This week is one of the world’s greatest events in a florist’s calendar, the Royal Chelsea Flower Show. This year as we know will be slightly different, with a new virtual approach. Therefore, it seems only fitting for my next blog post to feature the incredibly talented florist Anna Sawle from Wedding flowers in Cornwall. Her creations are always a source of inspiration for me and a few of her bouquets have been used to create some of my own designs. She even did my own wedding flowers!
“I would love to create a Midsummers Night’s Dream wedding”
I spoke to Anna about starting her own business at the young age of 23, creating flowers for celebrity weddings and some top tips for flower arranging at home.
Hello I’m Anna Sawle. I’m a farmer’s wife and mummy to Molly and Charlie. I run my business, Wedding Flowers in Cornwall on our family farm in St Agnes, Cornwall,
where we provide styling and fresh flowers (some home-grown) to over 80 weddings in Cornwall a year. We also decorate the National Trust House Trelissick at Christmas. Our work has been featured in Hello! magazine for Steve Backshall and Helen Glover’s wedding and Martha Stewart Weddings.
What inspired you to work in your chosen profession?
As a child I used to visit my Gran with my sisters in the summer holidays (as my parents ran a busy business). Gran taught me floral art and I developed a love of flowers and gardening. I have always loved flowers the textures, colours and how you can completely transform a setting by creating something breath-taking with natural flowers and foliage.
Where did you study or gain your experience?
I started to enter village shows from an early age with my Gran and at the age of 15, I started my first real Saturday job, in a very well -known Cornish florist Jane Adele Flowers. I stayed there for over 5 years and went to Duchy College were I gained my NVQ 2-3. After leaving college, I joined Hubbers in Newquay, then went on to run a flower shop in St Ives. I taught floristry at college briefly at this time. Until in 2004, I took the giant leap at the age of 23 to start my own business Wedding Flowers in Cornwall. I wanted to specialise in wedding floristry and provide a personal bespoke service.
What is the favourite thing about your job?
I absolutely love my job, after 16 years I have created over 1000 weddings and events and I am so lucky to be given the opportunity to create the work that we have. I always love a challenge and a chance to create something new, from wow ceiling centerpieces to vibrant moon gate archways.
Can you share a top tip on how to keep flowers fresh at home longer for longer?
When you have beautiful flowers at home remember to cut the stems at an angle and put into a clean vase with fresh cold water and flower food, daily these will make them last longer.
How is the best way to arrange flowers at home?
I get asked this a lot!
When arranging flowers in a tall or cylinder vase, it’s important to consider which flowers you are choosing. If the vase itself is already large, choose just a few types of flowers and foliage. Make sure your stems are long and sturdy. Your bigger blooms towards the centre of the vase and smaller heads towards the outside.
What is your favourite bloom/flower?
It depends with the season
Winter - it has to be Helleborus, Orchids and Amaryllis.
Spring - Parrot Tulips, Winston Churchill Narcissus (the scent is incredible) and Ranuculus
Summer - Peonies, Stocks, Viburnum opulus and Gloriosa lilies.
Autumn – Chinese lanterns, Snowberries and Autumn leaves.
Are there any particular colours you love or time of year you especially love for flowers?
I love all the seasons as the flowers change so it creates variety.
I love colour so the bright Coral peonies, against magenta pom pom Dahlias, Gloriosa Lillies and Viburnum Opulus are heaven for a summer wedding. Or elegant crisp white Peonies, Hydrangeas, flowering Jasmine and delicate pale dusky pink ‘Lovelace’ Roses with Eucalyptus looks and smells stunning for a country house wedding.
Name a person or business that you admire or inspires you (and why)?
Paula Pryke is someone I truly admire for her floristry, her style is very similar to mine.
Best piece of advice you have been given.
When I started the business, I was told to start small and build your way up. I’ve found it’s the best piece of advice as I have learnt a lot on the way.
What is your biggest success story or proudest moment in your career so far?
I have been very lucky to be able to create some stunning weddings and events with my team. Helen Glover and Steve Backshall’s wedding flowers overlooking St Michaels Mount, Peony Lim and Matthew Blakiston’s wedding. Winning Southwest Wedding Florist of the Year 2016. Decorating the house and stables for the National Trust Trelissick, where over 20,000 people visited to see our work.
What would be your dream commission/ project?
I would love to create a Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding where we can decorate the Church with an overgrown natural full archway of fresh herbs, Lupins, Peonies, Sweet peas, Stocks, Hydrangeas and Delphiniums. The Marquee reception decorated with ceiling installations of hops, trailing sweet peas on festoon lighting in amongst giant floral chandeliers.
The banquet tables dressed with trailing scented Roses, pots filled with fresh flowers and herbs at dinner levels linked with dinner candle sticks and in-between the tables iron Victorian street lamps lit and dressed in sweet pea vines, rambling roses and hops.
Here are are few photos from my wedding back in 2017. Our theme was a rustic, natural style wedding and Anna created all white bouquets, thistle buttonholes (at the request of my husband) and stunning central table runners created from foliage, sprinkled of white roses, gold geometric spheres and tealights to create the most magical effect.