For the love of Orchids by Neill Strain Floral Courture, London

If your in London for the Chelsea Flower Show be sure to wander over to Neill Strain’s flower shop to view the display of orchids they have planned!
“For the love of Orchids” will be a unique opportunity to see more than 30 varieties of Vanda and Phalaenopsis orchids including some rare Vanda plants up to 22 years old.
Read more about it here.

Belgravia in Bloom - For The Love of Orchids

A Passion for Peonies by Neill Strain

While in London I had the pleasure of accompanying Paula Pryke to her visit with Neill Strain. Neill has the most lovely shop in the Belgravia neighborhood of London ~ highly recommend visiting if you are ever in the neighborhood. (It’s just a few blocks away from Harrod’s).

Paula Pryke and Neill Strain in front of his shop in London

Neill Strain & Paula Pryke

Neill was hosting a special flower show at his shop called ‘Passion for Peonies’ as part of Chelsea Fringe. The Peonies he had on display were absolutely breathtaking ~ take a look:

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies Display

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies Display

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies Display

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Bartzella Peonies

Bartzella

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Bowl of Cream Peonies

Bowl of Cream

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Charlie White Peonies

Charlie White

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Commander of Performance Peonies

Commander of Performance

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Cytherea Peonies

Cytherea

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Delaware Chief Peonies

Delaware Chief Peony

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Diana Parks Peony

Diana Parks

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Etched Salmon

Etched Salmon

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Garden Treasure

Garden Treasure

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Lemon Chiffon

Lemon Chiffon

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Mackinac Grand

Mackinac Grand

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Mary Jo Legare

Mary Jo Legare

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Mme. Claude Tain Peonies

Mme. Claude Tain

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Moonrise Peonies

Moonrise

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Moonrise Peonies

Moonrise

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Mother's Dream Peonies

Mother’s Dream

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Pink Dinner Plate Peony

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Red Grace Peonies

Red Grace

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - Salmon Dream Peonies

Salmon Dream

Neill Strain - Passion for Peonies - White Cap Peonies

White Cap

You can read more about the inspiration for Passion for Peonies and see more pictures on Neill’s blog.

Another two shots from my visit to Neill’s Shop – the entrance is always changing and the Flower Bar is always full of a lovely selection of flowers:
Entrance to Neill Strain's Flower Shop

Neill Strain's Flower Shop in London

The Flower Bar – a selection of flowers are always on display here

I love London!

If you’ve followed this blog for the past 4 years or know me at all, you know that I love London! It’s such a fabulous city! I love that I can get around town via the Underground and it is absolutely filled with wonderful things to see for flower lovers.
Ohhh… and was this past visit filled to the brim with flower goodness!
Today I’ll give you a re-cap of what I did and saw and the following days this week I will post more in depth looks at each event.
First, I arrived into Heathrow and caught the express train into Paddington Station. First thing I see – flower stand:

Paddington Train Station in London w/ floral display

Then I was off to the next train station to meet up with my friend, Emma, who I stayed with and again I see more flowers:

Flowers at a London Train Station

Thursday morning I was up bright and early and off to the New Covent Flower Market to meet up with the one and only Paula Pryke! Love her! We perused the flower market, chatting with other flower designers and admiring the gorgeous flowers available. We had a nice time at the market and then we caught a cab over to Neill Strain’s phenomenal shop in Belgravia. Neill’s shop is so beautiful and I just love going there for a visit.
Here’s Paula & Neill in front of his shop:

Paula Pryke & Neill Strain in front of Neill's flower shop in London

Paula Pryke & Neill Strain

Neill had a special flower show as part of Chelsea Fringe happening at his shop called Passion for Peonies. He had peonies that I’ve never seen before, so many incredible varieties.

Passion for Peonies at Neill Strain's Flower shop in London.

Passion for Peonies at Neill Strain’s Flower shop

Neill, Paula and I enjoyed a fantastic brunch and chatted about the floral scene in London. They told me about visiting Chelsea In Bloom. Then Neill says – let me see if anyone has an extra ticket to Chelsea for today. (I had one ticket for Chelsea for Friday. If you ever go to Chelsea make sure to buy your tickets well in advance as they do sell out!). After our fun visit Neill drove me over to Chelsea In Bloom and told me he’d text when he finds a ticket. Chelsea In Bloom takes place at various shops around Sloane Square (the neighborhood just outside the Chelsea Flower Show). Sure was fun hunting for the shops that were participating and watching passerby’s reactions. About 90 minutes later I receive a text from Neill – he has a ticket! I was so excited, all of a sudden I was going to Chelsea a day early!!

