An inspirational escape to Northern England

 
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In July I flew to Manchester for a few days to meet floral designer Fiona who runs Firenza Floral Designer (she was listed by the Telegraph as one of the 20 top florist in the country). I’ve been following her work  and I like very much her style, so I decided to have a one to one workshop.

It was a beautiful sunny day  when I  met Fiona surrounded by  her dogs in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. We chatted in her romantic, peaceful garden and it was hugely inspirational to compare our styles. We both discovered that our main source of inspiration came from nature.

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Als she showed me how to create one of her unique bouquets, I felt elated at designing something so different to my usual style.

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and beau

Ph @Belle and beau

With the same flowers we both made completely different creations.

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

Over lunch in the sunny garden I got to know Holly an incredible photographer who took some beautiful photos of the day.

What do you do to find inspiration?

Ph @Belle and Beau

Ph @Belle and Beau

 
 

4 essential tips for an impeccable table

 
Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

 
 

In October I organized a one day floral workshop focused on how to decorate a table from start to finish. I asked Manuela Piccoli an expert interior designer, to join us and to  give inspirational insights on table etiquette.

During the preparation of the course I kept in mind 4 key points :

  • Style

  • Palette and flowers

  • table preparation

  • less is more

Style

First of all I chose the style. I went for a very romantic, elegant and baroque look. While I was looking for inspiration  I discovered that  next year one trend in wedding decorations will be  “New baroque”. I’m curious to see how the baroque style will evolve this time around. Baroque style always includes ornate gold, extravagant locations and luxurious decorations; how interpret it is completely up to you.

Palette and flowers

I always choose the style and colours at the same time. It’s so important to have a clear idea of the palette from the start. For this event I went for opulent shades of burgundy paired with bright pearl-ivory and gentle gold/caramel tones.  The selective use of colour gave me the freedom to choose the best flowers and greenery. Thanks to the different shapes and petals, I could express the uniqueness and elegance of baroque.

Among the flowers chosen there were:

  • “Antik caramel” garden roses for their sumptuous candy caramel shade

  • Yves Piaget “Ivory” garden roses with their ethereal petals reminiscent of  Japanese silk paper.

  • “Dark chocolate” dahlia with its velvety opulent dark chocolate hue

  • Intense burgundy and light cappuccino carnations

  • Translucent pearl leaves of  Lunaria

  • The beautiful long lithe shape of Stock and Cat’s tail

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

ph @Paolo Castagnedi

ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

 Table setting

After deciding on the style, colour mood and flowers  I met Manuela in her atelier to select all the necessary items. Keeping the style and colours in mind we chose  elegant and timeless white. We picked out old linen table cloths,  fine white bone china dishes decorated in gold, French cutlery and antique crystal glasses.

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Less is more

When I’m decorating I never forget this golden rule. For this event it meant not adding  any more colours to the ones we already had. Manuela and I immediately agreed that the best and only choice was white for everything.

Ph @Paolo Castegnedi

Ph @Paolo Castegnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

To wrap up:

  • Don’t forget to use candles

  • Find objects in yours cupboards and use them in an unsual way

  • Don’t forget to decorate the rest of your home or location with a detail inspired by your table design: a colour, a flower or …

  • And don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

A big thanks to Orietta for having us in her beautiful relais and to Paolo for the incredible photos.

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

 

intensive floral workshop in Milan

 
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Last March I organised the intensive floral workshop in a new location “Le spezie gentili” in the heart of Milan. Spring was in the air as I strolled down on an unusually quiet tree line street showing the first signes of blossom on the trees. Once  arrived Valeria, the owner, gave us a warm welcome and looked after us very well throughout our stay.

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On Saturday we focused on how to create a basic bouquet. This was followed by the creation of a floral arrangement using a sponge base. I chose shades of pink to introduce the concept of colour. Pale pink scented “O’Hara” roses, radiant pink anemones were a perfect combination topped off with the dramatic purple-red ranunculus.

