top of page
Search

Flower School 2023

After hosting our last workshop of the year on Saturday 16 December, it's time to reflect on all the workshops we have hosted in 2023, the people we have meet and gotten to know, the beautiful flowers we grew, and all of the enthusiasm, artistry and energy our students have brought to our studio. Our flower school is a haven of creativity, full of flowers and sparkling energy, where people come to learn something new, relax in a calm environment, be creative, brush up their floristry skills, start a career in sustainable floristry, meet with like minds, or to simply be around flowers. There have been many highlights and unforgettable moments, so many flowers, and so much breathtaking work made by seasoned florists and beginners alike.


SPRING


One-to-One Masterclass: Floral Accessories, March


The workshop programme began on 15 March with a bespoke one-to-one class with a florist who wanted to develop her skills in making floral accessories for weddings and learn how to make them without plastic, wires, or glue. We gathered lots of spring flowers, early buds, larger headed blooms for focus, and delicate sprigs of foliage. Anemone, muscari, narcissi, heather, and hellebore; all of which are perfect for making small accessories. We made a set of boutonnieres, a comb, and two wristlets finished with our botanically dyed silk ribbons. The session was finished off with a styling and photography session to gather images for our student's portfolio, and of course, admiring all of the beautiful creations made!


"As a florist I, I benefited greatly from Days of Dahlias approach to sustainable floristry and design. Highly recommend spending the time to visit and work with Lauren and Louisina. I did the one to one session. Loving workshop space!"





 

Sustainable Floristry Career Course, April


In April, we invited our first floristry career students for a week long course covering all of the practical and business skills required to launch a creative and sustainable floristry businesses. We welcomed students from across Scotland and England and together we made bouquets, floral accessories, table designs, and large scale installations. We hosted break out sessions covering how to plan events, weddings, photography, branding, marketing, insurance, pricing, and how to run a sustainable business. By the end of the week, we felt like family and we have been watching proudly as all of our students have gone on to start their own businesses, develop their skills further, take on their first wedding bookings, sell flowers they have grown from their gardens, and even deliver their own workshops. One of the main takeaways from this workshop, was how much we all love narcissi and how underrrated they are as a cut flower, with the course being held in April, this was definitely a narcissi moment!


"Days of Dahlia's career course was 5 days not only filled with practical flower fabulousness, but some thought provoking sessions on the practicalities of setting up a small business and important considerations for doing so. I liked how guidance was given for different sustainable floristry techniques but I was given the time and space to start to develop my unique style in a supportive environment. The hospitality offered throughout the week to keep the creative juices flowing was also excellent and much appreciated. Also, a small note to anyone considering doing the floristry career course with Days of Dahlia, I would say ‘just do it’! If there is something in your gut telling you to do the course then make it happen and you will not regret it.  Working with flowers, foliage and being inspired by nature is so good for the soul. Do it and do it for you!"








 

SUMMER


Garden-style Bouquet Class, June


June was awash with roses, poppies, lupins, sweet peas, allium, astrantia, geum, aquilegia, and more. June is the month we delight in the sheer abundance and frothiness of the garden at its very best, with the first flush of roses a joy to luxuriate in, their perfume sweet and heady. What better way to celebrate this flourish with a bouquet class. We taught our students, all of whom were complete beginners on this class, how to put together a garden-style, handtied bouquet. The craft of making it look as though it has been effortlessly "scooped" from a garden is surprisingly difficult. The technique of the spiral is one of the most technical skills to learn in floristry and is a foundation which is useful across a range of designs. It is also a technique which we find often overwhelms most of our students but with a very simple breakdown of placement, an awareness of your body, and a rhythm, it becomes second nature very quickly. Our students left in disbelief of just how beautiful their creations are and how lost they became in the process of making it, with car boots filled with flowers to take home and hearts full of pride.