Entrance to RHS Chelsea Flower Show

In the coming days I will be posting quite a few photos from Chelsea .. as soon as I sort through all of them!

I only spent a few hours there on Thursday as I knew I’d be there all day on Friday. After leaving the show I walked around Chelsea, Sloane Square and Pimlico Road. Wandered upon Nikki Tibbles’ Wild At Heart Shop:

Wild at Heart on Pimlico Road, London

Wild at Heart

And saw this gorgeous floral design sitting in the shop:
Flower Arrangement by Wild At Heart in London

Then I was off for more walking, wandered up through Belgravia neighborhood and ended up by Buckingham Palace. Then caught the underground back to Emma’s flat.

Friday morning came and I was off for a full day at Chelsea Flower Show! Yes, I really spent all day there and I think I saw everything. Hopefully I saw everything! Plus, I got to visit with Rona of Flowerona Blog. So great to see Rona and catch up, plus she knows all about Chelsea and could fill me in on details. Emma and her friend, Wendy, joined for the evening hours and we were the last of the group that left when the gates closed at 8pm. Off for a walk through the neighborhoods and a great dinner.
Hold tight .. you’ll be seeing plenty of Chelsea photos this week!

Saturday came and we decided to go for a drive into the north, towards Birmingham we drove. That idea turned out to be brilliant. Joe Massie was in Birmingham working on a floral installation.
Check out this piece he designed:
Joseph Massie Floral Dress 2014

Joe, Emma and I enjoyed a long visit over dinner in the small town of Wolverhampton. Good times and felt I had to pinch myself to believe I was there sitting with my friends at a random pub in Northern England.

Joseph Massie and Alicia Schwede, England 2014

Joe always makes me laugh

I can hardly believe where Emma and I ended up on Sunday. David Austin Roses. Yes, that David Austin! Located just outside Wolverhampton are the David Austin Rose Gardens. We perused the gardens, and more gardens. We had tea (cappuccino for me) and crumpets in their tea room. We studied the plants for sale. Finally selected an amazing yellow Graham Thomas Garden Rose for Emma’s garden.

Gift Shop at David Austin Roses

The entrance to the gift shop and the rose gardens at David Austin.

Talk about a perfect day, a perfect weekend and a perfect week!

Sunday evening we drove back to London. I quite enjoyed driving thru the countryside, the weather was perfect and the rolling green hills so beautiful.

Monday rolled around and we decided to take an easy day after 4 days of running around. The biggest outing was to visit Peggy Porschen’s cake shop in Belgravia. Peggy’s cakes are glorious to look at and just as good to eat!
Peggy Porschen Cakes

Tuesday came way too quickly and it was time to return home. Crazy how quickly a week can go by, of course two days are lost to the traveling to and from Seattle to London.

Oh, one more thing I saw while out strolling around London – sides of buildings covered in plants. I thought these were just spectacular!

The side of a building in London covered in plants

The side of a building in London covered in plants

Eye Candy — Floral Designs for Valentine’s

Oh yes, I’m going all out with a Valentine’s Day inspiration post! Red & pink & lots of hearts!

Ovando, contemporary red rose heart wreath

Ovando (aptly named El Corazon)

Fleur Friday

tall and sculpted floral entry pieces by Neill Strain

Designed by Neill Strain

Poinsettias

I adore Poinsettias, I really do. I see people cringe and say ick when they see Poinsettias and I just don’t see why. It’s a beautiful plant which now comes in a variety of colors. I’ve been searching high & low to find centerpieces which utilize Poinsettias in the design – no easy task, mind you! I did uncover a few beauties to share with all of you.

white poinsettia centerpiece

Designed by Espe Floral

pink and white centerpiece with poinsettias

Designed by Fox Fodder Farm

Holiday Pool Float with poinsettias Los Angeles

Designed by Hidden Garden

red poinsettia flower arrangement

Designed by Martha Stewart

star made of poinsettias

Design by Neill Strain

pink poinsettia and amaryllis with roses centerpiece

Designed by Tulipina

As for conditioning the stems of the Poinsettias for the arrangements, which is necessary since they do secrete that milky sap..
1) They can be placed in individual water tubes, keeps the sap away from other flowers and provides them a water source (useful if arranging in floral foam)
2) Sear the cut stem, easiest over a pillar candle – quick sear and then place in a vase of water. Let it sit in the water and condition before using in your arrangements.

So now what do you think of Poinsettias? Going to give them a try in future arrangements?