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On the second day we played around with a palette of spring colours. Deep red tulips, intense burgundy scabious were intertwined with romantic vintage “Garden” roses, lilac clematis and peach branches.

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For the floral arrangement in sponge the essence of spring was my inspiration.  Pastel tones of pink, light blue, delicate yellow were combined with a touch of vivid orange and red. Orange centred narcissus and bright red strawberries were perfect for this purpose.

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The next intensive floral course will be held in the beautiful hills of Custoza in Verona.

If you are interested please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Intensive floral workshop with an autumn twist

 
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There was a unique vibe during my last intensive floral work-shop in October.

The special ingredients that made these two days so incredible were: an amazing group of curious and focused women: Natascia, Alessia, Nadia, Giorgia, Caterina, Silvia and Elena. Each one with her own dreams, passions, but above all very determined to share this experience.

The wonderfully welcoming Relais Corte Guastalla location set amongst the Custoza vineyard was the perfect backdrop for our week-end.

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I chose the vibrant autumn palette of : the bordeaux chrysanthemum, the chocolate of the Cosmos, the ruby red of the hydrangea  and the more delicate tones of pastel pink of the perfumed O’Hara roses.

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At the beginning of the course I gave a small  floral patterned notebook to each partecipant. Here they could note down any tips that they’d picked up during the week-end.

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This was my fourth  intensive floral workshop and I must say it was a really magical experience for us all.  Here are some special words from Natascia from Parma:”Wood of Ceylon, powerful, crisp, exciting, magical, special  and unique. This was how Tania welcomed us on the  first morning. The morning light shimmering through the windows of the villa, candles flickering, a folded apron on the table, and a unique patterned  notebook. A small branch of red apples laid out to remind us that nature is a work of art, and all our flowers displayed magnificently on the mantelpiece.

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A special thanks to Elena, who captured those two days beautifully with her camera.

 

A JOURNAL OF THE INTENSIVE TWO-DAY WORKSHOP

 
 
 
 

It’s been a few months since  Marco Bravi gave me the photos of the last intensive floral workshop which I held in February. In the meantime I’ve restyled my website, a hard but rewarding task and I’ve launched a new series of floral workshop focused on wedding and event design.

When I saw the images for the first time I was left speechless. It was incredible what Marco managed to capture through his lens. Small details about the location were brought to light, the concentration, attention and joy on the faces of the participants. It was wonderful to see each participant opening up to this new world and growing in knowledge.

Being spring, I was spoiled for choice by the variety of species and colours of the flowers. From tulips to ranunculus, hyacinths, anemones right down to the intense blue iris.

If you would like to know more about my intensive workshop click on the link for more information.

Before leaving to enjoy the images I would like to thank  all the attendees, Chiara, Federica, Bianca, Martina, Samantha, Sara, Caterina, Arianna e Cinzia, Marco for the amazing  photos, and Giulia the owner of Villa La Valverde for her wonderful hospitality.

 

a journal on our two-day workshop

 
 

During the first week-end in July I organized a floral intensive workshop. Two days fully immersed in the floral world. The main objective was to give the theoretical and practical know how to get started in the art of floral design.

The course was held in the amazing Villa La Valverde a country house set in the nearby Verona countryside.

While I was preparing the course and deciding which flowers to use I realized that the essential element was colour. On Saturday the floral arrangements were: a classical, white bouquet of roses and a floral garden composition. While doing the classical one the group learned the basic criss-cross technique useful for the creation of all kinds of bouquets. For the floral arrangement in sponge I focused on different shades of pink.

On Sunday we started with the creation of a natural, yet romantic bouquet and a floral arrangement with flowers, fruit and vegetables. For the natural bouquet I chose flowers which aren’t often used together with contrasting colours to give it an edge. The floral arrangement in sponge was made using different shapes and materials styled together with the flowers.

