This week I have been fortunate to speak to a very talented florist Lucy Lister and get some tips we can all use to make our home Christmas ready with foliage and plants.
Lucy started her floristry business 4 years ago following a little career break having her children.
She has always worked in the events industry and was eager not to go back to the long, unsociable hours and stress. “Although not sure getting up at 4am for the flower market is the most social of hours!” she comments. She has always been creative and loved flowers and had worked on a few weddings so training to be a florist seemed an obvious career change for her.
Following her training at the Judith Blacklock Flower School in Knightsbridge Lucy took the plunge and opened a little flower stall in Crystal Palace, South East London. She felt super nervous as she had never done anything like this before but with the help of a super talented florist friend Janine they wowed the locals with their seasonal, beautiful blooms.
Family life/ work balance and the physical strains of an outdoor stall did take its toll after a while (winters are not much fun standing outside in the freezing cold for 8 hours) so Lucy decided to give up her stall and concentrate on weddings and contract work and she now also teaches in her little studio at the end of her garden.
Her work/family balance is much healthier and she absolutely loves it.
Christmas is one of the busiest seasons for a florist but Lucy says it’s one of her favourites – just the smell of the eucalyptus and pine conjures up the essence of the season.
As well as making door wreaths to order Lucy also runs cosy little workshops for up to 5 people at a time where she shows how to make a wreath from scratch on a mossed ring.
I was lucky to be able to take part in one of Lucy’s workshops recently. Lucy uses fresh, seasonal foliage and flowers and a huge selection of adornments such as orange slices, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, peacock feathers…. The result was a beautiful fragrant creation full of various types of eucalyptus mixed together, spruce, cypresse, thistle, waxflower, berries and more – I prefer these subtle flowers and foliage to the traditional Christmas colours.
I was really impressed and so did everybody else in the group with what we all managed to achieve under Lucy’s supervision and following her instructions. The two hour session flew by accompanied by a glass of bubbly, minced pies, Christmas songs to put us in the mood and some lovely chit chat. I am now confident I will be able to create my own wreath next year and particularly excited that it’s one more fun family activity I can do with my kids, and usually I struggle for ideas!
The workshops are finished for this season and were pretty much sold out so I would recommend putting an early reminder for next year to make sure you secure a place.
So wreath taken care of, what else does Lucy do to prepare her home for Christmas?
“I think the Tree is my favourite Christmas tradition and I love nothing more than to decorate it with my girls. We have a giant 8ft in the lounge and a smaller one in our dining room as we tend to live most in this room. I vaguely keep to colour schemes, lots of gold and red for the lounge, including some vintage patchwork ones which my mum has handed down to me and we always buy at least one new decoration every year as I simply can’t resist! As we have a dark blue wall in the dining room I keep the decorations in there silver, white and blue… it just feels a bit more modern,” explains Lucy.
“There really is no end to what you can do at Christmas, weaving a lovely pine garland through a staircase bannister and adding in some pine cones, orange slices and cinnamon sticks, as well as looking fantastically festive for your guests when they enter it will fill your hall with those evocative smells of Christmas.”
“Don’t be afraid to mix up the real and artificial. Fresh garlands can be pricy so why not buy a good quality artificial garland and add some real eucalyptus, cypresse and other fresh foliages to create some really lovely textures,” she suggests.
“Another popular feature to decorate is a fireplace, I love lots of tea lights and candles and I cut some cotoneaster from the garden and entwine it around or arrange in a lovely vase. Really simple but so effective,” says Lucy.
“Finally your Christmas table wouldn’t be complete without a lovely table centre around a pillar candle. I make these in a little floral foam and use whatever Christmassy foliage I have around. Berries, thistles, pinecones all look great and will be sure to be a conversation starter amongst family and friends when the big day comes.”
Insta: lucylisterflowers /www.lucylisterflowers.co.uk