With thanks to Kerry Gordon for this review!
"Powerscourt Garden Pavilion is bursting with colour at the moment with Spring flowers blooming and wonderful Easter surprises at every corner. It is amongst this wonderful backdrop that Carol Bone, a legend in the world of floral art, was working her magic!
This was my first time at a floral art demonstration and I was very fortunate to see such a maestro at work. Carol, who happens to live in my beloved Co. Wicklow, is such a warm, fun and elegant demonstrator and she explained how to create these displays in a manner that even a beginner could follow. It was an entertaining master class by someone who clearly loves what she does and wants to share this in a truly inclusive manner.
Carol’s key themes are to keep it simple, take your time, prepare in advance and use everything you have in your garden. Spring is my favourite time of year so I was thrilled when she began with a tulip creation that was breathtaking in its simplicity and contemporary look. Contorted willow was placed into the oasis base which was in a flat wooden tray. Leaves such as laurel or ivy were wrapped around hairpins and white tulips fed in-between the willow. Carol explained the importance of keeping structure with different heights - for example in this display you gain movement from the willow and also from the tulips. Condition the tulip like most spring flowers by placing them in a bucket of water, after cutting the ends off the stem, which should help them last a week. During Spring time it is lovely to have a mixture of branch and blooming flower which works delightfully. Put the willow in first but leave plenty of space for the tulips. Place the heather and some green hypericon berries, which achieve a calming effect, down low to bring your eye down which helps picks up the container. Finally as it nearly Easter Carol placed in some cute bunny rabbits and an egg – just delicious!
With this display Carol staggered irises and using different lengths she placed them slightly apart. Some were put in the back to bring depth so that the display is not flat. With most designs you start with the foliage first but in this design where there is little space it is better to put the flowers in first. Anemones were then added and finally succulents at the end. A great tip is that you can take the succulents out of the arrangement, put them in gritty soil, and then reuse them again. Layering was done with Arum maculatum (known more commonly as Lords and Ladies), then some berries were added and the whole display was surrounded by pussy willow. Little bits of foliage were finally placed at the front and back. As with most things take your time and practice makes perfect!
Starting with a plain green pot Carol took her Ivy Vine and whilst pushing it in she wound it round and around until it looked like a nest. Onto this she placed quail eggs and guinea fowl feathers that can be sourced from any good florists. This is a low arrangement so the tulips and roses were cut short. With the leaves Carol showed us the clever trick of twisting and turning the leaf back onto itself and using them to cover the oasis. So pretty! Again she emphasised not being too fussy in your decorations. Some cultivated Astrantia was added and its fuzzy texture blended wonderfully with the smoothness of the tulips. The result was one of the prettiest Spring displays I have seen.
Carol pinned Ivy leaves onto the oasis. She took snake grass which is unusual in that it can be manipulated and placed some into the start of the arrangement. Effortlessly she placed yellow Gerberas and Rip Van Winkles, making sure that everything was at different heights. Being careful to keep space and to keep it unfussy she finally placed in miniature daffodils and the delightful purple Freschias. A work of art in a few minutes and effortlessly presented – fabulous!
A wonderful surprise was that all the floral art was raffled at the end with proceeds going to Down Syndrome Ireland and floral displays going to very happy homes!
For more events (it is advised to book tickets in advance) see www.powerscourtgardenpavilion.com/events
About Carol Bone: Carol Bone lives in Wicklow, ‘The Garden of Ireland’ and was brought up with a love of gardening, horticulture, art and design. After a successful gardening career, Carol qualified as AOIFA (Association of Irish Floral Artists) demonstrator and teacher. She has since demonstrated extensively in England and Ireland and represented Ireland in the International Demonstration at the World Show in Boston in 2011. Carol has served as President of the Association of Irish Floral Artists and Publicity Officer for the World Flower Show 2014.
About Kerry Gordon: Kerry Gordon lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow with her daughter Molly and Greyhound Lola. She is a long term blogger for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and enjoys nothing more than visiting Powerscourt Waterfall and then going to the Gardens followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea.
Text and images copyright of Kerry Gordon