It always amazes me how each of us expresses ourselves through flowers. There can be flowers that we love more, colours which don’t resonate with us, materials and shapes with which we are more comfortable. The whole journey is a continuous discovery and also a chance to get out of our comfort zone.

Over the two days while chatting over a coffee we got to know each other better and shared our ideas.

At the end of the course, everyone proudly took home not only their beautiful arrangements but a wealth of information. Throughout this intensive experience, I also learned a lot. It was a pleasure and a privilege to accompany these passionate and motivated people trough this magical and marvelous world.

 
 

first floral design workshop of this season

 
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In the last few months I’ve been concentrating more on my floral workshops and so I decided to introduce some new ideas. I wanted it to be a relaxing carefree afternoon, away from duties and meetings. A slow afternoon amidst nature, colours and flowers.

I was so excited about my workshop of the season which was being held at Villa La Valverde.

Maria Giulia, the owner, took us on a stroll to discover the surroundings.In the small wood there was an awesome blossoming Pruns with a cloud of little white flowers, that took our breath away. Then a bright yellow bush of forsythia appeared. Hidden behind old stone walls lies a magical secret garden where a beautiful climbing clematis with white flowers now reigns. The lawn was scattered with wild spring flowers form fresh daisies to pretty little violets.

After our refreshing walk and full of enthusiasm we got stuck in to the course.

For the table decorations we created an elegant floral garden arrangement and a more rustic one with bulbs, moss, foliage and flowers.

I decided to have a palette with white, different hues of pink, fuchsia, violet and coral red. The foliage was olive branches, rosemary and eucalyptus. We only used spring flowers: fuchsia and pink ranunculus, double tulips “Adore”, white, violet and fuchsia anemones, coral red sweet William and bulbs of white hyacints and yellow narcissus.

Mid-course we relaxed with a cup of tea and homemade biscuits.

I love sharing ideas and tips about decorating the table with what we’ve got in our homes.

A few possibilities could be: a small bunch of herbs, a napkin ring made with an olive branch or a small cone made with a green leaf.

Remember that you can decorate a table very nicely and colourfully using seasonal fruit, or a floating blossom in a glass or even using a coke bottle with flowers in it.

For Easter what about having some hyacinth bulbs wrapped in rustic paper tied with cord, or a small olive branch with a chocolate egg for each guest or a tulip on every napkin.

When I saw all the creations lined up I thought that each one was the mirror of the person who created it. 

I’m always very surprised to see how each person expresses themselves with flowers.
 

Don’t forget our next workshop will be on the 16th April where you can create a natural boho bouquet and an unusual wreath.

 
 

Flower Design Course at the Villa La Valverde #2

 
 

After the beautiful experience enjoyed by all at the 1st Flower Design Course at the Villa La Valverde, we have to show you the photos from the 2nd lesson we had at the location, this one dedicated to the Rose, the Queen of all Flowers. We created marvelous bouquets, vibrant with deep, rich colours that allowed the Rose’s elegance to play with the freshness of the viburnum opulus and sparkling branches of lilac. (some pictures of the floral material used: IMG1IMG2IMG3). Also this visit permitted us to find splendid flowers to use in our creations from those growing on the grounds of the Villa, such as indigo iris and hawthorn, used together with strawberries and radishes for particular and fun, smaller, secondary bouquets.

Another warm thank you to all of the participants, congratulations for the magnificent levels of beauty acquired on this occasion as well. We leave you to take a look at the image gallery of this lesson.

 
 

Flower Design Course at the Villa La Valverde #1

 
 

March 29th, 2014 was the date that Floral Design Courses covered the subject of floral spontaneity at the Villa La Valverde. Splendid bouquets were created when mixing cut flowers with flowers and plants found at the Villa.

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We have gathered some photos of the welcoming flowers we found as well as the creations we made.A warm thank you to all of the participants whose energy and passion translated into the optimum results displayed.

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