Tineke Flower School’s hand-tied bouquet course in Wirksworth

Andrew begins to create the group hand-tied bouquet

Andrew begins to create the group hand-tied bouquet - Credit: Archant

Discover your inner florist...

Cutting a length of string before beginning on the bouquet

Cutting a length of string before beginning on the bouquet - Credit: Archant

If you’ve ever wished that your home flower arrangements didn’t look as though you’d just plonked them in a vase, or you wanted to create a beautiful bouquet as a gift, then I can recommend going on a hand-tied bouquet course at Tineke Flower School. If you feel like treating yourself to a lovely day out, enjoying an elegant buffet and glass of Prosecco, and returning home with new skills plus a beautiful bunch of flowers, then the same applies.

A few at a time, our slightly nervous group of ten eager ‘students’ assembled to be greeted with a cheery welcome from Andrew and Jess and a cup of coffee. A sunny day, friendly faces, a bank of scented flowers and low soothing background music (all certain to put everyone in a good mood) indicated that this was going to be a good experience.

At first we simply had to sit and watch as Andy gave an impressive demonstration of how to create a more formal style of group hand-tied bouquet – grouping together and tying off separately a shiny aspidistra leaf with either white roses or peonies, green chrysanthemums or carnations (odd numbers work well), then deceptively easily combining the ‘groups’ into one spectacular bouquet that we were told would retail at about £85. Then followed a display of how to turn a bunch of flowers into an ideal gift. The bunch was elegantly wrapped into sheets of cellophane and tissue paper, the stems were cut level and a water ball created, then it was packed with tissue paper into a grey Tineke bag.

The friendly banter and need to concentrate meant time rushed by and we wandered upstairs to find a delicious buffet waiting for us in the light and airy converted bar and lounge area. Tempting as it was to sit, chat and enjoy the food, we soon moved back to the workroom, keen to put into practice what we’d been shown.

Jess considers where to put the next flower; yes, the spiral works

Jess considers where to put the next flower; yes, the spiral works - Credit: Archant

Some leaves were carefully removed from each stem and a flower selected as a starting point. This is kept slightly higher to give a domed effect to the finished bunch. A second stem is held against it at a slight angle and then you begin to work round your bouquet by lying one stem on top of another at a slight angle and in an anti-clockwise direction. Not wishing to give too many secrets away, but the key word is ‘spiral’ and as you put on more stems, they bed together and it gets easier. When you’re happy with how your bouquet looks, you can bind and tie it at the point where you are holding it. At various stages an extra hand – or even larger hands! – would have been useful and your teeth definitely come in handy when you’re trying to tie it off. It’s also useful to cut a few lengths of string before you start. Tying the flowers higher can create a tighter bouquet, and lower a looser one.

After lots of helpful advice and a bit of trial-and-error we all achieved something we were proud of. Then it was time to fasten round our tissue and cellophane wrapping, then cut the stems level and see if we’d got it right. The testing point is whether the bouquet will stand on its own – the spiral should have balanced the weight in a circular pattern so the stems support each other. I’m pleased to report a class triumph! So, basking in Andy’s praise, we fastened cellophane to create a water ball and packed our bouquets safely in a carrier bag.

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Time to leave – so, clutching our stunning and colourful bouquets, we returned home with assurances ringing in our ears that with our newly acquired skills and a little practice, we can make flowers look perfect.

Hand-tied bouquet course at Haarlem Mill

Hand-tied bouquet course at Haarlem Mill - Credit: Archant

Based at Haarlem Mill, Derby Road, Wirksworth, Tineke is one of several creative businesses that the character of this fine renovated industrial space suits perfectly. The fact the mill hosts weddings is also ideal for a business that has won numerous wedding industry awards and has a list of clients from Britain and around the world. Tineke Flower School runs a number of courses for beginners and advanced students and professionals. For details go to tinekefloraldesigns.co.uk or call 01335 370 700.

Insider knowledge

At the end of the day

At the end of the day - Credit: Archant

1. Strip off any leaves likely to be below the water line – bacteria in the water shortens the life of cut flowers and a leaf will rot in the water and create bacteria. A clean vase and clean water are the most important things to ensure longer-lasting flowers.

2. Don’t put flower arrangements near bananas as they give off harmful ethylene gas.

3. The sap from daffodils is poisonous to other flowers, so if you’re creating a mixed arrangement, either don’t cut the daffodils or cut them and leave them in water on their own for 24 hours before changing the water and adding other flowers.

4. When you’re arranging a bouquet, if it isn’t working, walk away for a bit and go back to it later.

Course tutor Andrew

Course tutor Andrew - Credit: Archant

5. Always use a vase relative to the flowers you have – round cylinder vases are the fail-safe.

6. Carnations are making a come-back – growers are producing lovely ‘antique’ shades like Terracotta Caramel, Antigua, Merletto Crimson and Hypnosis. Don’t cut carnations on the nodes (nobbly bits) as this stops them from taking up water.

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