Flowers for the festive season

Picture: Nic Rue
Picture: Nic Rue
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Be inspired by the great outdoors to create fabulous looks for festive occasions. Natalya Ayers and Fiona Inglis of Pyrus show you how

ESTABLISHED in 2011 by art graduates turned florists Natalya Ayers and Fiona Inglis, Pyrus puts its focus on local, British flowers. Growing their beautiful blooms in a walled garden in East Lothian, Natalya and Fiona forage the surrounding woodlands, meadows and coastlines for unusual finds for their creations. Styling weddings and events throughout the UK, next year sees a project in the pipeline with the Scottish Poetry Library and the company’s first overseas installation. The pair also teach botanical-based classes, ranging from foraging courses on the Colstoun Estate (home to Pyrus HQ) to informal, creative flower arranging classes - which advocate the use of weeds – in Edinburgh and East Lothian, plus the more unusual Kokedama (Japanese String Gardens). Here, they 
describe how to stylishly bring the outside in at Christmas time for festive decor with a natural flair.

Picture: Nic Rue

Picture: Nic Rue

Feathery touch

Check out fishing shops for good value fishing line and delicately suspend game feathers with it for an ethereal feel. You will find game feathers in some craft shops but specialist websites such as thefeatherfactory.co.uk sell a wide variety. Using acrylic paint which is quick drying, provides a good base and is widely available from art shops and craft shops, paint the tips of pheasant or goose feathers in gold or copper and dip in glitter for a touch of festive glamour.

Dressing for dinner

Create a naturalistic tablescape with lichen-covered branches, moss and bark, punctuated with glass bell jars displaying foraged treasures and Hawthorn berries. Upturned short-stemmed cocktail glasses or glass jelly moulds are a quirky alternative if you don’t have bell jars to hand.

Simple style

Using thick gauge wire create a large loose circle, and wrap with fluffy clematis seed heads and jasmine trails; lichen twigs and dried seed heads are a rustic alternative. Fasten clusters of wintry berries with floristry wire for touches of texture and colour.Hobbycraft and Dobbies sell some floristry supplies, or try floristsuppliesuk.com for florists’ accessories.

Fireside glow

Place a large sculptural branch or leafless tree beside your fireplace for instant impact and use unusual combinations of evergreen foliage, such as Atlas Cedar, Cypress, Yew and Juniper. to drape along the mantleshelf with pockets of seed heads creating movement. A good flower shop will stock interesting seed heads in the run up to Christmas. Driftwood, which can be found on the beach, and lichen branches, found in woodlands with little pollution, placed in the hearth with lots of candlelight complete the look.

Foraging tips

• You must have the landowner’s permission.

• Take your time, enjoy the walk and look all around you, above your head and at your feet.

• Pine and larch cones are an easy find, along with alder and willow catkins.

• Only ever cut what you need and be sensitive to the landscape. Our rule is that for every hundred stems of a wild flower we can take one at most.

• Be sensitive to local wildlife that rely on winter berries to eat or fallen logs to hide among and remember some mosses are protected. If you’re unsure, sign up for a foraging workshop.

• Pyrus (pyrusflowers.co.uk). You can find Pyrus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest; nicrue.co.uk