 

Bouquet Improvers Class, June


Our Bouquet Improvers class was a new addition to our programme for 2023. We felt there was a requirement for a more advanced class and a place for our previous bouquet class students to graduate to, a place to experiment with shapes, sizes and to refine bouquet making techniques. With the beautiful flowers of June continuing to delight and provide, our students developed their expertise, dexterity and proficiency in creating a range of handties in our highly gestural, intricate, garden-inspired style. We discussed how choosing the right flowers goes a long way in the outcome of your arrangement, we debated foliage or no foliage, and celebrated "fillers" such as daucus carota, agreeing it was an unfair term for such a beautiful flower. We also covered the 'hand vase' technique where stems are inserted into the a circle created by the thumb and forefinger, as well as a combination of the spiral technique and the hand vase. Our students created two beautiful bouquets finished with our botanically dyed ribbons and we all agreed that bouquet making is a practice that we make a commitment to constantly improving and always enjoying along the way. Let the flowers be your guide.









 

One-to-one Masterclass: Wedding Flowers, June


In mid June, we hosted a bespoke one-to-one class for a florist who wanted to "up her game" in creating flowers for weddings. We worked on bouquets, cake flowers and foam free table designs with a focus on creating all of these designs for weddings. We discussed working to client briefs and maintaining a commitment to sustainability and locally grown flowers. I remember this day especially because it was gloriously sunny and the flowers we cut for the class was one of my favourite harvests of the year with vases full of scabious, chamomile, campanula, poppies, ox-eye daisies, alchemilla mollis, allium, astrantia, roses, and lots of wild grasses. Fun and froth!









 

Botanical Dye Workshop, July


On a warm and sunny evening in July, we hosted a workshop on how to dye natural fabrics in a variety of soft and botanical colours with flowers, plants, food waste, and other natural materials. Students embarked on a guided foraging trip in our flower field before returning to the studio to learn natural dyeing techniques with the plants and minerals collected. We demonstrated the hot and cold dye methods, the bundle dye method and how to make a ribbon from a length of your dyed fabric. Botanical dyeing with plants and flowers is a beautiful and ancient tradition and a great way to discover a natural and sustainable way of working with colour and textiles. It's a joy to teach our students to develop their own dye practice and create a library of unique colours. There is something deeply special about creating your own colour palette and engaging with natural materials and ancient processes which are herbal, restorative and nourishing to the skin. We foraged, cooed over beautiful flowers, got into our science minds and discussed mordants, metals and modifiers, we made dyes, and marvelled at the magical alchemy that produces pink from dock leaves!






 

The Cutting Garden, July


A special date in our flower school calendar is "The Cutting Garden", a workshop which is focused on the farm and garden, growing flowers, and arranging them. We began the workshop in the flower field, cutting flowers together before gathering in the studio to condition and arrange them into wild, garden-inspired vase designs. We all agreed that there is a place for and beauty in weeds! A sustainable, seasonal and garden-inspired floristry practice involves having a conscious awareness of your materials; knowing exactly where they came from and how they were grown. Being attuned to those materials, the season and the landscape that yields them requires listening, patience, and respect. On this workshop, we even had students attending for a second year running! It was wonderful to welcome them a year later and hear about developments in their own gardens and floristry practice.






 

Sustainable Floristry Career Course, August


Our second career course of the year took place in August, making the most of the midsummer flowers and made memorable by warm weather, al fresco lunches and a trip to the village pub for a final celebratory meal together. Our students' aspirations included making their flower shop more sustainable, preparing to take up floristry as a career, to gaining confidence, to achieving practical skills in arranging naturally grown flowers. The week included lots of making, deep conversations, learning, and making future plans with so many beautiful arrangements and memories made. If the stars of our April career course were the narcissi, the stars of August were definitely the rudbeckia and the sweet peas with a few dahlias starting to tentatively bloom. All week, the studio was full of flowers, hard work, discussion, learning, laughter, and pride. We love the connections that are made when you share a passion. with others and spend consecutive days together being creative, sharing stories, and eating meals together. It's a privilege to host so many people in our tucked away part of the world. We created a lot of beauty on this week together and its an honour to support our students on their route to sustainable careers in floristry, whatever stage they may be on that journey.











