Producing work for photo calls is one of my favourite things to do. Not only do you get to make out of the ordinary displays and get really creative with colours and texture, but you often get to work in beautiful locations and have professional photos taken of your work. These are the kind of commissions when I feel as though my efforts are noticed and the finer details of the flowers are appreciated; those hours spent wiring flower heads at 5am suddenly seem worthwhile when you see them up close. Of course I love working with flowers in any capacity, but the added bonus of high resolution images and press coverage is always great!
Late last summer I was asked to produce a floral arch for the press photo call to mark the opening of the Flower Show at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. This annual event at the beautiful Wisley gardens showcases top quality plants and garden sundries from specialist nurseries as well as flower cultivation competitions and displays and fabulous flower arranging on show in the covered marquees. The brief was to create a vibrant and eye catching arch that would be positioned at the front of the beautiful grade II listed laboratory building, overlooking the lawn, canal and surrounding gardens. Below you can see the photographers setting up the lighting to try and brighten up the backdrop in our typical British summer 'sunshine'.
As the RHS are such a quintessentially British institution, they usually ask that the flowers used are British and relatively seasonal. As this event was taking place at the very end of summer, I wanted to go for a really bright and happy colour palette and to make the most of some of our summery blooms before they all too quickly disappeared. For the arch I used a base of trailing foliage covered with bright sunflowers, beautiful English-grown hydrangeas and a selection of Dahlias, including 'cafe-au-alit' which is a stunning creamy/blush colour (and has huge flower heads) as well as Dahlias in pinky and orange tones. The 2016 Flower Show hosted the National Dahlia Society's Annual Show, with more than 100 exhibitors taking part, so Dahlia's were an essential variety for the photo shoot.
Here are some pictures...
I love the natural mixed tones of the English hydrangea, from pinky red to green and a hint of blue.
Photo by Suzanne Plunkett
As you may have spotted, the event was officially opened by Actress and gardening enthusiast Dame Penelope Keith, who was absolutely lovely and very complimentary about the archway. The RHS also wanted to present her with a Thank-You bouquet which she was delighted with.
This arch was a joy to make and I was so pleased with how it looked against such a lovely backdrop, even if I do have the classic florist's problem of forgetting to photograph my work, so please forgive some of my rushed pictures. Thank god for iPhones and for photo shoots!
This year's Wisley Flower Show will be held from 5 - 10 September. To purchase tickets visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows