Praise the Peony

As I mentioned a few days ago, I had the pleasure of spending my Sunday with Sarah of My Luscious Backyard and Alison of Coriander Girl at their Praise the Peony workshop. I like to think I know a few things about flowers, I know my ranunculus from my lisianthus, but these two really opened my mind.

The event took place in the backyard at Coriander Girl.

The event took place in the backyard at Coriander Girl.

From the basics of where to start, (you're only as good as your greenery, according to Alison) to listening to your flowers (take advantage of the natural bends, says Sarah) they were full of amazing tips and tricks.

Still some room in the June 2nd and June 8th workshops!

Still some room in the June 2nd and June 8th workshops!

After, Sarah and Alison went through the steps of creating an arrangement with peonies we each got to try our hand with our own flowers. Each of us was given the same selection of flowers, a mix of greenery and 4-5 beautiful peonies.

Alison Westlake of Coriander Girl and Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard.

Alison Westlake of Coriander Girl and Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard.

The flowers ready to be arranged.

The flowers ready to be arranged.

As we buried our heads in the fragrant smell of flowers, Sarah and Alison walked around giving helpful hints. It was so much harder than it looked. I tended to make everything symmetrical (which I think is just in my nature) but as Sarah showed me making the arrangement heavier on one side with peonies looked better. She also reminded me to look at my arrangement from all sides. As she said, "the backs and sides of flowers are often as interesting as the fronts." In other words, if your doing flowers as a centrepiece make sure everyone has a good view!

Sarah giving me some much needed advice.

Sarah giving me some much needed advice.

A beautiful mess.

A beautiful mess.

At the end of the day, I couldn't believe how individual everyone's arrangements were. It was like you could read people's personalities through their flowers.

My take on praise the peony!

My take on praise the peony!

I think this was Sarah's beautiful creation. Look at the way it just stretches out of that vase.

I think this was Sarah's beautiful creation. Look at the way it just stretches out of that vase.

It was such a fun afternoon. There are still a few spots left in their upcoming workshops. You can find out more on the Coriander Girl website.

All photos by Kristin Sjaarda. Follow her on instagram!