 

Faith Flowers Scotland Tour, August


In late August, we hosted a group of 23 women from across the US and Canada as part of a tour organised by Faith Flowers. Faith Flowers is a floral studio and school based in Atlanta which organises floral experiences in different parts of the world and attending floristry workshops with leading instructors and designers. The participants were gardeners, florists, arrangers, and flower lovers each with a story of how flowers were part of their upbringing; from grandparents who were rose breeders, to growing up in plant nurseries, to flower shops, and gardens. Each person could recall a memory of when flowers came into their lives and stayed there. We loved hearing everyone's stories! We started the day making bowls to decorate an epic banqueting table which we sat down at and ate lunch at together; communal making and eating is so important. We ended the day making floral hair combs to wear to dinner that evening. The weather was really dramatic with high winds and vertical, driving rain but everyone embraced and laughed at the old cliche that it always rains in Scotland. We are really looking forward to be hosting another Faith Flowers tour in 2024 and have even more ambitious plans for another special event!






 

Garden-Style Bouquet Class, September


Our second bouquet class of the year took place in the mellow days of September, as ever arranging with what is readily available to us naturally and locally - from our own farm garden and the immediate fields and hedgerows surrounding it. The flower field starts to change in September and our students had the opportunity to experience the beauty and variety of garden flowers in the transitional point between summer and autumn, with all of the shifting colours and textures.





 

Wedding Flowers Course, September


Across three days in September, we immersed our students in the magical world of wedding flowers for an in-depth, sustainable floristry course in designing beautiful, naturalistic, garden-inspired wedding flowers. We taught our creative approach to designing flowers for weddings in a garden-gathered style using sustainable 'foam-free' techniques. We created wedding party arrangements such as bouquets and accessories, we decorated tables with flowers, candles and silks, and we made a romantic circular archway in the garden on a base of moss with beech foliage and delicately peppered with flowers. There were many discussions on how to stay true to your own style, manage client expectations and specifications, transporting arrangements, and colour palettes and recipes. We love creating flowers for weddings and we don't believe it has to stressful or demanding, it can bring you as much joy as it does your clients!














 

Bouquet Improvers Class, September


For this class, all of our students were from England and it is always such a compliment when people choose to learn from us, especially when they travel so far to do so! Even though the students on this class already had a lot of experience when it comes to making bouquets, we went right back to the basics, dismantling everything we thought we knew and all the habits that had been firmly set; including those habitual thoughts of "I can't", "I've tried", "I'm not"... This is when the activity itself becomes a prompt for understanding our frustrations and shortcomings, and how our deepest thoughts can impact our work and our enjoyment of it. Often, we just need to wake a few things up. It's really important that our students feel they leave with a working process that has been rejuvenated and is understood. We want them to have enough methodologies at their disposal to be able to manage whatever restrictions they have to endure through their work, whether that be physical, time restraints, economic, or otherwise. So the achievement isn't isolated to the workshop alone, it goes with them.


"A couple of weeks ago when we were in Scotland for a long weekend, I decided to book myself on the Days of Dahlia Bouquet Improvers Class. I've long admired them from afar down here in Cambridgeshire and the stars aligned when they had the perfect workshop on whilst we were there. Based in the most beautiful spot, not too far from Glasgow, Days of Dahlia have a style I was desperate to learn more about and I was excited to go create with them for the day. The workshop was perfect for a non-beginner, especially for someone like me who only ever makes things with garden grown blooms. They come with their own tricks and challenges but I love how Lauren and Louisina embrace their quirks and don't fight against the natural beauty they bring. We learnt two different techniques, both of which I loved and have started using but the biggest revelation for me was, despite having been to many workshops using the spiral technique, I learnt how to spiral without ending up with hand pain or my hand frozen into a claw! To top off an amzing day, Lauren took photos of the bouquets (and us holding them!) which I got back today and just LOVE!"




