Lil Caldwell of Grandirosa floral design studio is the woman behind the beautiful blooms that you'll see in all our Cowshed x Mary Katrantzou images. We asked her how she came to work with flowers, the inspiration behind the Cowshed shoot and for some expert tips to get the most out of your own arrangements at home.
'For the shoot, we predominantly used big blooms for impact and texture. The design of the bottles was perfect inspiration! Matching the vibrant colours of the packaging, we selected English roses with the most perfect scent, different varieties of dahlias, delphiniums and stems of flowering dill, freesia and crocosmia. Very much the best of summer. Dahlias are having a 'moment' at the minute - the variety you can get in colour, size and shape makes them perfect for creating really impactful floral design. They feature in many forms in the images - blush Cafe Au Lait dahlias which are huge (sometimes they are called dinner-plate dahlias), pom-pom dahlias in vibrant corals and orange and Withy Pitt dahlias which are grown by a specialist grower in West Sussex.
We source all our flowers and foliage from New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall - our main supplier there is Bloomfield of London. The market is a haven for flower lovers - the choice is endless. Even at 4.30am, when most florists go to get the best products, there is a buzz and even though I value my sleep, I still get excited when I cherry blossom appears for the first time, or when the first peony pops up.
The best advice someone gave me when I was starting out with flowers was to not overthink the design. Our best designs have come from instinct. It's also important to look after flowers properly - we spend hours conditioning the flowers before they even go near an arrangement. For someone choosing and arranging flowers at home, my advice is to select the freshest flowers, snip stems on an angle for maximum hydration and change the water every other day, all of which helps with longevity. And to enjoy arranging the flowers - it's so therapeutic!
We are lucky to design all the flowers for the Ned which is a creative's dream. For our arrangements there, we select flowers with the most impact and best vase life - peonies were perfect in Spring, and we are using roses, orchids, hydrangea with berried foliage for autumn. Given the size of the Ned, and the height of the ceilings, the flowers need to have scale and drama. For bouquets and weddings, we choose flowers based on scent - smell can create as much of a memory as photographs.
I set up Grandirosa with my best friend Mary 2 years ago. We've known each other since university and both come from non-floristry backgrounds - I was a city lawyer for 10 years and Mary was in marketing. The flowers at my own wedding made me rethink my career and, after enrolling on a flower course, I worked through the week at the law firm, and weekends at a florist, to see whether I liked it in reality (I loved it). I was asked to do a friend's wedding, and asked Mary could she help. We decided after that to set up our own business and both left our full time jobs. Some people thought we were crazy, but we genuinely haven't looked back, and have been lucky to work on amazing events, weddings and with the Ned. We're constantly exhausted, but happy.'