravagant wedding feature or a simple summer garden party, flowers are always the most striking way to create a memorable focal point. Marianne of Frances and Rose and photographer Kathryn Taylor share a wonderfully simple way to create your own handcrafted floral hoop which can add that touch of pretty creativity to any occasion.
You will you need:
- A Hula hoop (a children’s hula hoop is perfect!)
- Green stem tape
- 26 gram reel of green wire
- Ribbon for the finish
- Foliage/ flowers – a mixed bucket of around 50-70 stems, if using foraged foliage make sure to condition them properly to prevent it from wilting.
Flower Preparation: To condition foraged foliage and prevent them from wilting, cut the stems at an angle and make a straight cut vertically to create a slight split. Place the stems into a pan of boiling water for around 30 seconds, or until they stop releasing bubbles, and then immediately plunge into a separate bucket of cold water to cool. Leave them in there for one hour. A good tip to remember is that flowers with stronger, waxier leaves tend to work better than softer, floppier leaves for this particular project.
If you are decorating for a special occasion you can also source local, lovingly grown cut blooms from the ‘Flowers From the Farm’ organization. This is a collaboration of growers and florists based throughout the UK who sell freshly cut flowers by the bucket!
To find your nearest British flower farmer see their website and make your handmade arrangements something truly unique: www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk
1. Take the floral stem tape and wrap around the entire hoop so you have a totally green base to work from. This will give the hoop grip for the flowers and an even backdrop. Plastic hoops can be very slippery so if possible a wooden or bamboo hoop is a great alternative.
2. To start with, take your scissors and cut a collection of stems. You can make them as long or as short as you wish. However prepare these in advance before the next step.
3. Take your wire and secure it by winding it tightly at the starting point of your hoop. A good tip is to twist it a couple of times to build security. Leave the reel attached at this stage, don’t cut the wire!
4. Separately create small bunches of 3-4 stems. Hold them together in one hand and place them parallel to the hoop. Simply follow by wrapping the wire around each floral bundle three to four times to hold strongly in place.
5. Make the next bundle and lay it over the last with the stems in the same direction. You should aim for the new leaves to cover the stems of the previously secured bundle. Again wrap each floral collection approximately three to four times.
6. Continue this process the entire way around. Try to plan out your flowers as you go but don’t be afraid to get creative. Create clusters using flowers alongside simple greenery that will add beautiful contrast and balance to your design as it grows around the hoop. For this example we built the greenery and flowers around two thirds and then left space for the addition of a classic green velvet ribbon as a finishing touch.
Flower Tips: If you are hoping to use a lot of flowers, it is recommended to make your floral feature as close to the event as possible to avoid wilting. Stronger stemmed flowers or even dried flowers like hydrangeas or helichrysum can make the most beautifully diverse arrangement that will also last the course. If you are really keen on using garden roses and other soft flowers out or water for any length of time, florist test tubes wired into the design can help to keep them plump and in bloom for longer. And why not get a bit experimental. Sturdy fruit tree branches such as apple tree springs or even hardy herbs can add texture and fragrance to your party piece as well as much needed structure and strength.
Learn with Frances & Rose: If you fancy learning more about how to make floral hoops, crowns or bouquets using home grown, seasonal British flowers, Marianne of Frances & Rose holds group and 121 workshops from her studio in the heart of the Peak District.
Photography: Kathryn Taylor - follow on Instagram: @hello_kathryntaylor