 

Flower School Open Day, September


At the end of September, we hosted a free open day to launch our 2024 flower school programme. We had such an overwhelming response to this invite and sadly we couldn't welcome everyone who wanted to come. It's so heartening that so many people are interested in the work we do and we may make this a more regular event. The day consisted of a number of floristry demonstrations, talks, discussions, and an opportunity to book 2024 workshops on the day. It was lovely to have our studio filled with so many bodies and it was a revelation to discover how much people love to watch us making flower arrangements, our audience ooing and aahing at every flower placement!







 

AUTUMN


Common Ground Workshop, October


Common Ground is a creative and social space within the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow dedicated to bringing together refugees and those going through the asylum process, providing a safe, social environment to break isolation, increase connectivity and collaboration among individuals, the wider community and the creative arts. There is an urgent need to create a welcoming, safe and supportive space for people who have just arrived in Glasgow, where meaningful connections can be made and collective, community support can be strengthened. The staff from Common Ground paired us up with a community group called The Not Alone Empowerment Centre, a non-profit organisation promoting inclusion, possibility, and well-being for the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community through a range of services, including education, employment support, mental health and well-being, training, social events, and other activities. We spent the day sowing seeds in the polytunnel before gathering in the studio to make dried flower wreaths and ended the day with a big communal meal. A recurring theme in our workshops - food! It was wonderful to meet all of these women and to learn that amaranthus in Nigeria is grown for its abundance of iron-rich, spinach-like leaves, which are delicious and cooked into stews. It is known as "shoko" in the Yoruba language which means to "make your husband fat"!






 

One-to-One Masterclass: Bouquets & Business, October


For our last one-to-one masterclass of the year, we were asked to support a florist who wants to set up her own bouquet business from home. As well as working on different bouquet making techniques, we covered growing flowers, ordering locally, quantities, pricing, and sustainability. It's really an honour to be asked to support people in this way, to realise an aspiration which goes beyond making a living. I find it's always about so much more. Often, it comes from a place of needing to heal, to have agency and to enjoy work. This is very different from group teaching where there is no single position or viewpoint. In these one-to-one contexts, I have found it is essential to listen to everything that the student has to say about the position they find themselves in, what they want to achieve and their relationship to work; physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and even often politically. It’s important to me that the student is encouraged to articulate their creative position and their values in order to create a path for themselves. It's an honour to play a role here in people's lives, moving them closer to their passions.




 

WINTER


Winter Wreath Making, December


Our wreath making workshops came with a beautiful dusting of snow. These late gatherings in the year are a reminder that communal making is ever rewarding, creativity is healing, that plants and botanical materials have an enduring power, and that winter is a special time of year to celebrated. The tradition of bringing evergreens into the home and a beautiful and ancient practice and is borne from a reverance and respect for the plants which can survive the harshness of winter. The studio was full of the scent of cedar and pine, flickering candlelight, twinkling lights, and gentle voices which filled the air.










 

Yuletide Winter Decor, December


The last workshop of the year was our winter home decor workshop, a class for anyone who enjoys decorating their home with natural botanics to provide homeliness and joy at a time of year when we spend so much time indoors. We made table centrepieces on twisted willow bases with evergreen foliage, eucalyptus and dried flowers and sweeping foliage garlands on jute ropes. We closed the doors for a winter hibernation after this class, leaving a residue of labour, voices, experiences, and energy behind in the studio; memories of times spent together, of joy and softness, waiting to be awoken again in the Spring.







 

All of our workshops used flowers and foliage grown on our flower farm in South Lanarkshire near Glasgow, a few paces away from our studio. We teach using sustainable, plastic-free and foam-free mechanics, materials that are 100% compostable and chemical-free with all of our wrapping and packing materials also compostable.


If you would like to join us for a workshop or course in 2024, we would love to welcome you to our flower school near Glasgow! If you have any questions about our flower school or sustainable floristry workshops, please email us at flowers@daysofdahlia.com.



Thank you for reading,

Lauren & Louisina x




73 views0 comments
bottom of page